Pork oil firm leads way at Christmas

An exotic form of pork fat, produced in Spain, looks set to replace goose fat as the must-have ingredient this Christmas thanks to a campaign by a Northampton-based supplier.

Iberico pigs, fed on a diet of acorns, apparently produce a flavoursome and less calorific fat, which can help make the perfect crispy roast potatoes.

In recent years, the nation's celebrity chefs – including Nigella Lawson – have favoured goose fat for potatoes.

But Adrian Pryce, of Select Spain in Wellingborough Road, said Iberico pork fat was growing in popularity at a time when supplies of the goose alternative were running short after bird flu.

He said: "We really think this could be a turning point for our business, because this is an amazing product and we have had a lot of interest.

"The Iberico pigs are fed on acorns and this penetrates into the fat. Their diet gives it a really nutty, olive-oily taste, which is perfect for roast potato.

"It's no more expensive than goose fat and it has more of the good fats and better nutritional value than goose fat.

"All of a sudden, because of the shortage of goose fat, it's flying off the shelves. We are in danger of running out at this rate."

Sales of goose fat rocketed by as much as 70 per cent after it was mentioned on Nigella Lawson's BBC cookery show.

Celebrity endorsements also helped fresh cranberries several years ago, thanks to the "Delia effect", and now Mr Pryce hopes to get the same backing for Iberico fat.

It is being stocked by Select Spain in Selfridgess London flagship store, where the firm is also recording good sales for Iberico ham and pork.

Chris Saul, of Saul's Butchers in Spratton, agreed that using pork fat was one of the best ways to achieve perfect roast potatoes.

He said: "It does give it a really good flavour, because it's salty and if you cook it for just the right amount of time it has a really nutty flavour, which adds to any bird roast and to roast potatoes."

But he throught the same effect could probably be acheived from bacon fat.

He said: "If you render down good bacon fat, you can get the same taste and that would be my recommendation for the perfect Christmas dinner."