Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Britten Beer Blythburgh Bacon

Aldeburgh at the weekend, celebrating Britten. If anything, Aldeburgh is even more atmospheric at this time of the year than in summer. The sea is wilder, and lonelier, and grey mists crowd in. Infinitely closer to the spirit of Peter Grimes than among crowds partying on the beach. The recent storm knocked out power lines and internet for two days, bringing Aldeburgh (almost) to what it once was. The storm was a reminder how fragile "civilization" really is, an observation that's fundamental to understanding Britten and his music.

Aldeburgh is also a foodie paradise. Every visit I stock up at Salter's the Family Butchers. They do mail order, too: I'm ordering my Xmas dinner from then online. Exceptional quality and service, everything free range  Support humane farming and small, local business enterprise. Beautifully hand cut joints, and sausages with proper flavour. And the best back bacon outside Canada. They also stock baked goods, fresh apple juice products and locally produced jams and condiments. This year I had bacon from the farms up near Blythburgh looking out towards the sea.

Suffolk is famous for beer, too. My usual is St Peter's Brewery from Bungay, further north, because it's extremely good, and stocked  by my local Waitrose.  Also available online and at their own pub in Clerkenwell, London.  My friends (and I)  love Adnam's Brewery and have made pilgrimages to Southwold and dined at The Anchor at Walberswick with  a garden that slopes down to the reedbeds. This year Adnams is doing "Native Britten" beers. The bottles come in 3 colours but the beer is the same basic house variety. St Peter's and Adnam's both sell online. Ideal Christmas presents. St Peter's probably has the edge on classy, since they use traditional, small scale brewing practices.

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