Heritage cuisine is all the rage these days. What’s old is new on the tastefully distressed plates of restaurants from Brooklyn to Portland. Well, if you want the original, unvarnished classics of British cuisine, we’ve got you covered.
Arbroath Smokies | Scotland
Think of a haddock. Now think of hardwood fires, smoky flavor and burnished copper coloring. There’s a reason this designation is protected by the European Commission in the same way as French champagne. Only haddock smoked in the traditional manner within a 5–mile radius can be called Arbroath smokies.
Haggis | Scotland
The most famous, and perhaps most challenging on the list. Recipes vary, but generally, haggis is the minced offal of a sheep, pig or cow mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, spices and seasoning, and boiled in the stomach of the animal. Not for the squeamish, then, but if you go where it’s made well, it can be delicious. Or so we’ve heard.
Fish and Chips | Scotland
Fish and chips is a staple of British food. But just as with a burger, quality isn’t always easy to find. Anstruther Fish Bar in Fife, Scotland, is home of Britain’s best fish and chips. Fresh, filleted fish from Argofish are brought in bright and early each morning to ensure you get the most satisfying bite.
Devonshire Cream Tea | Devon, England
If you come for the beaches, definitely stay for tea. Devonshire clotted cream is thick, velvety and delicious on a freshly baked scone with a generous helping of strawberry jam. Just find a local tearoom that knows how to keep it simple.
Bakewell Pudding | Derbyshire, England
Supposedly invented by accident, Bakewell pudding combines strawberry jam, custard and almond paste. The story goes that, in 1820, cooking instructions for a jam tart were misunderstood and a pudding was born. At this point, it’s a tradition.
Sunday Roast | London, England
From Yorkshire pudding to potatoes, veggies to beef, there’s no place much better for a cozy Sunday roast than Ffiona’s Restaurant. After the roast, choose from Ffiona’s apple and blueberry crumble, bread and butter pudding with ice cream, creamy custard, or world–famous sticky toffee pudding.
Grasmere Gingerbread | The Lake District, England
Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere gingerbread recipe has remained unchanged since she wrote it out in the 1850s. The tiny shop where it’s sold is the original cottage where she lived and worked. It’s near where poet William Wordsworth settled after being enchanted by the landscapes of the Lake District, and where his home, Dove Cottage, is now a popular museum.
Pork Pies | Leicestershire, England
There are pork pies and then there are golden, hand–crimped pastry treasure chests encasing the best cuts of pork and the richest jelly. Where to unearth these nuggets of perfection, you ask? At the Dickinson and Morris pie shop in the center of town you can find pies ready to eat, and try your hand at making your own.
Cornish Pasty | Cornwall, England
This local legend’s good name has been tainted by mass production. The Cornish Pasty Association states that “a genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape… The texture of the filling…is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef…, swede or turnip, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning.” Accept no imitations.
Welsh Cakes | Wales
Often served warm with a big mug of tea. People usually have their own family recipe, but the standard version is a modest round of cake packed with dried fruit and dusted with sugar. Or try Welsh whisky Welshcakes, infused with Penderyn single malt.
Cheese | Great Britain
We’ve cheated a bit and counted cheeses of all sorts – with over 700 types available, cheese is an obsession here. There’s tangy Blue Stilton, made at only six dairies worldwide by law; tasty, nettle–wrapped Yarg from Cornwall; original Cheddar from the West Country; hard, white Caerphilly cheese from Wales; and local specialties almost anywhere you go.
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