Britains Food Spots
Cornwall produces the freshest fish and tastiest meat and dairy produce straight from the sea and land. Well-known for its pasties, traditionally eaten by miners and field workers with a savoury filling one end and sweet the other, the nettle-wrapped Cornish Yarg is another local favourite.
It is also home to local chef, restaurateur and television presenter, Rick Stein, and his famous Seafood Restaurant is located in Padstow. Other famous eateries include Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall Restaurant overlooking the dramatic coastline of Watergate Bay.
Devon is known for its traditional Devon breeds such as Red Ruby and Orange Elephant, not to mention cream teas and local tipples. Home to local food hero Michael Caines and his two Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park. Other famous eateries include The Salty Monk in Sidford; and Mitch Tonks’ The Seahorse and Rockfish seafood restaurant in Dartmouth.
Dorset produces fantastic local food in abundance; from wild watercress to Dover Sole and Monk Fish to Dorset Blue Vinny Cheese. It is also home to local food hero, Annette Lee, producer of the award-winning Woolsery English Goat Cheese. Famous local eateries in the area include Riverside Restaurant in West Bay; The Bull Hotel, a former 17th century boutique coaching inn in Bridport; and the classic freehold pub, The Square and Compass at Worth Matravers which serves award-winning beer and cider.
Somerset is best known for its delicious cider, Cheddar Cheese, unique Exmoor Blue Cheese and the finest ice-cream made from local clotted cream. It is also home to one of Britain’s top chefs, Phil Vickery. Famous local eateries in the area include The Olive Mill, near Bridgwater, which serves modern British and Mediterranean cuisine; The Walnut Tree Hotel Restaurant, south of Bridgwater; and The Castle at Taunton which launched the careers of Gary Rhodes and Phil Vickery.
Wiltshire has been synonymous with pig farming and the bacon industry since Saxon times, the ‘Wiltshire Cure’, a method of curing pork where you can only taste the ham, results in the delicious Wiltshire Ham. Famous local eateries in the area include the award-winning The George and Dragon in Rowde, Devizes; The Polly Tearooms in Marlborough; and real ale specialist pub, The Tollgate, in Holt, near Bradford-on-Avon.
Hampshire's watercress production is second to none and the area is renowned for the Hampshire Hog, artisan cheeses including Lyburn Winchester, Tunworth and London Blewe, as well as the award-winning Hampshire Food Festival. It is home to Susie Carter, winner of ITV1's Britain's Best Dish, who wowed judges with her watercress and smoked trout tart made entirely from Hampshire ingredients. Top local eateries include Vetiver Restaurant at Chewton Glen in the New Forest and Lainston House, a charming 17th century country hotel near Winchester.
The Isle of Wight is famous for its tomatoes, sweet corn and garlic. The garlic is so good it is regularly sold to the French. To celebrate the garlic harvest, the Island is home to the Garlic Festival in August. It is home to Minghella's Ice Cream who make, amongst many delicious flavours, an ice cream inspired by their son Anthony's Oscar winning film career. The Island's quality produce can be tasted in a range of fine eateries such as Robert Thompson's Michelin starred restaurant, The Hambrough, the Seaview Hotel and the Priory Bay Hotel.
Sussex is famous for its Sussex Downs lamb and also produces Arundel mullet and the tea-time pastry, Brighton Rock. Home to Jenny and Trevor Passmore from Church Farm, winners of the Sussex Farmer of the Year award at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2011. Famous local eateries in the area include two award-winning restaurants, The Pass and The Camellia, based at the South Lodge Hotel.
Kent is a natural larder for juicy fresh fruit and delicious vegetables although local delicacies also include Dover Sole, Whitstable Oysters, cobnuts and Romney Lamb which is often called ‘the Kent’ by the local farmers. It is home to Suzie and Colin Corfield, owners of Owlet Fruit Juice which won Kent Juice Producer of the Year 2010 at Taste of Kent Awards 2010. Famous local eateries in the area include Wheelers Oyster Bar in Whitstable; The Secret Garden Restaurant in Ashford and The Plough at Stalisfield Green.
Surrey’s terrain of chalk bones covered with well-drained sandy and chalky top-soils make it the perfect location for English sparkling wine production. Delia Smith, the famous British cook and television presenter was born in Surrey. Top eateries serving quality British ingredients include Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot whose Latymer Restaurant holds two Michelin Stars and 4 AA Rosettes and The Jolly Farmers Deli Pub and Restaurant in Betchworth.
