Overall Food winner 2018: Calke Abbey

Portland ewe at Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey won this year's Overall Food prize at the Fine Farm Produce Awards for their Portland hogget. National Trust ranger Bill Cove manages the herd of rare-breed sheep, which grazes the estate in the heart of Derbyshire.

The lamb is sold as hogget (a 1-2 year old sheep) as it has then had time to develop its characteristic gamey flavour. The judges noted that dark meat had a grassy aroma and a superb texture across all cuts of meat.

Bill said: “Portland sheep have been associated with Calke Estate since 1760. Letting the lambs mature into hogget is a real investment in time compared to selling them as lamb, but pays dividends in terms of flavour. The meat is butchered on site too and profits go straight back into the estate here.”

Calke Abbey produce is used in the restaurant and café on the estate, and is also sold in the shop.