Best (UK) lard to give as a present
August 28, 2020 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I am visiting a kind and generous friend in a few days time. For reasons, I have decided to take a present of lard. I am currently in a rural town in Worcestershire, and my options are Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Marks and Spencers, and Waitrose. There may also be some independent shops. Which lard is the best lard (my friend is a baker of many things)? It's also got to travel on trains of uncertain temperature for a while, if that is a factor.
posted by Wordshore to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why not make your own lard? Your friend might appreciate your going the extra mile. A local butcher should be able to provide you with some back fat, or (even better) some of the fat from around the kidneys. You just chop it, render it (heat it up until it just melts - in the oven or a slow cooker) and then pour it into a nice jar.
posted by pipeski at 12:49 PM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


If that's not an option, the best lard is one that hasn't been hydrogenated, which makes the lard a bit harder (and so easier to transport) at the expense of making it a good sight less healthy. Non-hydrogenated lard is in fact a healthier food than butter.
posted by pipeski at 12:51 PM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Lard is lard. You won’t find farmhouse lard or artisan country lard; it’s just in a plain pack labelled ‘Lard’ . Basically, and perhaps uniquely in supermarkets, it’s a commodity. That said, the pecking order of quality between shops would be Waitrose, M&S, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, as I’m sure you know.

If you want to be posh, get french goose fat.
posted by Phanx at 1:08 PM on August 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


You just chop it, render it (heat it up until it just melts - in the oven or a slow cooker) and then pour it into a nice jar.

It's a nice idea, but I'm currently in an airbnb and have access to a toaster and a few other kitchen things; I think making lard may be pushing it a bit.
posted by Wordshore at 1:10 PM on August 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


Leaf lard is supposed to be the best for baking.
posted by bitslayer at 1:52 PM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


It might be fun to buy the lard from the butcher and then render it with your friend.
posted by rikschell at 2:08 PM on August 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


If one of the independent shops is a butcher or a farm shop, I'd go there and consult a local expert. Failing that, yep, supermarket lard is supermarket lard; Waitrose is the likeliest to have something posh, Aldi or Lidl might have something really weird.

Given the trains of uncertain temperature (and uncertain delays), if there's a Robert Dyas or similar, it might be worth looking for a coolbag to carry it in.

Does your friend by any chance have herring and/or mascarpone?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:14 PM on August 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


If you can get your hands on leaf lard, it’s well worth the effort.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:29 PM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Does your friend by any chance have herring and/or mascarpone?

That is an ecumenical matter.
posted by Wordshore at 2:32 PM on August 28, 2020 [19 favorites]


Is it important that you carry it with you, rather than having it shipped now to their door? The latter would allow quick shipping of Iberico or Mangalitsa lard. Heritage UK breeds tend lean (now more than previously), and it doesn't look like their lard is marketed on a large scale. Best bet might be to see if there is a shop selling local pasture raised pork, then call the farm directly to see if they sell their spare fat or lard.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:06 PM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Supermarket lard is ridiculously, ridiculously cheap, and not a hard-to-get baking ingredient?

Even Waitrose fancy lard is only 54p (aka 74 US cents) https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/just-lard/508684-661605-661606

I'm wondering if you have some kind of backstory as to why you thinking of lard as a good present, and just checking you're familiar with the easy accessibility of lard (as above) and not thinking of it as something quaint and 'UK' and exotic, and if so, maybe we could brainstorm something that would substitute?

I'm trying to think how you could turn a pack of lard into a notable present, and it either involves ridiculously (and probably impractical for both of you) quantities of 54p lard, or ordering some kind of artisan lard for delivery, or the suggestions above, of rendering lard yourself, which I guess would be something of a memorable activity.
You'd really have to know your friend to know if it would be memorably good or bad.


Edit: Checked profile, you're familiar with the UK. Ok, falling back on gag gift of lard equivalent to 70% of your body weight, to be donated to food banks later. Delivery lard. Or taking a trip *with* your friend to the local butcher to acquire fat, thus offering them a chance to back out.
posted by Elysum at 5:40 PM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


> Lard is lard. You won’t find farmhouse lard or artisan country lard; it’s just in a plain pack labelled ‘Lard’

I'm in the US, and maybe the American lard scene is different, but you can definitely buy farmhouse artisan small batch etc lard here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:50 PM on August 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


If I were your friend, I would be utterly delighted by the most generic looking, least attractively packaged lard because after it was used I would thoroughly clean the container and then giggle to myself every time I got something out of the ugly box that said LARD as obnoxiously as possible.


posted by ocherdraco at 6:29 PM on August 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


Well, in terms of travel, lard is stored at room temperature, not in a fridge. So you shouldn't have to worry about it melting on a journey. It's almost disconcerting how well it keeps. Even when the box has already been opened, it can sit on a shelf for a long time, without anything bad happening to it.

And ok - it's lard, it's inherently funny. But there are certain recipes where lard is exactly what you need and other fats won't work as well at all. (For instance, these oatcakes taste ridiculously good. I mean, the recipe only has four ingredients and one of them is hot water! It makes no sense, but it's true.)

So this artisanal lard... I'm suspicious. The desirable properties of lard are that it melts at a specific temperature and it is tasteless. Personally I would worry about potential meaty smells or taste from anything I'd rendered myself, or got directly from a butcher. (And if fancy lard doesn't have a distinct taste, then why are you paying more than 70 pence for it?) If your friend is into baking, consistency might be more important than cuteness. With this in mind, I'm wondering if you might actually just want to get basic, supermarket lard, rather than anything that calls itself 'artisanal'.
posted by EllaEm at 7:05 PM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


And if fancy lard doesn't have a distinct taste, then why are you paying more than 70 pence for it?

You are SO close! Leaf lard’s milder/less-pronounced flavor is one of its main selling points.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:37 PM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


...gift of lard equivalent to 70% of your body weight

I have calculated that this would mean I arrived and handed over 231 packets of lard. I am unsure as to the reaction to this gift, but will put it on my list of options.

Thanks to an anonymous MeFite who directed me to the pool of lard photographs on Flickr, for more ideas and options.
posted by Wordshore at 7:51 PM on August 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


No true friend would turn up at someones home with 231 packets of lard as a hostess gift.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 1:16 AM on August 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Lard is lard. If you are buying for comedy value, just buy the cheapest-looking one you can find. Nisa own-brand, or Tesco Value lard.

If your friend is old enough to remember this, you can sellotape a picture of Roy Hattersley onto it.
posted by tinkletown at 6:06 AM on August 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to think how you could turn a pack of lard into a notable present,

it'd be notable AF if he got it for me. I'd tell that story every chance I got. Then I'd tell the cheese heist story.

(I have also heard that leaf lard is the best lard)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:18 PM on August 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


If you're in Worcestershire, maybe try one of the butcher's in Pershore? There was one that used to be in the covered market that has apparently moved to a shop on the high street. (This bit was second hand info so take with an pinch of salt). They did some interesting extras last time I was there (i.e. caul fat) so might be able to hook you up with the good stuff.

Their faggots are also excellent, if that's the kind of thing that appeals.
posted by Faff at 1:31 AM on August 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


WHAT DID YOU DO?

I need to know, did you show up with fatty kidney or 321 packets of lard?
posted by Jilder at 5:02 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


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