London is home to world-class restaurants, worthy of a capital city, as well as source of exceptional British and international produce in its markets and food halls. The Chelsea Bun, a type of currant bun first created in the 18th century at the Bun House in Chelsea, was renowned for its lightness, although the bun of today is rather more substantial. Born and bred in London, Nigella Lawson, the food writer, journalist and broadcaster, still calls London her home. Famous London eateries include The Ivy is situated in the heart of London's West End; The Cinnamon Club offering Indian haute cuisine; and The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition in Piccadilly.
Berkshire is one of the oldest counties in England and is closely linked with its most famous residence, Windsor Castle. The 'Royal County' is birthplace of traditional recipes such as Eton Mess, Brown Windsor Soup and Poor Knights of Windsor pudding. Berkshire is also home to Heston Blumenthal, the experimental chef, and his three-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, in Bray, whose signature dishes include snail porridge and parsnip cereal.
Gloucestershire’s lush areas of green provide excellent grazing for the local cattle, which provide milk for the county’s famous Double Gloucester cheese not to mention Stinking Bishop, a favourite of Wallace and Gromit! The Old Spot pig, which produces top quality pork chops, roasting joints and sausages, is another local speciality. Home to HRH The Prince of Wales, one our country’s most vocal local food advocates. Famous local eateries in the area include The Old Butchers in Stow-in-the-Wold, Made by Bob in Cirencester and The Trouble House Inn near Tetbury.
Oxfordshire’s plentiful grassland and meadows make it the perfect location for grazing livestock. It’s no wonder the area has a distinct sausage, the Oxford Sausage, made with pork meat and veal. Another local speciality is the Banbury Cake which is thought to originate from the Crusades, made with puff pastry, and filled with a mince mixture known as Banbury meat containing orange and lemon peel, currants, sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Oxfordshire is also home to Raymond Blanc’s famous restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Alex James’s cheese and The Kingham Plough.
Buckinghamshire has an abundance of mouth-watering local food and drink including gorgeous local chocolates, Aylesbury duck and The Chiltern Brewery’s award-winning draught beer. Home to Mary Berry, cookery writer, a TV cook and Aga expert, who launched Mary Berry and Daughter Dressings and Sauces with daughter Annabel in 1994. Top local eateries serving the best local produce include The Mole and Chicken pub in Easington and The Artichoke Restaurant in Old Amersham.
Hertfordshire’s role in growing barley and then turning this into malt, an essential component of beer, is long and renowned. Its Braughing sausages produced using traditional methods by family-run butcher D. White in the eponymous village are also well-known. Gade Valley Game at Great Gaddesden near Hemel Hempstead produces wild and sustainable game from the National Trust's Ashridge Estate in the Chiltern Hills including vension, hare and pheasant. Eateries include Auberge du Lac in Welywn; The Fox in Willian; and Redcoats Hotel and Restaurant in Hitchin.
Essex is bursting with fresh local produce from Colchester oysters, Southend Whitebait and Essex Whelks to Maldon Sea Salt. It is also home to John Wilkin, founder of the famous Wilkin and Sons Tiptree preserves. Jamie Oliver, the chef, restaurateur, and media personality was born in Essex and his family pub, The Cricketers in Clavering, is still going strong. Other eateries include the Bake House in Wivenhoe and the Lemon Tree in Colchester.
Suffolk is home to Suffolk cured ham, which is said to be so delicious it is served to the Queen every Christmas. Another pork speciality is the Newmarket sausage made by two leading makers - Musk’s and Powter’s - with different recipes. Suffolk Smoked Sprats; and Broadside, a dark ruby-red beer brewed by Adnams, the independent brewery in Southwold, are two more regional delights. Jimmy Doherty of Jimmy’s Farm TV fame is based in Suffolk; and The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is one of England’s most acclaimed foodie gatherings. Top eateries include The Leaping Hare Vineyard Restaurant at Wyken Vineyards in Stanton.
