Photo of
August 4, 2010
Denise and Chris at Peelham

Edinburgh’s Hotel du Vin has taken the ‘use local produce’ mantra to a new level by buying two Tamworth pigs from the organic Peelham Farm in the Borders.

Bought as piglets, the two Tamworths have been named Queenie and Prince Charming, allegedly after the hotel’s manager and deputy general manager.

Queenie and Prince will be raised on Peelham Farm by Chris and Denise Walton before being slaughtered, butchered and delivered to Matt Powell, head chef at Hotel du Vin.

Observer readers may remember that the Edinburgh based writer Alex Renton did something very similar last year.

The Peelham Young Tamworth Posse

These days, it would be almost suicidal for a restaurant not to make claims for its sustainable policies and enthusiastic use of local produce.

So much so that every press release for a new restaurant that crosses my in-tray almost¬† inevitably trumpets the new venture’s ethical credentials.

However, a quick scan of the menu quite often tells a very different story.

So, hats off to Hotel du Vin for making a genuine effort.

The blog had dinner with the Waltons and Matt last week.

Matt made the interesting point that not only did sourcing pork in this way have environmental benefits, it also made things more interesting for his kitchen team:

‘By buying the whole pig, we allow it to almost dictate what we are creating in the kitchen,’ he said. ‘Rather than going to the butcher and asking for ingredients for a specific dish, we receive the whole animal and then decide what to create from it. This ensures that we use as much of the animal as possible and become more creative with our menu.’

Given the current storm over cloned beef in the food chain, I suspect that more and more customers are going to be asking restaurant waiting staff some very pointed questions about the provenance of their meat.

The link up between Hotel du Vin and Peelham Farm offers one way to create a little more trust between restaurateurs and diners.

We’ll keep you updated on the pigs’ progress.

The Bistro at Hotel du Vin Edinburgh