Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Reader Question for the Community: Best British Foods?


Photo by Salt Water New England


Dear Muffy, 
Here’s a question for the community: 
What kinds of British food, or British food brands, do you prefer and recommend?

59 comments:

  1. Anything from Harrod's or Fortnum and Mason.com

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  2. Maldon salt which I first had at the River Cafe. Simply the best.

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    1. I love and use Maldon all the time too. Good briny salt!

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  3. Fresh bangers from Myers of Keswick, Bachelors mushy peas, Heinz salad cream, Typhoo Extra Strong tea.

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  4. Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolates! The ones using the British formulation and not the ones made by Hersey under a license to use the Cadbury name. Still nursing a bar my daughter brought back from London in May; one little square every few weeks or so.

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  5. Many Marks & Spencers products. I'm partial to their chocolate pecan florentines, their cheese and onion crackers, among others.

    Dundee cake. Even the Dalai Lama is not above its blandishments.

    Champion & Reeves dessert nougat, a mostly faithful recreation of the Callard & Bowser originals.

    Ribena blackcurrant syrup, sadly the nanny state instituted a sugar tax and they have adulterated it with artificial sweeteners.

    Tyrrell's potato crisps.

    Genuine cheddar.

    Bassett's liquorice allsorts.

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  6. Meat pies & Scotch eggs.

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  7. This doesn't sound very up-market, but I enjoy PG Tips because it's an everyday black tea that goes down smoothly and doesn't irritate my stomach.

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    1. I'll see your PG & raise you a Cuppa London. Boxed not bag.

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    2. I love PG Tips.

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    3. Well, that looks very pretty. Also, delicious.

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  8. British food? Not my cup of tea. Their beer on the other hand ... Gem Ale. Made in Bath. Best I've ever had.

    Aiken

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  9. Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton

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  10. McVitie's Digestive Biscuits covered in dark chocolate! If you're really feeling decadent, top with a light spread of softened butter. Yum!

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  11. Forget Harrods & Fortnum & Mason. Only gullible tourists, insecure wannabes and rich foreigners pay their crazy OTT prices.

    In reality, the English upper and middle classes generally shop in local specialist stores, Partridge's, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

    My favourite British brands from the supermarket include

    Anchor butter
    Taylor's Yorkshire and Tetley tea.
    Rose marmalade
    Robertson's jam and marmalade
    Cathedral and Wensleydale cheese
    Cawston Press drinks
    Fentiman's lemonade and cola
    Barr's Irn Bru and American cream soda
    Tunnock's tea cakes and snowballs
    McVitie's and Club biscuits
    Porky White and Heck sausages
    Yeo's dairy products and ice cream
    Mackie's ice cream
    Pieminster and Pukka pies
    Charlie Bigham's pies and pasta dishes
    McSween haggis
    Tyrrell's crisps
    Bendick's mints
    Waitrose Duchy Originals, especially organic

    Fruit, vegetables, fish and meat are often bought fresh from the local market. My local corner shop sells bread and rolls fresh daily from the local bakery.

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  12. Waitrose all the way!

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    1. Apart from Waitrose's own brand bread which is awful. Even the the freshly baked loaves are poor - like tasteless cardboard IMHO and that's being kind.

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  13. Scones with clotted cream and berries. Brilliant.

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  14. Quality Street chocolates and toffees are hard to pass up! - ARH

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  15. Branston Pickle, bitter Scottish marmalade, Hob Nobs (plain and chocolate), Carr's Water Biscuits, and not British but Irish - Barry's Tea - I prefer Indian to Chinese tea.

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  16. No comment on this one, how could anyone but a Brit like their food...!!!
    AEL III

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    1. Similar things cross my mind with mothers and their new babies...

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    2. Arthur -- so that's a 'no comment'? Wouldn't look forward to an actual comment from you or the other two Arthurs :-)

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  17. Walker’s shortbreads
    Fevertree mixers

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  18. My favourite subject! I have no idea what we export to you over the pond, but us Brits love anything with a heritage name.... if it has been selling for over 100 years, we love it!

    Marmite (good for toast and using in recipes for depth of flavour)
    Jacobs Cream Crackers
    Wilkin & Sons jams/preserves/chutneys
    Cadbury for chocolate
    PG Tips (for basic tea), Twinings for anything “fancy”...

    Fortnums is a treat at Christmas time.

    Waitrose is for those with more money than sense.
    Marks & Spencer makes nice food - also a bit pricey.

    Have to disagree with the comment about class being a factor in shopping at Waitrose/M&S. They are shops for those who want to be seen...

    Sensible (some might say Preppy) Brits will buys from their local greengrocer, butcher and baker. They aren’t afraid of a bargain either - Tesco good for branded food. Morrison’s supermarket feels most “British”.