Norfolk provides an array of culinary delights. The clean waters off the seaside resort on the North Norfolk Coast is home to the Cromer crab, a treat for all seafood lovers. The marshes produce some of the finest samphire and its mild climate is ideal for Norfolk black turkeys. Michelin-starred chef, Galton Blackiston, lives in the county, and top eateries show-casing local produce include The Pigs Pub in Edgefield; and The Carpenters Arms in Wighton.
Cambridgeshire’s landscape makes it perfect for farming. The county produces a wide range of crops from asparagus, peas, beans and potatoes, to more staple crops of wheat and oilseed. Stilton cheese is named after the eponymous village and Trinity College Cambridge is often cited as the birthplace of a less sweet version of crème brûlée, known as ‘Trinity burnt cream’ which, while a myth, doesn’t stop the college from regularly serving the dessert. Top eateries using the best Cambridgeshire ingredients include The Old Spring pub located just north of the River Cam; and Cotto Restaurant in Cambridge.
Bedfordshire is home of the Bedfordshire Clanger, a pasty-style pie with a savoury filling at one end and a sweet filling at the other, traditionally given to farm labourers to eat hot or cold. Loving wives made two holes to indicate meat and three knife slits for pudding. Local chilli experts, Shawn and Joanna Plumb, of Edible Ornamentals, based at Cherwood Nursery in the village of Chawston, are known as the county’s hottest secret. Eateries include Limes of Bedford, an award-winning coffee shop and takeaway; and the Bedford Swan Hotel, the town’s most historic hotel.
Northamptonshire boasts the full flavoured stout traditionally brewed for the frosty dark night of the midwinter solstice by Hoggleys Brewery and the handmade cupcakes by Angelina Cupcake, as well as the delicious, award-winning Brixworth Pâté. Sophie Grigson, one of Britain's best-loved cookery writers and presenters, is a former resident of the county. Eateries include The Church Bar & Restaurant in Northampton.
Warwickshire, located in the heart of the country, has many local specialties including Plum Jerkum, a type of fruit wine, similar to cider, brewed from plums; and Coventry Godcakes, triangular pastries filled with mincemeat, which are said to represent the trinity. Not to be missed is Ringswood ice cream which takes its name from the Ringswood herd of British Friesian cows on the family farm and Harvest of Arden’s delicious range of conserves, chutneys, marmalades, apple juices and smoothies. Local eateries include The Bluebell, an award-winning fine dining pub, Henley in Arden and Ashton Lodge Country Hotel located in Street Ashton.
Worcestershire lies between the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds and is best known for its apples, including the Worcester Pearmain with its hint of strawberry - the Malvern Pudding is a traditional Georgian baked dish made with apples or other seasonal fruit and custard. Malvern water is a natural spring water from the Malvern Hills on the border of the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire in England. Eateries include the award-winning Browns at the Quay, Worcester and The Glasshouse Brasserie and Bar in Sidbury.
Herefordshire’s lush countryside, red fertile soil and gentle climate ensures its reputation for quality cattle, sheep, cider, hops and vineyards is watertight. Hereford beef is famed for its marbling which ensures juicy, tasty meat, so it is no wonder Waitrose is promoting this succulent meat. The area’s microclimate ensures the earliest and sweetest Wye Valley asparagus as well as the tastiest Hereford Cider. One of the many notable eateries is Castle House in Hereford Orles Barn in Ross-on-Wye.
Shropshire is a proud producer of Market Drayton Gingerbread which the locals like to dunk in port.
Shropshire Pie made with rabbit and pork dates back to the eighteenth century and originally contained oysters and artichoke bottoms. The Shrewsbury Cake or Shrewsbury Biscuit is an English dessert made from batter and nutmeg and one of the most popular biscuits in India. The Ludlow Food Festival is the best-known annual festival of its kind in Britain. Eateries include La Bécasse and Mr Underhill’s Restaurant, both of which have one Michelin star and are in Ludlow.
Staffordshire boasts two national forests and four national nature reserves and its bounty includes berries, soft fruits, beans, peas, root vegetables, sweetcorn, spinach, pumpkin, squash and rhubarb.
Home to the Tamworth pig which produces a lean and tasty pork and Staffordshire Oatcakes, a cross between a flatbread and a pancake. A true Staffordshire breakfast consists of oatcakes with bacon and eggs.
