Five of the best online butchers for festive feasts

Exceptional meat for Christmas, New Year and everything in between ­– delivered round the UK

Farmison & Co’s free-range cockerels are the perfect size to feed six hungry guests
Farmison & Co’s free-range cockerels are the perfect size to feed six hungry guests

Turkey or goose? Farmison & Co, the award-winning Yorkshire Dales-based online butcher, stocks both, but if you find a goose won’t quite stretch around the festive table, while a turkey tends to commandeer the fridge for days, there is a splendid alternative: a free-range cockerel (£60 for 3.5kg). A perfect size to feed six hungry guests, its tender meat has superb depth of flavour – roast it with butter, thyme and lemon, and you will have plenty to crow about… unlike the poor old cockerel, of course. farmison.comBILL KNOTT

The Ginger Pig, which has eight butcher shops in the London area, has now ventured online
The Ginger Pig, which has eight butcher shops in the London area, has now ventured online
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This year Tim Wilson, the antiques dealer who founded ethical butcher The Ginger Pig and who now has eight butcher shops in the London area, ventured into online commerce with The Ginger Pig Chop Shop. Swapping the butcher’s bike of old for DPD, the meat is packed fresh with frozen ice packs and compostable WoolCool insulated lining. Orders are currently being taken for Christmas, and the offering includes bronze, free-range Botterills’ turkeys (£72 for 4-5kg) and geese (£72 for 4kg), alongside Ginger Pig classics. The website also stocks Ginger Pig cookbooks (£16.50) and vouchers. thegingerpig.co.uk. BEATRICE AIDIN

Ham specialist Emmett’s has been curing its meat with molasses, brown sugar and local porter since 1820
Ham specialist Emmett’s has been curing its meat with molasses, brown sugar and local porter since 1820
John Gilmour’s beef has superior fat covering and marbling
John Gilmour’s beef has superior fat covering and marbling

A favourite indulgence at this time of year is a whole ham, and you can do no better than the traditionally cured black hams (£231.50 for 10kg on the bone; £73.35 for 3kg off the bone) from Emmett’s of Suffolk. It has been curing its meat with molasses, brown sugar and local porter since 1820, so it should have got it right by now. And it certainly has: rich, dark, sticky and thoroughly delicious. emmettsham.co.uk. BILL KNOTT

Glenarm beef can now be bought online from Fortnum & Mason
Glenarm beef can now be bought online from Fortnum & Mason
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All the beef at John Gilmour, an East Lothian-based family business for over 70 years, comes from grass-fed cattle, sourced from British (predominantly Scottish) farms. The team can identify the source of every cut they sell, and everything is from heifers and bullocks under 30 months old, with superior fat covering and marbling, and dry-hung in state-of-the-art humidifiers. The range of beef cuts is exhaustive: ribeye roast (£28 for 1kg), topside (£13 for 1kg), salmon-cut silverside (£25.50 for 2kg) and centre-cut barrel fillet (£65 for 1kg). There’s an impressive selection of lamb (£13 for 1kg of leg), pork and poultry too. And since John Gilmour is a truly Scottish butcher, there’s squared-off lorne sausage (93p each) among the sausage selection, a superb Stornoway black pudding (66p per slice) and a 1.6kg-1.8kg chieftain haggis (£21.40). gilmourbutchers.comMARK C O’FLAHERTY

I’ve long admired the beef at Mark Hix’s restaurants, from Northern Ireland butcher Peter Hannan: his award-winning Glenarm five-bone rib of beef (£170 for 4.5kg) can now be bought online from Fortnum & Mason. Beautifully marbled with flavourful fat and dry-aged in Hannan’s Himalayan salt chamber for at least 28 days, it is the perfect centrepiece to a Christmas spread. Should any remain (doubtful), Boxing Day sandwiches will never have tasted so good. Just add watercress and a lick of English mustard. fortnumandmason.comBILL KNOTT

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