'You can't reinvent pork scratching perfection' – Artisan cheese firm under attack for 'disrespectful' twist on Black Country delicacy

A "disrespectful" Skegness artisan cheese-maker has caused consternation by "reinventing" the Black Country's own delicacy – the pork scratching.

The Chuckling Cheese Company's Mascot Munchie the Mouse
The Chuckling Cheese Company's Mascot Munchie the Mouse

Lauded across the world, Black Country scratchings are the gold standard.

So Lincolnshire-based The Chuckling Cheese Company's (CCC) foray into flavouring is raising eyebrows in the home of the popular pork pub snack.

CCC is launching seven new flavours at its Merry Hill Shopping Centre shop on Friday with the help of its mascot Munchie the Mouse, who is more accustomed to cheese and wine than beer and scratchings.

The controversial new flavours include Salt and Vinegar, Worcester Sauce, Black Pepper, BBQ, Garlic and even spicy Habanero.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood believes the Black Country pork scratching should be classed equally as Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France.

He told the Express & Star: "They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Lincolnshire pork scratchings sound about as authentic as Belgian parma ham or Polish scotch.

"When you’re travelling abroad and see packs of Black Country pork scratchings behind the bar, you know you’re somewhere that appreciates quality because, while copy-cats come and go, our scratchings remain the original and the best."

Crackling aficionado Slob Odan, who writes an Instagram review page is respected by butchers, grocers and publicans alike, is affronted at any attempt to "reinvent perfection" and CCC's claim to be "local" to the Black Country.

He said: "I'm fed up of these artisan firms jumping on the band wagon and reinventing (ruining) our local delicacy by whacking some random condiment on them and charging an absolute fortune for the privilege.

"You can tell Munchie the Mouse that I won’t be anywhere near the aforementioned queue for the launch of this product."

The respected reviewer believes a scratching's postcode is always key to its quality with the best hailing from DY, WV and WS postcodes.

In a further twist and strengthening its credentials, CCC told the Express & Star its scratchings were in fact made in Walsall, one of the holy trinity of scratching towns.

However, after conducting his own research Mr Odan said: "To claim to have 'reinvented' the pork scratching by paying a producer in Walsall for their product and simply repackaging it, having sprinkled some Worcester Sauce on it is just downright offensive and disrespectful."

Pork scratchings were believed to have been invented in the Black Country in the 1800s by working class families many of whom had their own pig at home, leading to various methods of creating rind, some of which entered mass production becoming a British pub staple.

Even now the region's reputation stands alone as Northern manufacturers use the term "Black Country Style" to slyly shift more packs.

No one at CCC was available for comment regarding the criticism.

The first 10 people who spend over £5 at CCC's shop on Friday will get a free beer and scratchings gift box.

Established in 2015 as a family-run cheese company, The Chuckling Cheese Company became famous for their Charcoal Infused Cheddar Cheese.

Well-known brands of Black Country pork scratches include K.V.E from Tipton, Cooper from Wednesbury, RayGray from Rugeley, G Simmons and Sons from Walsall and Original from Wolverhampton.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News