Leicestershire is particularly famous for its Red Leicester cheese, traditionally dyed with beetroot, as well as Stilton cheese, this county has held cheese fairs since 1730. Also, for its Melton Mowbray pies made of uncured, uncooked and hand-chopped pork, it is no surprise this tasty dish has received Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in the UK. The Red Lion Inn Stathern features in the Michelin Pub Guide 2011.
Rutland is England’s smallest county, but has a strong farming and agricultural background and long tradition of supporting local produce including pork pies, Dexter Old Spot burgers, cheese, ciders and beers. Award-winning meat producer Northfield Farm produces succulent beef from its Dexter Cattle as well as its White Park Cattle, one of the oldest British Breeds, which was ‘knighted’ Sir Loin by King John. Notable eateries include Hambleton Hall, in Oakham, which has held its Michelin Star since 1982; The King’s Arms, Wing; and The Olive Branch, near Clipsham.
Lincolnshire’s sausages are distinguished from other sausages by the coarsely chopped or ground pork and use of sage which is found in the county’s pork pies as well. Don’t miss the award-winning handmade Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese; succulent beef from the Lincoln Red; or the famous Lincolnshire plumbread.
Nottinghamshire has a long tradition of fine food and drink; the famous Bramley cooking apple comes from Southwell and is found in many local recipes. Home to specialist food producers such as Cropwell Bishop Creamery - makers of Stilton cheese; JT Beedham & Sons, whose award-winning butcher Johnny Pusztai smokes speciality hams according to his Hungarian family tradition; and Broad Nook Farm, a small family-run beef farm. Restaurant Sat Bains is Nottingham's only Michelin star restaurant.
Derbyshire is not only blessed by its countryside, notably the Peak District National Park, the second most visited National Park in the world, but by its diverse range of produce. Sage Derby, a cows’ cheese flavoured with sage juice; Bakewell Tart; and Peak District water buffalo supplied exclusively by the Farmhouse Pantry in Dronfield are just a few of this county’s delights. Baslow Hall in Baslow boasts one Michelin star under head chef Rupert Rowley.
Cheshire has much to smile about in its range of local produce. Some claim Cheshire cheese is one of Britain’s oldest cheeses but despite its history, true Cheshire is a crumbly, moist cheese which is matured for less than three months. Other goodies include 2010 Cheshire Food Hero of the Year, the Cheshire Smokehouse in Morley Green, Wilmslow, which specialises in home-cured bacon, sausages, smoked fish and even smoked nuts. Notable restaurants are Michael Caine’s ABode in Chester and The Residence in Nantwich.
Merseyside is a region built on adventure and innovation, with a history of inclusion towards other cultures – delighting in their influences and tastes. Favourite foods for land and sea include; Wirral asparagus, watercress, Southport shrimp, Liverpool Bay sea bass, Barnston Longhorns, Willaston chickens. Local heroes include Edge & Sons butchers, an award winning RSPCA approved independent butcher, and the regions food champion Paul Askew at The London Carriage Works restaurant, a training ground for winners, including Master Chef winner Clare Lara and two successive years of Merseyside Young Chefs. Hope Street in Liverpool has an amazing variety of restaurants serving of fresh, locally sourced and seasonal delicious dishes
Lancashire famous Morecambe Bay shrimps are a local delicacy. Hotly debated as to what constitutes the perfect Lancashire hotpot, there is a consensus that it should include layers of fairly thickly sliced potatoes, meat and thinly sliced onions. In keeping with the county’s tradition of pastry making, Chorley cakes from Chorley, are an irresistible mix of shortcrust pastry and do not have sugar topping, but are traditionally eaten, topped with butter. Another local delicacy includes the Bury black pudding. Notable eatery is Northcote Manor, whose head chef Nigel Haworth has retained a Michelin Star since 1996.
Yorkshire is famous for its pudding, a savoury batter dish which when served with roast beef and vegetables forms a key part of a classic Sunday roast; and Wensleydale, a cheese often eaten as an accompaniment to sweet foods. The locals’ sweet tooth is clear for this county is also well known for its curd tart, made with rosewater; Parkin, a sweet ginger cake which contains oatmeal and treacle; and liquorice. Ginger beer came from Yorkshire in the mid 1700s. It is also the home of forced rhubarb and the famous Rhubarb Triangle. Sam Stern is a local celebrity chef and author. Try the award-winning Rudding Park, set in beautiful parkland in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Durham is the birthplace of mustard, invented by Mrs Clements and first ground at a mill in Saddler Street in the city in the 17th Century. Lanchester Dairies, the largest independent dairy in the North East of England, supplies milk, cream and ice cream to local Tesco stores. Husband and wife team Rachael and Edward Jewson of East Knitsley Grange Farm raise and butcher all their meat and their specialities include pork and red onion marmalade and chilli and chocolate sausages.
