I want to talk to you about black pudding.
It's a subject that inspires conversations and debates - everyone's got an answer when you ask them about it, and are ready to give you their opinions on it.
In any kitchen in the world, the chefs will discuss it: who makes the best black pudding? Where makes the best black pudding? Spain, France, Ireland, of course Scotland and maybe even England (in my opinion!)
Here's where I stand. I absolutely love black pudding that comes from my supplier in Lancaster - Bury to be precise. But I also understand that for many, Scotland is the only place to consider getting the stuff from.
For my cooking the black pudding that Scotland produces has too much barley, and is too mealy. Stornoway black pudding especially has these traits - and it means that I can't do with it what I want to in cooking.
The Bury variety, however, is much softer, because it contains more blood and it's more structured so easier to keep its shape.
It's funny how each country claims a sort of ownership over black pudding. The Italians claim that they make the best black pudding, as do the Irish, and the Welsh.
It really is an ingredient that's worth making a fuss over, because it's so delicious.
Here at 21212, we use local produce, so I'm sure many people would say: "so why do you use black pudding from Bury?" But, you see, Bury is actually closer than Stornoway to Edinburgh!
To the best of my knowledge, black pudding originated in Ancient Egypt. At 21212, we have a Polish pastry chef, and she claims that the Polish make the absolute best black pudding. Since the Poles make such beautiful sausages, it's tempting to believe her.
In terms of eating it, the way I look at it is to think: "what would I want to eat on a Sunday morning?" Well I don't eat it but Kate says it's Stornoway all the way!!
But I'll pick Bury black pudding for say a risotto. The softer consistency lends itself really for the rice dish, and it's more forgiving.
The idea of 'where makes it best' can also be used for things like smoked salmon. In my opinion, there's no such thing as bad smoked salmon. Where makes it best, though? Even the cheap cuts taste delicious, but you do get what you pay for in terms of quality.
To me, the highlands, Islands, Welsh and anywhere else in the UK make the best smoked salmon.
Scotland makes the best whisky - that we know.
So I want to know: what's your favourite black pudding, and why?