What do you have on a Ploughman’s lunch?
At Barbury Hill we’re obsessed with the best of British food and drink. Had you noticed? And if there’s one meal that perfectly showcases the finest produce of our island, it’s the humble Ploughman’s lunch. Even though typically eaten at lunchtime we could, quite frankly, enjoy a Ploughman’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or any time of day.
Simple but delicious, the Ploughman’s lunch allows you to use your creativity and leave guests speechless with a range of interesting items. Cold cuts of meat, artisan cheese, warm breads, crunchy celery, and chutneys on the side are all staples of this British classic, but what else should you have on a Ploughman’s lunch? Read on to find out what we’d recommend as part of a winning spread.
Start with cheese
For us, British cheese should be the centrepiece of any self-respecting Ploughman’s lunch. In our guide, How to create the perfect cheeseboard, we talk about the ideal combination of hard, soft and blue cheeses but a Ploughman’s lunch is typically put together with hard or semi-hard cheese, so consider Godminster Organic or the wonderfully indulgent Black Cow - a full fat cheddar handmade in Dorset, which takes the crown as my favourite British cheddar. But that’s not to say you can’t include a soft cheese - the beauty of a Ploughman’s lunch is in its versatility after all. Why not look at a Tunworth or Baron Bigod, or one of the options we featured in our recent list of Best British Cheeses. Our Essential Baron Bigod selection includes the award-winning brie-style cheese as well as Bungay Butter - impossible to resist smothered on freshly baked bread.
Traditionalists might go for a simple slice of ham but we’ve not found anything more flavoursome than Beal’s Farm’s rare breed Mangalitsa cuts. This sharing selection is made up of different meats, varying from Mangalitsa Air Dried Coppa Lomo and Spalla to spicy Chorizo and Salami. If cured meats aren’t your thing then consider a course pâté, a Scotch egg or a handmade pork pie. And of course, vegetarians can leave out the meat completely, or perhaps substitute with more cheese (because when the cheese is this good, why not!)
Fruit and vegetables
Sliced fruit will visually improve your Ploughman’s and bring both crunch and sweetness to balance out the flavours. And of course, countering the irresistible naughtiness of a wedge of creamy cheese with a token amount of healthy veg won’t go amiss. You can consider the below options but the joy of a Ploughman’s lunch is that there are no rules, so we suggest keeping it simple and seasonal.
- Lettuce leaves
- Celery sticks
- Pickled Onions
Would you like more protein?
A hard boiled egg is the perfect accompaniment. We suggest six minutes for hard boiled eggs with a soft yolk or eight minutes for hard boiled with a hard yolk. Bring the eggs up to room temperature to stop them cracking, boil for the desired amount of time and then move to a bowl of cold water to prevent them from cooking any longer.
English Mustard. Full stop. Nothing else. Keep it simple. Just English Mustard.
How to serve your Ploughman’s
We’re partial to a large wooden board to display your Ploughman’s lunch without the distraction of anything overly decorative. Slice your bread, cut the boiled eggs in half, and bring the cheese up to room temperature, along with the butter to ensure it’s spreadable. Put chutneys or pickles in small bowls and place around your board or on the side.
What to drink with a Ploughman's?
Personally, I’d opt for a foaming pint of Best Bitter, ideally one of Great Newsome Brewery’s. First choice would be the wonderful Frothingham Best, twice awarded World’s Best Bitter under 4.5 %. But while that might be a solid choice for a casual Saturday lunch, if you’re in the mood to celebrate then nothing beats a flute of English Sparkling Wine, which has the added bonus of cutting through the creaminess of the cheese. Equally popular with Barbury Hill customers is our range of No & Low drinks including Small Beer which would pour very well with a Ploughman’s, while delivering all the flavour without a hangover.
Plate up and enjoy!
We hope this provides some inspiration for your next Ploughman’s lunch. Do you have any recommendation for your favourite Ploughman’s? Do you share my love of mustard? Why not get in touch and let us know what adds personality to your plate, and as always, do tag us in your photos on Instagram at @barburyhill.
by Rebecca Lancaster, Copywriter
Rebecca, a talented writer, is a friend of Barbury Hill’s. When she’s not eating the best of British food and drink, she is writing about it. And when she’s not writing about it, she’s thinking about it.