Wales has a strong farming tradition, famous for its lamb, beef and dairy cattle, not to mention its national vegetable, the leek. Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef's unique heritage has been recognised by the European Commission and have been awarded the coveted status of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). PGI puts Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef on a par with other excellent regional European products like Parma Ham. The town of Caerphilly holds a three day festival annually to celebrate its eponymous cheese. Cheese has long been a traditional food in Wales and Welsh Rarebit has been a popular national dish since Tudor times. The area’s strong fishing culture is reflected in its cuisine which uses laver, the edible seaweed; muscles and cockles. Wales boasts more than 30 food festivals including Llangollen in the North and Abergavenny in the South. Acclaimed eateries include The Walnut Tree in Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny; Tyddyn Llan in Llandrillo; Ynyshir Hall in Machynlleth; and The Crown in Whitebrook.
Northumberland is famous for its Alnwich Stew, a dish made from chopped bacon forehock layered with onions and potatoes and Craster Kippers. Local specialities include beef raised from traditional hill breeds such as Aberdeen Angus, Galloway and Welsh Black; wild game including red grouse and fallow venison; sweet Cheviot lamb; fresh lobster; Lindisfarne Oysters and asparagus grown on the grassy shores of Lindisfarne.
Cumbria offers local beers made from Lakeland water to renowned lamb and beef. Specialities include Kendal Mint Cake, Cumberland Sausage, Grasmere Gingerbread and Cumberland Rum Butter flavoured with rum, Barbados sugar and spices. Game flourishes in Cumbria including the Derwentwater duck which is traditionally served with a sweet and sharp Cumberland sauce. Eateries include Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel in Windermere; and L’Enclume in Cartmel. Local food heroes include the hairy bikers David Myers and Simon King.
Scotland’s traditional foods include Arbroath Smokies, a type of smoked haddock; Cock-a-leekie soup made from leeks and chicken stock; neeps and tatties (mashed potatoes with a little nutmeg and mashed swede with ginger); Cranachan made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey, and fresh raspberries topped with toasted oatmeal; not to mention Scottish ales and whisky and of course, most famous of all, haggis! Scottish Venison, with its unsurpassed eating qualities, and Scottish wild salmon fresh from the sea, loch and river and now in scarce supply, are two of Scotland’s great natural products. England may be famous for its strawberries but raspberries are the national fruit of Scotland thriving in the cooler Scottish summers where long daylight hours help them ripen with masses of flavour. Famous eateries include Valante’s Fish and Chip shop in Kirkcaldy; Applecross Inn in Wester Ross; and Monachyle Mhor hotel at Balquhidder.
Northern Ireland is home of world-class dairy, beef, pork, lamb and chicken, Northern Ireland has a veritable larder of which it can be proud. Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles, is Europe's greatest source of eels. Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at Ireland’s oldest working distillery in County Antrim and includes five award-winning whiskeys. There is a plethora of annual events celebrating local food. The apple blossom season is marked with tours, tastings and markets in Armagh; the fishing heritage is celebrated with festivals in fishing ports; and the now famous Hillsborough Oyster Festival gives those with an appetite for oysters and stout the opportunity to compete for international championship titles. In contrast to the rest of the British Isles, where bakeries have all but disappeared, most market towns and villages in Northern Ireland still have bustling bakeries, often in their second or third generation. Soda bread, potato farls and drop scones, wheaten and batch breads, and sticky sweet ‘wee buns’ and ‘tray bakes’ are in abundance.
Paul Rankin is Ireland’s most famed celebrity chef. The recipient of the first Michelin star in Northern Ireland, he is the brain behind Rankin Selection, N.Ireland’s first celebrity chef brand.
Notable eateries are Nick’s Warehouse restaurants in Belfast, Balloo House in Killinchy and The Lime Tree in Co.Londonderry.