One of the most awaited annual events in the Rye Social and Eating Out calendar returns towards the end of this October.
Wild Boar Week combines a unique and excellent dining experience which evokes images of bygone times for an area that is rich in English history and tradition.
Wild Boar Hunting made a return to the UK early this century (in around 2003) after a lull in enthusiasm for this form of gastronomic driven food gathering of almost 300 years.
It is said that when he wasn’t marrying again or building defenses against the French – for which Rye and the other Cinque Ports were famous – King Henry VIII was an enthusiastic advocate for hunting these larger bovine creatures the meat from which is sometimes incorrectly compared with pork from their (usually) smaller cousin the pig.
Such was King Henry’s love of the sport this little ditty is possibly attributed to him:
Pastime with good company
I love and shall until I die
Grudge to lust, but none deny
So God be pleased, thus live will I
For my pastance,
Hunt, sing and dance,
My heart is set,
All goodly sport
For my comfort:
Who shall me let?
Guests of Beside The Sea Holidays, planning a half term week break in Camber with visits to the excellent pubs and restaurants in the area, including Rye, often ask us “What is Wild Boar like to eat?”
No less an authority than Canada’s North Fork Bison website has the following advice:
“If you think the taste of wild boar is similar to pork, guess again. Although the wild boar is related to the domestic pig, they do not taste the same. Wild boar tastes like a cross between pork and beef, with a unique juicy succulence. The meat is a bit darker, perhaps due to the healthy iron content”.
Visitors to Rye often comment about the lack of chain stores and restaurants in the town and preponderance of locally owned businesses. Indeed, apart from all of the usual High Street Banks the only chain stores in evidence are Boots, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Holland and Barrett plus a well disguised branch of Waterstones – the splendid Rye Book Shop. Even the major supermarket Jempsons is a local business.
All of the pubs and restaurants are locally owned and managed – there are no chain burger or chicken shops – and therefore by far the majority of the pubs, restaurants and cafes join in with succulent and exciting dishes using wild boar meat although Beside The Sea hasten to add that they do not forsake their usual menus for those who prefer not to taste and sample the wild boar specialties.
This year 26 establishments are to put Wild Boar and other game dishes on their menus for the week!
The Landgate Bistro have revealed that this year, during their “Game of Rye” tasting event, they will be serving “Squirrel Pithivier” or pie as it’s more commonly known!
Some old favourites are also returning such as the delicious Wild Boar Ragu at Simply Italian and the Wild Boarger at the Union Steakhouse.
The Mermaid Inn will be serving Wild Boar Hot Dogs, BBQ Pulled Boar Sour Dough Baps, Juniper and Star Anise Braised Shoulder of Wild Boar and Herb Crusted Wild Boar Haunch whilst the Ypres are to serve Wild Boar and Venison Casserole, Game Terrine and Wild Boar Sausage and Mash.
One of Rye’s newest restaurants, Hoof, who specialise in home-reared burgers, are participating. Head Chef Dominic Knight told Beside The Sea that they are producing a Wild Boar Hot Dog, using meat carefully and humanely sourced by local clay shooting champion George Digweed OBE.
There’s a superb set of Wild Boar dishes available at the Globe Inn Marsh, Rye and its sister establishments the Five Bells Inn at Brabourne and the Woolpack Inn at Warehorne entitled “Boar in the Hen House”, “Boar in our Garden”, “Boar on the Marsh”, “Boar on the Beach”, “Boars Travel in Twos’s” and “Boar in the Orchard”.
Returning to Wild Boar Week is Chef Kyle Tatner who will be found serving delicious street food again in Olde Worlde Wines. This year’s offerings are Glazed, Slow and Sticky Wild Boar Belly Ribs and Wild Boar and Smoked Sausage Ragout.
Alongside the gastronomic treats is an impressive selection of musical entertainment, among the host of great bands and musicians booked to perform during the week are the Leigh Highwood Band, Bobby Fuego’s Fat Fingers of Funk, Joanna Majesty, Titus, Rye Ukulele Experiment, Andy Twyman, Blues and Twos, Sarah Bolter, Lara Lacovini, Jamie Smart, Mick Bolton, Steve East, The Rockitmen, Rye Bay Crew and The Carry on Boys!
So, as we like to say here at Beside The Sea, this Wild Boar week why not go the whole hog and pig out!!