British Food Fortnight: iconic dishes

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2014
British Food Fortnight is a celebration of all things British when it comes to food! It was established in 2002 as a flagship event to bring together the individual food projects and initiatives for producers to showcase their goods. The fortnight aims to showcase seasonal, fresh and regionally distinct produce to the public. British Food Fortnight coincides with the Harvest festival to emphasise the proliferation of foods available at this time of year. As part of this celebration, we have a look at some of Britain’s finest produce and best exports.  

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips   Fish and Chips is a firm favourite for millions across Britain. 1 in 4 British potatoes sacrifice themselves to become chips every year - that’s about 1.25 million tonnes of potatoes per year! Every year in Britain, we get through 382 million portions of fish and chips.  


Originally grown in the Peruvian Andes 6000 years ago, potatoes were brought to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in 1536 and were being grown in England by 1597. 2008 was officially designated as the International Year of the Potato by the UN! PotatoesThe UK is the 11th largest potato producing country in the world, and we eat, on average, 94kg of potatoes per person, per year. In 2014, 119,900 hectares of land were used for planting and growing potatoes – that’s 1,000,000,000m2 - for perspective, the pitch at Wembley Stadium is 7140m2. If only potato growing was a national sport… How do you like yours? Mashed, baked, roasted, sautéed? Chunky chips or thin fries? With over 80 varieties of potato grown in the UK, there’s no shortage of choice. We love a good potato, we do.


Gin and tonic Single or double, ice and slice – lemon, lime, or even cucumber, if you’re feeling extra posh. And was it Slimline tonic? On a hot summers day there’s simply nothing like a refreshing G&T to help you bubble up after work. Schweppes has held a Royal Warrant since 1836, so you know where to get your tonic water from. If it’s good enough for the Queen, it must be alright.    


Cup of tea - Credit to The GuardianAhhhh. Nothing says British like a cup of tea. Nowhere does it quite like us. The elixir of life, it soothes the soul of every one caught in an unexpected downpour and it helps builders to solve pernickety problems. A 2009 study even showed that a cup of tea helps to reduce stress. Stick the kettle on. George Orwell, the author of 1984, penned a guide to making the perfect cuppa, called A Nice Cup of Tea, published in the Evening Standard in 1946. Check out for an ever-running count of the number of cups of tea consumed in England per day!  


There’s Red Leicester and Double Gloucester, Caerphilly and Wensleydale, British Camembert and Brie, Cheddar and Shropshire blue...the list goes on! We’re a nation of cheese lovers and our enthusiasm is matched only by our quirkiness. Each year at Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester, the cheese rolling competition takes place. This involves competitors chasing a wheel of cheese down the hill – the first person over the finishing line after the cheese wins the wheel!  

Full English Breakfasts

English breakfast   Needs no introduction. This dish is so popular that you’ll find it in Amsterdam and Barcelona, and almost any other holiday destination where the English have seen a gap in the market. The Full English is so popular there’s a petition to put a national day in the calendar! If you feel like this is a worthy cause, sign the petition over at  

Sunday Lunch

Roast chicken credit to the BBC   The crackling’s cracking, the Yorkshires are crisp and the potatoes are fluffy. Get the gravy over here. A staple of Sunday lunchtime. What’s your favourite?        


Pimms - credit to The Telegraph The epitome of sophistication on a summer afternoon, Pimms No.1 oozes class so you don’t have to. Have it long with lemonade and the traditional garnish of orange, mint and cucumber. Or have it in winter with the No.3 variety. Have it whenever you want, old chap.    

Strawberries and creamStrawberries & Cream

Strawberries and cream has become synonymous with hot summer days at Wimbledon – so much so that, on average, 28000 kg of them are sold each year at the tournament, along with almost 7000 litres of cream! You can read our interview with the Executive Chef of Wimbledon, Gary Parsons, here. By Conor McArdle   Have we missed anything quintessentially British that deserves a place on this list? Did your favourite food feature or have we forgotten about it? Leave a comment or tweet us at @CanteenTweets and let us know what you think!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2014

British Food Fortnight: iconic dishes