Sooo, I went to London in 2010. It was my first ever trip to England but for some reason we only did research on what to see rather than foods to try resulting in the fact that I, before going this time around, had never really tried any traditional English/British foods before. Neither sweet nor savory. Mr English and I quickly agreed that that was about to change, so with a
lot bit of help from him and his friends I ended up trying A LOT of British foods, both sweet and savory. When it England… right? Might as well.
PREJUDICE: BRITISH FOOD IS BAD
I cannot remember in which order I tried everything but can I just quickly debunk a myth? Their food is not bad! In fact, I quite like it and being incredibly picky that’s saying something. Fun fact: I’m now addicted to scones. Not sure something more English even exists – except for tea perhaps.
First time I had scones was in Denstone Hall, a small restaurant with a shop attached to it. We were on a date, actually, celebrating Mr English’s birthday and the fact that we’ve been together for 2 years. Anyway, I wanted to try Afternoon Tea, so we did, and they come with scones. Now, traditional English scones come with clotted cream and strawberry jam although I guess the type of jam can vary but as far as I know strawberry jam is the traditional way to do proper scones. I watched Mr English do his scones before I did mine to see how it was done, but in my mind having a layer of clotted cream and jam on top is the most practical way of doing it. However in Cornwall they insist on doing it the other way around: jam with clotted cream on top. Apparently, it’s kind of an old feud (or something like that) between the Cornish and Devon about which order is the most correct. Considering myself a very impartial party it would seem that when it comes to scones I am team Devon. If you’ve never tried scones or clotted cream before I will say that scones tastes like home made buns if you have made them with yeast and added more sugar than usual. Clotted cream tastes exactly like whipped cream, the texture is just more firm like soft butter. If you’ve never tried scones before and have the opportunity to here’s my secret to perfect scones: a thick layer of clotted cream and a little bit of jam. Otherwise it will drown out the subtle taste of the cream and end up tasting like a bun with jam.
I just want to add that we do have scones in Denmark but they are different; almost tastes like they have marzipan in them or something. Also, I later found out that you can get clotted cream from a special online store as well but it is really expensive and I tend to put on a lot of clotted cream, soo…
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING
I guess we might as well get all of my favourites out of the way. For the blissfully ignorant: pudding is British for dessert. I will probably never use the word pudding instead of dessert but Sticky Toffee Dessert sounds stupid so I’ll make an exception. Joking aside I’m not quite sure what I’d expected. I knew it was caramel and tons of it which is why I was 99,9% sure I would love it. Somehow it never crossed my mind that it would be warm cake with toffee sauce. But that’s exactly what I got at The Tudor of Lichfield – a restaurant in, surprise!, Lichfield. It. Tastes. SO. GOOD! Less addictive than scones, though, which is weird. Anyway, the peculiar thing with Sticky Toffee Pudding is that it has a tendency of tasting better when it is bought at the store and heated in the oven. How crazy is that? I officially tried it 3 times, once in a restaurant and twice from the supermarket and the restaurant falls short. Don’t get me wrong, it was still really good, but not like cake from heaven like the store bought ones (especially the last one, yum!) Never in my life have I ever tried a cake that tasted better when bought in a supermarket than what was served at a restaurant.
I just feel the need to add that would you please stop pouring cream on top of it? It’s weird! If you have to add anything some vanilla icecream is more suitable. Just a personal opinion… of which I am right. Sorry
Surprisingly it makes it onto my list of favourites. Mr English didn’t think I’d like it at all and I didn’t know what to expect. We don’t really have food pies in Denmark, only dessert pies. Yeah yeah, laugh all you want, but that’s how I distinguish between savory and sweet pies. In Denmark we do quiches and occational you will see an apple pie, but not savory pies, and with it not being a thing in Denmark I wanted to try. Verdict: pork pies are good! I tried traditional, with cheese, and apple. The cheese one tasted like sheep’s wool, I’m still undecided on the apple (even though I ate the whole thing so clearly I don’t hate it); the traditional is the winner. I didn’t expect it to be cold but I actually prefer it. I remember saying to Mr English that it would be perfect for lunch and he replied that that was exactly what people had it for back in the day. I love it when food makes sense and if I could I would definitely have it for lunch once in a while. It’s very salty, though, so be careful if you have high cholesterol.
