Edmund Sword, an Associate Director for Lycetts Insurance Brokers based in North Yorkshire, specialises in rural and private consultancy. With a client base varying from a house or paddock to some of the UK’s largest farming operations, Edmund also manages Lycetts’ shoot cancellation insurance.
What’s the best – and worst – game dish you’ve ever eaten?
The best has to be a fantastic venison dish served by Coruisk House on the Isle of Skye. It was exceptional, and I will never forget it. The worst I’m afraid was presented by my mother, a grouse well over its eat-by date. It stank, and was simply inedible. My father, in his true stubborn form, ate the lot and spent the next few days regretting it!
Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat?
Anything shot by my brother. He always shoots the low birds!
Name the best shooting property you’ve stayed in, and why.
When away shooting more often than not I stay with friends. However I would say that the Blue Bell at Weaverthorpe was a good friendly Yorkshire pub that looked after us really well. And the White Swan Inn in Pickering is lovely.
Tell us about your most memorable – not necessarily the best – day’s shooting.
Most memorable days have to be with a good group of friends. Notable days are Miserden Park in Gloucestershire: a fantastic family shoot, quality birds, good lunch (I do love a good lunch) and unforgettable company. Shooting grouse at Danby on the morning of my wedding was memorable and helped calm the nerves. And of course the mandatory species day at the end of the season; roaming Wykeham like a bunch of poachers!
To what lengths should shoots go to ensure as much shot game as possible enters the food chain?
Shoots should be fully accountable for where game ends up, and there is no reason at all that it shouldn’t end up in the food chain. I appreciate it’s hard to convince the hearts and minds of everybody out there, but more should be done to get game on supermarket shelves and into the homes of everybody.
You are given a day’s shooting absolutely anywhere in the world, all expenses paid for you and seven guests. Where would you choose, with whom, and what would you eat and drink for lunch and dinner?
That’s extremely civil of you, but it’s got to start with a good breakfast. Hawnby always seems a special place to go. I’d take a real good group of friends (excluding my mate Browny just to wind him up). As to what we’d eat, I do enjoy game on a day’s shooting. Anything from pheasant goujons at elevenses, to partridge for dinner. But the most important thing about a day’s shooting is not necessarily the grandness of it, or the amount of birds you shoot: it’s the company and the atmosphere. The food is an important part of that.
What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking and eating game?
I must confess that while I do like to cook I don’t spend a lot if time doing it. But I would say the most important thing is fresh local produce, and knowing where it has come from.