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    1. In my town, it's a choice between Waitrose and M&S only. Only inverted snobs regard them "for for people who want to be seen".

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    2. Alena Kate PettittAugust 2, 2019 at 8:13 AM

      Ken,

      An inverted snob I am not (if you were aiming that jab at me). I do hope not.

      I happen to love Waitrose and M&S too, but shopping there does not make you “classy”. Upper or middle... That was the point I was making. I disagree with the assumption that it is the place to shop based on “class”. It’s a nice place, but wildly overpriced in some areas. Believe it or not, some people really DO shop there as a status symbol. I didn’t mean to cause offence - just an observation I could have perhaps worded better.

      Let’s make this less about social status. The Duchess of Cambridge regularly shopped at Tesco for instance...

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    3. My experience of Tesco and Morrison's is largely limited to holidays and visits to friends and relatives. I have found both to be more expensive than my local Waitrose which has lots of special offers (including the brands that I mentioned above) every week. Perhaps you tell us about your personal experience of those companies.

      Unfortunately, Tesco has a monopoly in many English towns and the lack of competition is reflected in its prices. The cheapest British supermarkets are Aldi, Lidl (German owned I believe). They have been growing quickly at the expense of the formerly dominant chains such as Asda (owned by Walmart), Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

      I look forward to Tesco receiving its Royal Warrant but suspect it will be a long wait.

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  19. Waitrose Duchy Stem Ginger Biscuits

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  20. Anglophile that I am, "Best British Foods" is not a headline I thought I would ever see. An enjoyable read, though. Mainly I enjoy an English pint. And I find Typhoo to be much the most flavorful among the builders teas, which I prefer to herbal or flavored.

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    1. Well old chum, you're clearly not that much of an anglophile! "Best British Foods" is not a headline I thought I would ever see"....I'm an Englishman who loves my native cuisine - plus donuts, diners, a good USA burger and NY street hotdogs -- yes, really.

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  21. Replies
    1. Sadly, HP sauce is now an American/Dutch brand. Heinz transferred production from England to the Netherlands a year after it bought the brand.

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  22. Unfortunately they closed the M&S locations in the neighboring country so I have less access. I always stocked up because they had things that are rare or nonexistent where I live.

    I like coffees and teas from Whittard, and the black tea bags from Yorkshire tea.

    -EM

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  23. Chips cooked in beef dripping covered in gravy and a flat pint of carling

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  24. Black currant and apple pie with custard Sauce, and Typhoo puts the T in Britain!

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  25. Steak and kidney pie, bangers and mash, Cheshire cheese, Ty-Phoo tea, Quality Street chocolates, and (I take a lot of guff from my family for this), Frye’s Turkish Delight candy bars. No mushy peas, please.

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  26. back bacon sarnie with brown sauce

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  27. Had to post Fenwicks: Enjoy the finest of British staples - with a little extra oomph. To extend your tea drinking well beyond breakfast time, discover brilliant blends by @NOVELTEAdrinks. From Oolong with Whisky to Earl Grey with Gin, discover your favourite brew with added spirit in store.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EA5iZWpW4AE8KXm.jpg

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  28. Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread!

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  29. Doesn't get any better than a figgy pudding at Christmas.

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  30. Fascinating, amusing list! My husband is English & it's been a fun challenge to incorporate his tastes into our daily fare. His mom gave me a British cookbook and I've learned to make decent Yorkshire puddings, really good cottage pie, and excellent roast potatoes, according to him. I have his grandmother's recipe for cheese scones, but don't often attempt them--I'm afraid it's a case of needing the "Gramma Touch"!

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    1. Does he like baked beans and tomatoes (among other things) for breakfast?

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  31. Yes, indeedy, hinted at in some comments here...the classic English breakfast. Eggs, sausage or bangers, broiled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms and the ubiquitous Heinz baked beans (not the Boston variety), unbuttered toast served in an enchanting silver toast rack, butter on the side and a little marmalade. Also nothing used to be quite as satisfying as high tea at Brown's Hotel on Albemarle Street in London. Haven't been there in years. Great question for promoting my nostalgia.

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  32. Where can Dundee cake be obtained in the USA? Can an authentic one be ordered? Does anyone love Lyle's syrup as much as I do?

