Perfecting a ploughman’s sandwich
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Perfecting a ploughman’s sandwich

The romantic idea of the ploughman’s sandwich is probably as a filling mid-day meal, lovingly prepared by a rosy-cheeked ploughman’s wife in a rustic country cottage far from the madding crowd.

From there it’s not hard to imagine the jolly ploughman, toiling away behind his old horse in the midday sun. He takes a well-earned break from his work in the fields to sit against a shady tree and tuck into his simple yet satisfying marriage of bread and cheese with a dollop of strong pickle.

But just how far from a real ploughman’s sandwich is our idealised little scenario? As it happens, not very far at all.

What is a ploughman’s sandwich?

The modern idea of the ploughman’s sandwich, often called a ploughman’s lunch, is a long-standing favourite of pub goers.

At its simplest, this is a cold meal of bread, cheese and pickled onions, perhaps with some additional ingredients such as cold meat, green salad, hard boiled eggs and an apple. 

Other typical accompaniments may include butter and some kind of pickle condiment such as a chutney.  

As its alternative name suggests, the ploughman’s sandwich is most commonly eaten at lunchtime and, weather permitting, often enjoyed in the open air, accompanied by a pint of beer.

Origins of the ploughman’s sandwich

Countless droves of English rural labourers, no doubt with many ploughmen amongst them, have enjoyed the modest repast of bread and cheese with beer ever since the cows began coming home.

Before the introduction of chutneys in the 1800s, onions were a familiar accompaniment, and a great many of these ‘ploughman’s lunches’ would have been served at inns.

The specific name ‘ploughman’s lunch’, however, probably took hold in the 1950s and 60s when the Cheese Bureau, a marketing body, began promoting the term in pubs in an effort to boost the sales of cheese that was no longer subject to wartime rationing. As a result, the popularity of the ploughman’s sandwich grew.

How to make the perfect ploughman’s sandwich

While the most authentic ploughman’s sandwich is all about keeping things simple, selecting the right ingredients is essential. The bread, cheese, pickles and whatever else accompanies your ploughman’s should be of the best quality.

The bread

Go for a substantial, rustic loaf with real flavour, like a handmade sourdough, or perhaps even a freshly baked crusty baguette. Cut your bread into thick slices coated in soft, good quality salted farmhouse butter.

The cheese

Load your bread with a hearty pile of good extra mature cheddar and pickle. Feel free to serve more than one type of bread, and a selection of quality classic cheeses such as a good stilton, a goat’s cheese, or a tasty Red Leicester.

The pickles and chutney

Cottage Delight’s wonderful selection of chunky chutneys and punchy pickles will bring your ploughman’s alive, adding the perfect finishing touch with both bold and traditional vibrant flavours from high quality ingredients. Made using recipes that are lovingly crafted by hand for a scrumptious flavour.

Our Crunchy Ploughman’s Tart

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A special recipe treat for the ploughman – a delicious end to a day’s toil. 

The Crunchy Ploughman’s Tart is a delectable recipe that brings together the rustic charm of a classic ploughman’s lunch in a delightful tart form.

The crisp and flaky pastry crust serves as the perfect canvas for a rich and creamy filling, combining mature cheddar cheese, tangy pickle relish and apple.

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Just the job for your ploughman’s sandwich

Our delectable Crunchy Ploughman’s Pickle is a taste sensation that brings together the finest British ingredients to create a pickle bursting with intense flavour and satisfying crunch.

We combine British Bramley apples, fresh courgette, and whole silverskin onions for a crunchy pickle packed with intense flavour.

Ideal to add to cheese boards, traditional sandwiches, excellent with game, smoked meats and mature cheeses or enjoy with classic pork pies and sausage rolls.

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