The origins of shortbread in Scotland can be traced back to the 12th centur, with the refinement of shortbread to closer to its contemporary flavour popularly credited to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century.
Although other nationalities have various cookies, pastries and cakes to their credit, no one in the world seems to have such a wide range of mass-produced biscuits as the British. One of the most enduring is the custard cream, handed down to us from 1908.
Vineyards are becoming an increasingly common sight in the countryside of southeast England, and British wine has come a long way in recent years, winning numerous international accolades and tempting even the most discerning of drinkers.
The recipe for HP Sauce, one of Britain’s favourite condiments, was developed by Nottingham Grocer Frederick Gibson Garton. He created the sauce in his pickling factory at the back of 47 Sandon Street in Basford in 1896.
Once known as the Dripping Pudding, the Yorkshire pudding is a popular side dish in England, often served with a Sunday roast. It is a baked pudding made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk or water, heated strongly to rise and obtain a light texture. It has featured in a list of 'ten things people love about Britain'.
Despite its foreign-sounding name, Battenberg is a traditional English type of cake, and relatively recent in origin. It was first named and described in a bakery and confectionary publication, published in 1898. Distinctive for its check pattern alternately coloured pink and yellow when cut through, these patterns when used on emergency vehicles in the UK are officially referred to as Battenburg markings because of their resemblance to the cake.
English cuisine is rich in culinary delicacies with strange names. Bubble and squeak. Pigs in blankets. Angels on horseback. Yorkshire pudding. Toad in the hole, also known as Sausage Toad, is a traditional English dish, comprising sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, often served with onion gravy.
When people are asked to name the most typical British meal, the answer is often fish and chips. It is believed that the tradition in the UK of fish battered and fried in oil, served with similarly cooked potatoes, may actually have been brought by immigrants. It is estimated there are 10,500 specialist fish and chip shops in the UK, selling 382 million meals every year, and earning a staggering £1.2 billion.
Stilton is one of the world’s best known cheeses. However, there is some dispute over its history, with European and English law insisting that true stilton can only be made in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, despite it being named after a village in Cambridgeshire.
Cheshire cheese is one of the oldest recorded named cheeses in British history: it is first mentioned, along with a Shropshire cheese, by Thomas Muffet in his book "Health's Improvement" (c. 1580). It has been said that the cheese is mentioned in the Domesday Book, but this is sadly not true!