Explore the tastes of the UK
Staying in the UK is the new going abroad, and with so much variety at home, why go elsewhere? From the haggis of Scotland to the pasties in Cornwall, the UK is a haven for lovers of good food, and there is plenty to keep them occupied. Particularly in these difficult financial times, staying at home is becoming a more and more attractive option to many UK holiday makers. There really are endless gastronomic treasures to be found, so here is our top five.
For fans of the hot stuff, curry has to be the choice, and the UK is becoming a destination in its own right for Indian food. Not just pure heat, the best curries combine more subtle flavours and spices to create a tasty and enjoyable meal. The best can usually be found in areas with plenty of curry houses, as the competition drives up quality. Stay near Manchester’s curry mile to experience the bewildering array of restaurants offering all kinds of Asian food – this area is said to have the largest concentration of this type of restaurant, including Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan in the entire UK.
One of the most famous local foods in the UK has to be Haggis, and where better to eat it than Scotland? This traditional savoury dish, made from offal and traditionally encased in a sheep’s stomach, is much tastier than it sounds and is usually, and best, served with “neeps and tatties” – turnips and potatoes. Visit Scotland in the week of January 25 to celebrate Burn’s night with this traditional dish, maybe washed down with a “wee dram” of Scottish whisky. The weather at that time of year will be cold, but that can make the dramatic landscape even more appealing – enjoy it from Edinburgh to experience the history and culture that is embedded in this windswept city. Or, alternatively, enjoy the taste of the Scottish national dish with a spot of Robert Burns’ poetry to really top of the Scottish experience.
Surrounded by sea, Britain is ideally placed to enjoy wonderful fresh seafood – from the south coast of England to the windswept shores of the Scottish highlands. The absolute best is always as fresh as possible, so it makes sense to eat it near the sea. Stay near Blackpool’s seafront and combine your foodie visit with the joys of a traditional British seaside town to get the most out of your experience. On of the best times to visit is autumn, for the famous illuminations, roasted chestnuts and fairground rides, or summer, for the beach, promenade and nightlife. Even the rain can’t spoil your visit, with plenty of indoor entertainment, including the Tower and waxworks. Don’t miss the wonderful local potted shrimp, spread on warm crusty toast, for the ideal starter or light lunch. And if after your wonderful feed you’re still hungry for another Blackpool experience, why not visit the famous pier or pleasure beach to experience some truly local attractions.
The Cornish Pasty is a name that is closely guarded – only pasties made within the borders of Cornwall and fitting a strict set of criteria are allowed to use the title. These rules help guard the quality of the item, and so you can be sure of getting a treat. For the real foodie enthusiast, why not combine a trip for a traditional pasty with a cream tea, with delicious Cornish clotted cream spread thickly on warm scones, and enjoy the cliff top views?
Last but definitely not least, roast beef has to be the quintessential British dish. British cows are mostly grass fed, allowing for a deep and satisfying flavour, and roasting develops that taste to make an irresistible treat. The most famous breed is perhaps the inimitable Highland Cow, with its long shaggy hair, or the Aberdeen Angus. But south of the border, enjoy a traditional roast beef dinner in London, and combine your trip with sightseeing of all the famous landmarks to have a full English experience.