Here in the UK we have neither the most reliable weather in Europe nor the prestigious gastronomic reputation of our French, Italian or Spanish cousins, but we certainly know that food doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or served with avocado to be of the highest quality. When you’re in London, you’ll quickly notice how easy it is to embark on a culinary journey around the world, simply by walking the streets of the city.
However, once you arrive in the huge multicultural capital, the menu will change somewhat – and that’s not a bad thing at all. Along the way, discover must-try dishes and become an expert in traditional British cuisine in no time at all. Now, can you pass me a scone, please?
Fish and chips
This dish is a must for the British summer (every three days). Whether you’re a lover of our aquatic friends or you grin at the sight of fish, we English prepare this dish in a way that will make your mouth water. All we have to do is simply fry the catch of the day in batter and accompany it with a huge pile of coarsely cut chips.
Then it’s up to you to cover them with salt and vinegar or drown them under a layer of ketchup and then find the nearest beach to go and eat them.
If you are visiting the south of England, the sunniest part of the country, it is your duty to taste the cream tea. For this world-renowned ritual, a steaming pot of brown tea accompanies two huge scones, each lovingly filled with jam and heavy cream.
Make sure you have your phone handy – these beautiful and tasty creations will bring your Instagram senses to the boil.
Falafels may not be traditionally British, but we have really welcomed them into our flourishing gastronomic culture as if they were our own. Enjoy them with a salad, stuffed in rolls or warmed in flatbread. These lightly spiced chickpea purée dumplings from the Middle East are delicious (and very healthy) no matter how you choose to eat them.
Accompany these happy meatballs with a layer of hummus and get ready to make everyone around you mouth water.
A hearty Cornish pasty never fails to satisfy a hungry stomach. Beef, potatoes, onion and rutabaga are wrapped in a thick envelope of shortcrust pastry before cooking. For variety, try the lamb, spicy and even vegetarian versions. This meal also favours the practical aspect. There’s no need for cutlery, since the hot filling is contained in a pastry envelope.
Just visit a local bakery, you’ll thank me later.
The apple crumble
Some might find me biased, as I would eat crumbles every day (even for breakfast), but the humble apple crumble is THE greatest gift the UK has to offer to the taste buds of this world. Sweet apples, cooked with a crumbly layer of flour, sugar and butter, become a dish of contrasting textures – the dessert of kings.
If it is served with ice cream, demand (or politely ask) that it be accompanied by hot custard instead, as it traditionally should be.
French fries with sauce
If you are travelling in the northern half of the country, you can swap the “fish and chips” for a slightly different combination: French fries with sauce. Yes, apparently, gravy, which is more often served at a roast dinner, is actually quite delicious with French fries. If almost everyone in the north of England likes them, it must be worth trying – especially if the sauce comes from a freshly baked meat pie…
On a gastronomic tour of the UK, only the truly brave should venture further north. Scotland is truly a beautiful country, but its national dish is certainly not suitable for some discerning palates. Haggis is a traditional sausage made from the stomach, liver, lungs and heart of sheep. This interesting mixture, similar to pudding, is then seasoned, mixed with onions and oat flakes, and enclosed in the sheep’s stomach (or an artificial casing).
Thanks to its hazelnut-like flavour (believe it or not), it is said to be particularly delicious. The recipe is old – one would expect something more pleasant for our times – and it is still very popular, especially when served with mashed potatoes and rutabaga.