The Olympic Menu – A Celebration of British Food

Wednesday 01 August 2012

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’

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Ludlow Food Festival cider
EAT! Food Festival, Newcastle Gateshead: The Cakebook Britain. Credit Sally Ann Norman