Saturday, August 8, 2015

British Taste Treats

These days, the stereotype of "bad food in Britain" is woefully dated. Britain has been on the leading edge of the foodie revolution, and I find it's easy to eat very well here. Here are some examples of the foods I've enjoyed in my British travels.

British breakfast plate

One of the joys of traveling in Britain is enjoying breakfast at each B&B. Your hosts pride themselves on having a long list of classic "English fry-up breakfast" elements for their guests to check off: fried toast, blood sausage, porridge, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, grapefruit sections, Weetabix, and so on.

Toast rack

For me, one breakfast-time frustration is cold and crunchy toast with butter that's not melted, but scraped across the top. The toast ("white or granary?" is the cheery question you get each morning) comes in a rack designed so it gets cold long before it meets your butter.

Cornish cheese and fish plate

Pub grub is fun, but after the heavy breakfasts and lots of meat pies and fish-and-chips, finding a restaurant that raises the gastronomic bar is a welcome change. And these days, even the simplest town has a little foodie place where you can get well-presented "mains" featuring local and seasonal produce. This delightful plate of Cornish cheese and local fish was good enough to earn this just-opened restaurant a place in the new edition of my guidebook.

Rick Steves with Rick Stein book

One of England's most famous celebrity chefs is Rick Stein. His base is the Cornish fishing port of Padstow, where he runs a cooking school and a variety of Rick Stein restaurants. His flagship restaurant in Padstow is named, simply, Seafood Restaurant. I took time for a drawn-out, three-course lunch here...and loved it. I needed to give this Rick Stein a serious taste, because for the last several years in England, when I mention my book, people say "Oh, Rick Stein...he's very good." Now I better understand who people are confusing me with...and I'm OK with it.

Market café

It's fun to be on the road grabbing photos to illustrate points I make in my lectures. For example: "In the market, characteristic little cafés that cater to local shoppers provide both a great value and a charming memory."


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