Meet the Producers
In this first of our ‘Meet the Producers‘ features, we headed to the East coast of Scotland to find Grants of Speyside in order to learn a little more about the company and their Black Pudding.
Grants of Speyside
Grants of Speyside is a long established family business. It is run today by Stuart Grant, the fifth generation to carry on the tradition. We wanted to know to know a little more about them and Stuart, very kindly, agreed to answer a few questions for us.
You have been established since 1824. Tell us a little about the origins and the history of the business…
It was started in Sutherland by my great-great grandfather, John Grant, around 1824. He was a crofter who sold his own meat from a horse and cart to neighbours. The business grew and he and his son (also John) opened a butchers shop in the local village.
It was young John’s wife, Jessie, who started making the haggis and black pudding around 1890. These are the recipes still used today.
In the 1990’s we moved the business to Speyside where today, in a modern purpose built factory, the company supplies the same old family products. In recent years Grants of Speyside have attended many shows, including the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, giving samples to many thousands of people. The overwhelming response has been extremely positive.
Is it important to you to remain a family business and continue the family traditions?
The family traditions are what the ethos of the business is based on. We would never move away from these, because they make us who we are.
We understand you were once called Grants of Dornoch. When & what prompted the change of name?
In 1994 Grants of Dornoch went into administration and was bought over. In 1996 I had the opportunity to lease a factory in Grantown on Spey and continue the family tradition. From there the business has grown from strength to strength.
Do you attribute your growth and success to any specific business principles or values?
As a family business we have the desire to make products of the very highest quality and give the best possible customer service no matter what their size. We will not change the old recipes, although we will develop new products using the old products. Recent new products include Pork & Black Pudding Sausages and Haggis, Neeps & Tatties (a Burn’s supper all in one casing).
What are the main products in your current product range?
Currently our flagship products are our Black Pudding and our Haggis. We also make White Pudding and Vegetarian Haggis, a range of very popular Sausages and Burgers and provide our customers with a huge variety of cuts of meat.
How does your Traditional Black Pudding compare to the original family recipe?
The recipe is the same.
I don’t suppose we get to find out what it is, do we?
Ok, no surprise there! Without giving too much away, what is the main difference between a ‘Grants’ Black Pudding and those made by your English / Irish competitors?
The main differences between ours and traditional English are:
- We use chopped beef suet whereas the English use diced pork fat (you can see the chunks when you cut into the English version)
- We use oatmeal whereas some English use barley. I think the Irish are more like the Scottish.
Is there any rivalry between Scottish regions i.e. East Coast v West Coast (Stornoway)
Stornoway has most publicity and is our biggest rival. We have done lots of tastings at the Royal Highland Show where the feedback has been extremely positive even from die hard Stornoway fans.
Do you use locally sourced ingredients and is that an important factor in making ‘Grants’ Black Pudding the best it can be?
Yes, we buy locally when possible. For example – Oatmeal from Banff. Onions from Morayshire.
What do you suggest is the key to making the very best black pudding?
Keep it simple, don’t use pre-made up mixes and have a Great grandmother with the know how!
What size business are you and how many staff are part of your ‘family’?
We employ around 20 staff. Family members are myself and wife Marjory with son Sam doing the web-based tasks.
Who do you supply your products to? And do you have any ‘famous’ clients, especially chefs?
We supply product to hotels and restaurants throughout the Highlands. We are also just starting to supply Cressco who are a distributor for the whole country.
At one time we supplied British Airways for Concorde. They had Champagne and Grants Black Pudding breakfasts.
If people reading this wanted to try some Grants Black Pudding, what is the easiest way to buy some?
Finally, do you have a tip or favourite recipe / meal for preparing or cooking Black Pudding?
Grilled for breakfast is hard to beat but my personal favourite is a stack – Potato Rosti, Scallop, Black Pudding topped with Pea Pureé. I’m hungry just telling you about this!
Thank you Stuart!
We would also like to say Thank You to Sam Grant, Stuart’s son, for helping to arrange this Q&A.