Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making a Meal of Battle to Save Reds; Restaurant Puts Grey Squirrel on the Menu

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making a Meal of Battle to Save Reds; Restaurant Puts Grey Squirrel on the Menu

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson Environment Editor

DINERS in the North-East could soon be asked to make a meal of protecting the region's endangered red squirrel.

A Lake District hotel is putting grey squirrels on the menu this week and restaurants in the North-East could follow.

It follows a visit by Channel 4's Wild Gourmets programme to The Famous Wild Boar Hotel at Crook near Windermere, which created Peking duck-style squirrel pancakes.

This week the hotel is giving diners the chance to try the squirrel pancakes for themselves, offered free as canapes.

The greys were caught in the hotel's 72-acre woodland grounds and have been prepared by hotel head chef Marc Sanders.

Hotel general manager Andy Lemm said yesterday: "Although we do still have red squirrels, the greys are everywhere. Our diners seemed to enjoy the squirrel pancakes and I thought they tasted rather nice, a bit like rabbit."

In Northumberland, Lord Redesdale's Red Squirrel Protection Partnership specialises in trapping and despatching greys to protect the reds. The partnership has killed 4,521 greys since January, and Lord Redesdale said yesterday: "The problem is that when we catch and despatch greys, there is nothing we can do with them. We would like to be a supplier of grey squirrels. With an estimated five million greys in the country, there are enough of them to go round."

James Cookson runs the Flying Fox sales and marketing venture for food and rural businesses from his Meldon Park mansion near Morpeth, which also features the Comfort at Meldon Park restaurant. He said: "Grey squirrels can be eaten and there is no reason why they shouldn't be eaten. It makes sense if you are catching something to make use of it. We have some grey traps set at the moment and I would be willing to try it, without a doubt. If we could get enough greys and a suitable recipe then I can see no reason why it shouldn't be on the menu. …

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