Photo of Ye Old Pork Pie Shop, Melton, by the Melton Times, courtesy Love British Food
Yesterday marked the start of British Food Fortnight and this year’s event is the biggest national celebration of British Food anywhere. Everyone from The Royal Family, Downing Street, Harrods and even St Paul’s Cathedral and St Pancras Station are getting involved, not to mention lots of universities, schools, restaurants, pubs, and shops. During this tenth anniversary year, thousands of activities are taking place across the country, with food and drink festivals, special menus in pubs and restaurants, promotions and events right up until 2nd October.
Photo of Paxton and Whitfield by the Stratford Herald courtesy Love British Food
Since it’s inception in 2001, British Food Fortnight has gone from strength to strength, helping to inform and educate about England’s seasonal and regionally distinct produce as well as highlighting the health benefits of local, seasonal food. The organisers aim to encourage a renaissance in the pleasures of preparing and eating regional food and drink.
Commenting on the event’s 10th Anniversary, organiser Alexia Robinson says: “British Food Fortnight started when the countryside was in the grip of Foot and Mouth. With the support of just a few vicars around the country, the aim was to reinvigorate Harvest Festival – the idea of everyone coming together to celebrate the produce of our land; and to make us more like the French and the Italians whose love of their regional foods is ingrained in their national consciousness. Ten years on it is the biggest, and only, food umbrella uniting everyone in the country.
Alexia continues: “This year’s event takes place amidst dire economic forecasts. There is a real danger that British food will drop off menus to be replaced by cheaper imports offering higher margins and price promotions will make British food less competitive on shop shelves. Pennies are tight but as we look ahead to the patriotism of next year with the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics, we call on everyone to fly the Union Jack for Britain on your plates as well as on your bunting! Come on Britain, remember British is best!”
Want to know more?
Visit the Love British Food website. It’s a fantastic source of information and includes everything from where to buy British produce to resources for teachers and lots of great British recipes. For those of us who live in England, there are 14 Things You Can Do to get involved during the fortnight. You can even start to plan ahead for the 2012 British Food Fortnight, which will take place during the Olympics, showcasing the best of British produce for the eyes of the whole world to see.
Can’t be here to celebrate with us?
Photo of pupils from The Friary School by Allan Williamson, Lichfield Mercury, courtesy Love British Food
Check out Love Britain’s great selection of recipes as well as the British recipes on the BBC Good Food website. You can also check my own home cooked versions of British classics here on The 21st Century Housewife – from my Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers and Mash to my Nana-in-Law’s Traditional Victorian Christmas Pudding. Delicious Magazine online also has a section devoted entirely to British recipes.
British food has come a long way in the last few years – in addition to well-loved traditional classics, British cuisine now offers a more modern style of cookery that includes influences from around the world. No matter where you live, you can celebrate British Food Fortnight, and if you do live here in England, there are lots of opportunities to fly the flag and enjoy the wonderfully abundant food resources our sceptered isle offers. Britain has a food heritage to be proud of and British Food Fortnight is the perfect opportunity to celebrate it!