Melton Mowbray Food Festival regional British flavours

Melton Mowbray Food Festival regional British flavours

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If you’ve never tried the traditional British delicacy that is a pork pie, then Melton Mowbray Food Festival in Leicestershire is the place to go for your initiation. Hosted at the covered livestock market in the town of Melton Mowbray near Birmingham in the West Midlands of England, it’s now in its 14th year and known as one of the top regional food events in the country.

 

If you’ve never tried the traditional British delicacy that is a pork pie, then Melton Mowbray Food Festival in Leicestershire is the place to go for your initiation. Hosted at the covered livestock market in the town of Melton Mowbray near Birmingham in the West Midlands of England, it’s now in its 14th year and known as one of the top regional food events in the country.

This year the festival takes place on 7 and 8 October, when around 200 stands will showcase some of the region’s finest food and drink, alongside a Street Food area serving hot food from around the world.  While you’re in town, be sure to visit Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, where Dickinson & Morris has been baking pork pies here since 1851, making it the oldest pork pie bakery in town.

So what does a pork pie consist of exactly? It’s a mixture of fresh pork encased in a unique jelly within a crunchy pastry; the Melton Mowbray pork pie has a distinctive bow shape, distinguishing it from other pork pies. It is also a European Union-protected food name.

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Pork pies aren’t the only regional speciality to try during a trip to Britain – here are six more to savour.

East Midlands Regional food and Drink festival. Close up shot of Melton Mowbray’s famous pork pies.

 

Bakewell tart

What is it?Have your sweet tooth at the ready – this is a pastry tart packed with almond flavouring topped with raspberry or cherry jam. The tart is distinct from the Bakewell pudding, which is a dessert made with flaky pastry, a layer of jam and an almond filling.

What’s the story? Said to have originated in the market town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, central England, it’s thought that the pudding was the original version and can be traced back to the 16th century. There is some debate on how the pudding became a tart, but the general accepted view is a cook made a mistake with the recipe.

Where can I eat it? Bakewell of course! If you want to find out more about the product while you’re eating it, the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop is a good place to start – apparently this was where it first was served in 1860. Hand-made to a secret recipe, you can enjoy the sweets in the restaurant above the shop and as part of an afternoon tea. Bakewell is a bus ride from Matlock, which is around two hours 30 minutes by train from London’s St Pancras.

 

pudding shop & restaurant, bakewell, Derbyshire, England.

Cornish pasty

What is it? Succulent meat and vegetables encased in warm, golden pastry and, if it’s a genuine Cornish pasty – that is, made in Cornwall, south-west England – it has to have a distinctive ‘D’ shape and be crimped on one side.

What’s the story? The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the pasty was identified in around 1300. By the 18th century it was well established as a Cornish food staple, eaten by poorer working families who could afford the cheaper ingredients of potatoes, onion and swede, plus its size and shape meant it was easy for miners and farm workers to transport. The pasty was one of the first fast foods!

Where can I eat it? Pretty much the moment you cross the county border into Cornwall, you can pick up a pasty in a butcher shop or bakery. Malcolm Barnecutt has several bakeries around Cornwall selling hand-made goods made fresh overnight, plus two restaurants where you can linger over a pasty, one in St Austell and one in Bodmin. Trains from London go to various places in Cornwall, and take between four and five hours depending on your chosen destination.

 

A man enjoys a Cornish Pasty in the village of St. Mawes, St. Mawes, Cornwall, England.

Haggis

What is it?One of Scotland’s most famous dishes, haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep offal mince mixed with oatmeal, suet and spices. Traditionally encased in a sheep’s stomach, nowadays it’s mostly prepared in a sausage casing, and served with ‘neeps and tatties’ (turnip and potato).

What’s the story? The exact origins of the haggis aren’t known – there is some research to suggest it originates from the days of Scottish cattle drovers, who took haggis to eat on their long journey through the Highlands, yet there are other stories that claim it was carried to Scotland aboard a Viking ship. However, it’s been considered a Scottish national dish since Robert Burns penned Address to a Haggis in 1787, which is traditionally recited on Burns’ Night as the haggis is brought in.

Where can I eat it? You’ll find it on many a menu in Scotland; for fine dining options in Edinburgh, the Wedgwood Restaurant serves a choice of haggis with its Scottish fillet of beef, or you can eat it at the city’s only haggis and whisky pub, aptly named the Arcade Haggis & Whisky Pub. At Babbity Bowster in Glasgow you’ll find chicken stuffed with haggis on the menu.

 

A STUDIO SET UP OF HAGGIS AND WHISKY.
PIC:PAUL TOMKINS/VisitScotland/SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT

Welsh laverbread

What is it?Contrary to its name, laverbread is not a bread of any sort, but a traditional Welsh delicacy made of nutritious seaweed harvested from rocks off the Welsh coast, which is washed, cooked, then minced into a thick black/green paste. You’ll hear it referred to as ‘bara lawr’ in Welsh.

What’s the story? In the early 19th century, laverbread formed part of the traditional breakfast (with bacon, sausages and mushrooms) that Welsh miners would eat to prepare for the long working day ahead.

Where can I eat it? Why not try bara lawr with another Welsh delicacy harvested from the country’s coastlines – cockles (chocos)? You’ll find them on the menu at country pub The Smith Arms Restaurant in Foelgastell, near Llanelli in south-west Wales, with the laverbread baked with bacon and leeks. Discover it on the seasonal menus at the foodie haven that is Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in north Wales; you’ll find it matched with plenty of other treats from Wales’ natural larder and locally sourced produce.

Yorkshire pudding

What is it? A traditional British Sunday roast dinner would not be the same without Yorkshire pudding – made of eggs, flour and milk and usually served with roast meat and gravy, although it can also be served with jam, syrup or custard as a dessert.

What’s the story? It’s not really known when the Yorkshire pudding first made an appearance on British plates, but the first-ever recorded recipe features in an early 18th century book.

Where should I eat it? Wherever you see signs in restaurants or pubs serving a Sunday roast, you can pretty much guarantee it will come with Yorkshire pudding. The award-winning traditional village inn, The Carpenters Arms, in the village of Felixkirk, near Thirsk in north Yorkshire, or the Fat Badger pub in Harrogate, north Yorkshire, are both excellent options.

 

County Lifestyle and Leisure Team
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