From top-notch local produce to an incredible array of global cuisines, there's plenty in Britain to please a foodie visitor. Belgian food photographer and author, Regula Ysewijn – known on her blog as Miss Foodwise, tells us what she loves most about eating in Britain.
Tell us about your first experience of British food?
It was when we started travelling to Britain as a family, when I was 8 or 9. It was a whole new world of food. Back in Belgium we didn't have Indian food, for example, so trying that first chicken curry with poppadums and mango chutney was a revelation in flavour.
What do you think is unique about British food?
British food is fusion by nature, but still it has a clear identity. The honesty of the food is what I think defines it - Britain has outstanding produce.
Have you noticed anything that stands out about British eating and drinking habits?
The need for tea, for instance - there is a constant need for tea at any given occasion! Someone always asks if you would like a 'cuppa', and everyone partakes in the ritual. It doesn't matter if you're an accountant, artist or builder - everyone stops for tea. [For an affordable afternoon tea experience, try Lutyen's Lounge, London.]
What’s your favourite foodie destination in Britain?
I don't want to sound obvious, but London is definitely the foodie destination because of its diversity. It’s something we don't have in Belgium. I also like Bakewell in the Peak District for its Bakewell pudding, and I love eating crab sandwiches on the quay in Boscastle, Cornwall.
What’s the most underrated British dish?
Pies and puddings, they are both versatile and wholesome. I dived into the history of the British pudding and discovered such a rich and intriguing history that I spent 2 years writing a book about it. The result is Pride and Pudding: The History of British Puddings, Savoury and Sweet, which will be published by Murdoch Books on 7 April 2016.
What’s your favourite meal of the day here?
The iconic English breakfast. My husband and I have a favourite - in the B&B we have stayed in for many years in Rye, East Sussex. [The couple love the pretty town so much they even got married in the Town Hall.] Yvonne, the landlady, is the master of the ‘fry up’. She uses eggs from next door’s honesty box, bacon and sausages from the local farm shop and vegetables from her garden. Often people have a final slice of toast with marmalade afterwards, a bit like a breakfast dessert. How can you not be fond of that?