Great Britain in the past had an undeserved reputation as not being interested in food. In truth, the small farms and country processing houses in modern Great Britain have kept alive a number of the traditional techniques and foodstuffs that have regained popularity in the slow food movement.
Here are some of the foods you should make a point of eating while you are in Great Britain.
A lot of Great Britain is coastal or on rivers, which means there was a great reliance on seafood in traditional diets. In order to keep the supply of seafood going all through the winter fisherman would use woodsmoke and salt to preserve the fish, adding a layer of complexity to the cold water seafood. Skilled smokers would use a combination of a woods and salt, along with herbs, to achieve a suitable consistency. This lead to common seafood options in the 'traditional' British cuisine including smoked kippers for breakfast. These tasty and unique fish are full of flavour and have a bold taste compared to the dulled taste many consumers are now used to in frozen fish.
Oat cakes and flat bread
The cold weather also meant that many farmers relied on the hardy winter friendly crops of oats and made delicious porridge. There is a range of traditional recipes based on wild oats and salt and sugar flavours. These breads and cakes are hardy and were a great way to boost the energy of the food over the long British winters. You can find some great recipes at small traditional bakeries on wood fired ovens.
Britain has a relatively small footprint but has always produced a high yield of meat on farms, particularly sheep and pigs, per square metre. There is a growing movement of organic farmers which grow livestock using traditional methods and feedstocks including wild grazing in forests and open plan ranging. The farmers produce small batches of high quality meats that are jam packed with flavour and texture. Trying the fresh meat directly from the farmhouse and seeing how the livestock is treated is a great way for foodies to feel connected to their meat and farmers.
If you a foodie planning a trip to Great Britain you should include a food tour through a place like Food Lovers Tours, Ltd. as part of your itinerary. There are a growing number of cooks and farmers reconnecting with their historical routes to create authentic and flavour-packed food from Great Britain with a sustainable approach.