April 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM ET
Kate Middleton invited some regular folk to the wedding of the decade, including the village postman, a couple who run the corner store and the local butcher, Martin Fidler, who has had his shop for 30 years in Bucklebury, where Middleton grew up. To be fair, Fidler has been a minor celebrity in the past, referred to as a “Metric Martyr” in the British papers for refusing to adopt the metric system.
Our NBC News team paid a visit to Fidler’s shop, Bladebone Butchery, to see if his meat really makes the cut. The answer? A resounding “Yes!”
The butcher sold us one of his chickens for £12 (approximately $19) -- which makes it a relatively expensive chicken. It was definitely worth the cost. We stuffed it with garlic, half a lemon and some sprigs of rosemary, and rubbed butter on the skin so it would crisp up when we roasted it. On the side we had a pile of broad beans sauteed in butter. The bird was lovely, and even after almost two hours in the oven, the white breast meat was still moist.
A colleague also took home a chicken to poach. She commented on how little fat came to the surface of the broth, and how exceptionally tender and moist the meat was.
As a gesture, the butcher also gave us a couple of pork sausages. There is a general perception that British food isn't very good, but these meaty pork sausages were great. I ate them with baked beans for brunch -- it doesn't get much more British or delicious than that.
The experience was so good that we went back to Fidler's shop. The second time we bought some Italian style sausages, which we added to a tomato and cream sauce over pasta. They were so tender, they fell apart into the sauce when they were cooked -- the perfect little bits of subtly spiced meat mixed in with the tomatoes.
This is just what the butcher serves up on an ordinary day. However, some others in the village have come up with special treats for the wedding. The landlord of the Middletons' local pub has brewed a commemorative beer to celebrate the forthcoming event. It’s a fine ale, and the label has a picture of the happy couple printed on it.
Unfortunately, none of us can bear to ruin the memento by opening it and tasting it.