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    1. World Market sells Dundee cake at Christmas time. But if you don't want to wait, here's a BBC recipe that was originally for golden syrup that I have adapted many times including this one for Dundee cake.
      1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
      1/2 cup all purpose flour
      1/4 cup granulated sugar
      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      1/2 cup currents
      1/4 cup craisins, chopped
      1/4 cup English mix(mixed peel)
      1 1/2 teaspoons brewed tea(or whisky)
      4 drops Angostura bitters
      1 heaping tablespoon black treacle
      1 large egg
      slivered almonds
      Melt butter in microwave safe small pudding basin or mini loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking soda and melted butter. Spread remaining butter in the microwave dish up the sides and place slivered almonds to cover the bottom for easy release. In a large glass measuring cup combine currents, craisins, mixed peel, brewed tea and bitters, briefly microwave to help the fruit soften and absorb some of the liquid, Add fruit mixture, treacle and egg to flour, stir. Pour into buttered microwave dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 4 minutes( in a lower power oven}. Cake will pull away from the sides of the pan if done. Let stand I minute, invert onto a plate and cool 20 minutes to slice easily.
      Mona

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  33. Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale.

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  34. Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale.

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  35. Fillers London pride in large quantity

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  36. Full fry-up (possible in the states, google "british mail order foods"), yorkshire gold tea, absolutely mcvitties, hob nobs, and digestives. On the beer side: Fuller's ESB, Fuller's London Pride, Red Speckled Hen, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Old Engine Oil, Boddingtons, and Bass. When it comes to ciders I don't do American; they're sickeningly sweet. Would recommend: Magners, Bulmers, and quite frankly, anything scrumpy! - hrplo

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  37. Cadbury "Crunchie" bars... sweet dreams of Junior year abroad...

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  38. I eat Mcvitties digestive biscuits everyday. With Typhoo decaffinated or Yorkshire gold tea. I don’t know if this counts but we only use Kerry gold butter for cooking and baking.

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  39. As a New Englander residing in London, I've managed to find myself in a rather interesting spot between American Anglophiles and their opinions on British food, and British opinions on British food.

    Unfortunately a lot of Americans (even Anglophiles) tend to consider British food to be an easy excuse for a joke - but in many ways the Brits are holding onto half decent food quality better than Americans.

    Most American food products are from highly monopolized, highly industrialized corporations constantly finding new ways to add more and more unhealthy food additives to products. Even most "junk food" in the UK has to follow fairly stringent EU food regulations (for now, anyway). If you were to compare the ingredient list for an American junk food in the US vs. the UK - let's say Oreo cookies - you'd be surprised that in the UK an Oreo is about 5 ingredients, and ones you'd recognize at that. The ingredient list for an Oreo in America on the other hand looks like the ramblings of a mad scientist (and are mostly fancy words to denote that the ingredient is some form of industrial corn byproduct).

    I must say I've been delighted with the overall quality of British food (fresh and industrial) as a result of these more stringent laws. Sure, you can get high quality local food in most places in the US - farm shares, farmer's markets come to mind, thank goodness - but even a rotisserie chicken from a supermarket in the UK TASTES like real chicken, rather than some bland chicken-looking product you'd find at a Stop & Shop in Boston.

    A side effect of the Brits being more uptight about what can be defined as "food" is that their industrial/prepared foods are on the whole often vastly superior to American industrial food in flavor and nutrition- which is great for Americans! For while I can't ship my American friends Welsh cheddar or Cornish clotted cream, I can recommend to them plenty of teas, preservatives and biscuits, regularly found in food stores in America. My favorites (in no special order) are:

    - McVities: Scottish biscuit makers best known for digestives, hobknobs, custard creams and jaffa cakes
    - Burton's Jammie Dodgers
    - Shortbread (Walker's is the go to here, but if you can ever find Reid's of Caithness shortbread in America, buy it without even the slightest hesitation, you won't be disappointed!)
    - Millionaires shortbread (sometimes called "caramel slice" in the US, but if it's called that I've often found it's a tad too sweet)
    - Colman's English mustard
    - Wilkin & sons jam
    - Heinz baked beans: I know, as a New Englander it's sacrilege to eat something that isn't a true baked bean, but there's something so delightful about having beans on toast on a dreary day
    - Maldon Salt: it has a slight briney taste to it, almost like its come from the same place as a good Damariscotta Maine oyster
    - Cadbury Milk chocolates
    - Twinings, Typhoo and Fortnum & Mason teas: I'll have to disagree with some of the comments above. Fortnum teas are a bit pricier, but my god do they have flavor. Their Earl Grey pictured above is out of this world! And while I'm quite partial to their caffeinated teas like their Afternoon Blend, my parent's swear by their English and Moroccan Mint herbal teas, which often end up taking up a 3rd of my suitcase anytime I'm traveling back across the pond.

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  40. Plymouth gin and John Courage lager

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  41. any/all
    http://cookit.e2bn.org/historycookbook/index-23-victorians.html

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  42. Haddock, chips and mushy peas - with bread and butter and a pot of tea. Steel's Corner House, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. aka 'heaven'.

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