Hooks for Cooks™

While vacationing in England during February, we shopped frequently at the UK supermarket Waitrose. We found the supermarket to be an indispensable economical resource for feeding our family of five.

The stores are remarkably clean. The produce is outstanding. The fish and meat counters are impeccable. Many of the products hail from the United Kingdom, and the choices are vast. Everyone from the fish monger to the customer service representative is friendly, knowledgeable and informative.

While doing more research on Waitrose last week, I was surprised to learn that Waitrose is reporting a 185% year over year increase in sales of fresh, NOT chocolate, rabbits! Clearly, rabbit is taking center stage on the British dinner plate.

Waitrose Meat Buyer Andy Boulton attributes the increase in sales to such UK television shows as “Wild Gourmets” and “Kill it, Cook it, Eat it.” The hosts on both of these shows venture throughout the English countryside, sourcing their food from the wild. Shooting game is one of the ways they stock their wild larder.

Of course, England has a rich legacy around shooting. Clearly, it was certainly a necessity during World War 2 when rationing was severe. Today, however, Brits are finding an easier way to source their game.

Waitrose is filling the gap and pleasing adventurous palates by offering wild rabbits, skinned, dressed and ready for the Dutch oven. Sourced by a specialist game supplier from controlled shoots on English parks and estates, the Waitrose rabbits are available diced or in halves.

Around Easter, the Waitrose Executive chef Neil Nugent was suggesting that folks serve a rabbit pie with a creamy tarragon sauce for Easter dinner. Even though Easter has now passed, Waitroses’s Senior Press Officer Karla Graves reported to me via email last week that rabbits sales are still “running at a similar level to Easter.”

Waitrose doesn’t currently have rabbit recipes specifically developed for their customers. But, Graves, explained that the rise in popularity may prod the company’s food writers to feature it in future publications and recipe cards.

I will be watching for these because Waitrose’s recipes published online and in their traditional print publication, Waitrose FOOD Illustrated, are excellent!

2 Responses to “Thumper Sales at Waitrose”

  1. Joanne

    I have lived overseas and rabbit was very common,do you know if it is available (fresh not frozen) in the Seattle area?

  2. admin

    Thank you for asking. If you want your rabbit FRESH not FROZEN, then I suggest you check out D’Aragnan’s website which is http://www.dartagnan.com. They have a large selection of fresh rabbit–whole, boneless, and even bone in saddle. Unlike the Waitrose rabbits, which are wild, the D’Artagnan rabbits are farmed at small farms here in the States. If you really want a taste of the British Isles, then wait until the fall when D’Artagnan features their Whole Wild Scottish Hares. The season is short with these hares and usually ends by February. And, of course, with any wild game, it’s best to watch for any wayward buck shots before digging in!! D’Artagnan ships overnight mail. Regards, Melissa

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