The Olympic menu – a celebration of British food
More than 14 million meals will be served during the Olympic Games, across 40 locations – this is the largest peace time catering operation in the world. It is also a showcase of British produce and food culture. This is reflected in the ingredients used and the dishes served – from fish and chips, the staple of any seaside town to rogan josh, one of the multicultural specialities found in the ‘Curry Mile’ cities in the north of England.
For those seeking sustenance outside of the Park, and keen to sample some of Britain’s best food, fish and chips is a must. London has many ‘chippies’: The Fish Club in Clapham (two locations) serves sustainably caught, fresh fish, with a £7.50 lunch offer that’s hard to beat. There’s nothing like eating your fish at the seaside though, complete with an audience of interested seagulls. Brighton has some good options on the pier, up north in Yorkshire The Magpie Café in Whitby was named ‘the king of fish and chip cafes’ by the Good Food Guide, and Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips in Cornwall is the gourmet choice. Up in Scotland you can sit on a lobster creel at Tobermory Harbour in Mull, and watch the boats bob past as you devour.
Pie and mash is another old fashioned favourite, one that David Beckham named as a recommendation to visitors wanting a slice of the ‘real East London’. He named Tony Lane’s in Waltham Abbey as a favourite – there’s also M.Manze on Tower Bridge Road for jellied eels, and a new opening in Greenwich Town Centre, Goddard’s Pies, run by one of London’s oldest pie and mash families.
The best way to find out about British food is by visiting a farmer’s market or food festival, presenting the diverse range of what’s on offer in one place. There are markets all over Britain; one of the best is Bath, where you’ll find seasonal produce and award-winning cheeses; Bristol’s St Nicholas Market was voted in the top 10 markets in the UK, and the city has a monthly Slow Food market with some of the best sausages in the country. Borough Market in London recently announced its Olympic opening hours, which extend to seven days a week, allowing gourmands to spend more time at one of the capital’s most popular spots.
Food festivals give Brits and visitors the chance to celebrate eating, and there are hundreds throughout the year. Right now EAT! Newcastle Gateshead is taking place, with Cakebook Britain seeing the nation built out of cake(!), coming up is the quirky Garlic Festival on the Isle of Wight, and up in Scotland things get creative in Dumfries and Galloway for Flavour Fortnightwhere August sees a wild food forage in an art gallery and a menu showcasing Robert Burns’s favourite meals. Beyond the summer things get serious with Ludlow Food Festival in Shropshire, the home of Slow Food UK – and Wales’s Abergavenny , of which The Observer Food Monthly declared ‘Abergavenny is to food as Cannes is to film’
For more information on Food in Britain, including PR contacts for food festivals, see the VisitBritain guide for international media here.
**To experience British food first hand, media in London can attend a Food is GREAT event on Tuesday 31 July at 12-2pm, in the stylish Divertimenti headquarters on Brompton Road, London. Great British Produce is a demonstration class hosted by TV chef Rachel Green.**
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