British Food Fortnight: iconic regional dishes

The Staff Canteen
Credit to Great Food Club Part two of our look at Britain’s best foods is more specific; we’re looking at iconic regional dishes. For such a small island, we’ve got an incredible range of cuisine. From haggis and hotpots to pies and pasties, there’s a taste sensation for everyone in some corner of Britain.  

Cornish Pasties

The Cornish pasty is instantly recognisable; D-shaped, crimped along one side and golden brown in colour.Cornish pasty - credit to The Telegraph After years of poor imitations besmirching the good name of the authentic product, the Cornish Pasty Association stepped up to the plate to help defend the reputation of the humble baked pastry. In a bid to protect the authenticity of the Cornish Pasty, the Association applied to the EU for Protected Geographical Indication, the same status given to Champagne, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Camembert cheese. After a successful application, the methods and ingredients used in the loving construction of the Cornish pasty effectively became trademarked; your pasty has to be made in Cornwall to identify as Cornish, otherwise it’s just an imitation. (Protected Geographical status allows for the promotion of regional food produce and protects their status as belonging to a specific region.)  

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie – credit to The Guardian An icon hailing from Leicestershire, with certified protected designation of origin from the EU. Not something that can be said for everyone’s favourite snack! The humble little pie helps to fill empty bellies and could put a smile on Simon Cowell’s face. Just like the Cornish pasty, the Melton Mowbray pork pie is as honest as the day is long. Downright brilliant, the simplicity of the recipe is testament to its authenticity; and the commitment to protecting its authenticity is a huge step in helping to promote the wider initiative in recognising the importance of regional foods. Grab yourself a slice of Leicestershire this British Food Fortnight and see what the real deal is all about.  

Devonshire cream tea & the humble scone

Have you ever seen anything so quintessentially English? Scones, jam and creamNo one quite knows where this phenomenon originated – Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall have all made claims to being the home of cream tea and scones. A cute and dainty little cake, the scone should be as fresh as possible – ideally fresh out of the oven – when served alongside a pot of tea with clotted cream and strawberry jam. And make sure you don’t upset anybody – jam first, then cream, according to Dorset. Or clotted cream first, if you’re from Devon. Or butter, then jam, then cream if you’re from Cornwall. Or is butter and cream too decadent? In May 2010, a bid was made to attain Protected Designation of Origin status (similar to PGI status) for Devon cream tea, but as yet has not been added to the list of protected produce.


Haggis, ‘neeps and tatties - Credit to Macbeths ButcherIt’s offal that’s far from awful. A classic dish in Scotland, Haggis is a weird yet wonderful dish that packs a powerful punch when it comes to the flavour. It’s one of those things that becomes so much more than the sum of its parts; not unlike the Scottish national football team. A popular dish in Scotland and across the world where the Scottish diaspora have laid roots, haggis is as Scottish as the Proclaimers, though the dish may have originated in Lancashire. As with almost anything in Scotland, you can get a battered version. Scotland_Haggis - Photographer ZoonabarHaggis is traditionally served on Burn’s Night in Scotland, which falls on the 25th of January, the birthday of the prolific Scots poet, Robert Burns, who is considered a pioneer of the Romantic Movement. This commemorative celebration of the poet’s life is also a celebration of Scottish identity, as Burns is a cultural icon for Scots the world over. Best served piping hot alongside ‘neeps and tatties (that’s turnips and potatoes), with a dram of Scotch whisky to wash it down, and a healthy helping of Burn’s poetry. Even if you don’t feel like eating haggis, you can always enter the Haggis Hurling competition, which involves throwing your haggis as far as possible. The current record was achieved by Lorne Coltart in 2011, and stands at an epic 217ft, which beat Alan Pettigrew’s record of 180ft 10in, set in 1984.  

Lancashire hot pot

Lancashire hotpot with the traditional side of pickled red cabbage – credit to The Guardian It doesn’t get much more soothing than this winter warmer. The Lancashire Hotpot has its roots in the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century. A simple, slow cooked stew of meat, vegetables and potatoes, the Lancashire hotpot is a real icon of British soul food. Warm, hearty, and full of character. It is such a popular dish that a band from Merseyside have pinched the name - The Lancashire Hotpots are a comedy folk band who have a small cult following in the UK, and have released a handful of albums and singles. Just like Devonshire cream tea, campaigners have come together in an attempt to get the hot pot recognised as a dish with Protected Geographical Indication; as yet, PGI status has not been awarded. Words by Conor McCardle With British Food Fortnight running from 21st September till the 6th October, we can really see just how excellent British produce is; farmers’ markets are a great place to see some of the freshest local and regional produce that is available throughout the coming season. Read about some of our iconic cuisine here - Did you know that every year in Britain, we get through 382 million portions of fish and chips?
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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st October 2014

British Food Fortnight: iconic regional dishes