Yorkshire Pudding is not a pudding but can be made as a pudding if you so wish. Confused? Welcome to my world. So Yorkshire Pudding is a savory food but Mr English told me that it could also be filled with fruit, ice cream, whipped cream or things like that but most people fill it with savory things. I would decribe it as a little bowl made out of what resembles pancake dough (without vanilla). What I didn’t know is that you then fill it with stuff. For some reason I thought it would be more like Pork Pie. Not initially, obviously, since it has the word pudding in it which logically made me think that it was a dessert. Anyway, it tastes a bit meh to me; neither good nor bad. Personally I would definitely add vanilla to the dough and fill it with ice cream and caramel sauce. Some would probably call me a heathen but when I have a bowl made out of pancake then that is what I want to do. Mixing a kind of sweet dough with something savory doesn’t do anything for my palette. That’s just the way it is. Also, you need someone to shake things up once in a while, eh? *wink wink*
Now Staffordshire Oatcakes are different. Granted, I only tried one, and it was for breakfast – no, just no! – but it tasted decent. Weirdly enough, while Yorkshire Pudding tastes like pancake, the oatcake looks like one, It’s basically a warm pancake roll with filling but without the taste of pancake. I had it with sausage and cheese and I’m not a big sausage fan so I feel that that had something to do with my experience but overall they’re fine. Just not for breakfast! What are you people thinking? It’s clearly a lunch thing, tut.
When in Bakewell you simply have to try their famous Bakewell Pudding for no other reason that it just seems right. Probably the most meh thing I tried on my trip. Not bad but not good either. I’m still not quite sure what it is or how to describe it but it is served with custard. I’ve never had custard like that before. The way Danes use it is to make it, put it in the fridge so it thickens and then slap it in between the layers of a lagkage. However with this it has the consistency like cream, basically, but hot. All hot and runny. I’m not a fan. I’m happy I tried it but I won’t be sad if I never have it again. Note to self: next time, stick to Bakewell Tart.
KEEP CALM AND EAT SWEETS
Moving on from savory foods and desserts to sweets o’ plenty. Being a sucker for candy and chocolate myself I actually expected to be overwhelmed with awesomeness from the vast array of the best sweets England had to offer. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am disappointed but… You know what? Yes I would! I am disappointed in you, England! How could you fail me so? Thank God you have scones!
MONTY BOJANGLES TRUFFLES AND CADBURY CHOCOLATE
Ah, the truffles! You could never disappoint me! I guess I shouldn’t be so disappointed because the Monty Bojangles truffles alone makes up for any other crap you, England, throw my way. I am not religious but oh dear sweet heaven it tastes good! Good thing we don’t – as far as I know – have them in Denmark because it would be just like my relationship with nutella: only allowing myself the treat once a year to spare my health but once I have it I eat until there is no more. A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D.
Moving on to Cadbury chocolate. Of this I had heard many a lovely thing but I remained sceptical because it was mostly from Americans and truth be told that doesn’t say much. Chocolate from the US is aweful so it stands to reason that what we consider normal chocolate in Nothern Europe (and perhaps also in Southern Europe, I’m not sure) would be like heaven to them due to the quality. Sticking to classic chocolate I tried the Dairy Milk chocolate bar. I had been right to stay sceptical. It tastes like Marabou milk chocolate. Not exactly the same taste but definitely the same quality. Nothing new under the sun. I also tried a Twirl bar and another one that was basically the same as the Twirl. I didn’t really like the consistency of those. What you buy is chocolate with air and it almost turns to dust in your mouth. No thank you. Later I also tried Cadbury Creme Eggs; not a huge fan. It’s a chocolate shell, like a Kinder Surprise, and has a very sweet sugar filling. I thought the filling tasted of something but it doesn’t. It’s pure sugar and due to the size of the egg it quickly becomes sickly sweet. If I were to re-create them I would make them half the size and add some flavour to the filling. Like raspberry, strawberry or something along those lines.
Mr English’s friends had been so kind as to buy sweets for 1000 people – or to last them 1 whole year; there was A LOT! (Thank you guys! Not a dry eye in the house) – but I must admit that I wasn’t impressed.
I tried Party Rings that absolutely looks like a freaking party – honestly they look amazing – but unfortunately don’t taste like it. It’s just a round sugary biscuit with a hole in the middle. What makes them pretty is the icing on top and it is frankly the best thing about them. Why not make them taste of something? The pink one of raspberry, the yellow of lemon etc. It would really elevate them. Just saying.
I tried Tunnock’s Milk Chocolate Tea Cakes which, if you’re from Denmark, is basically a bigger and less delicate version of flødeboller. I also tried Jelly Babies which are fine in taste but awful in texture.
In the chips department (and if you’re British: crisps) I tried Niknaks, Wotsits and Pombears. The Pombears are fine. They taste like the Danish Skruer and are shaped like bears; cool. Wotsits, however, may look exactly like the Danish Ostepops (cheese pops) but with an awful taste. They don’t even taste of cheese which weirds me out. Niknaks are fine I guess. They definitely taste of something familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on its Danish equivalent. Perhaps if I had been a chips person… Oh well.
You did it! You made it to the end! If you live outside Britian and you want to visit feel free to use my list of foods and sweets as inspiration. British cuisine is more than just Fish ‘n’ Chips, trust me! If you are British I suspect you’re feeling pretty annoyed by now and probably don’t agree with me at all but you know what? I’m fine with that. In fact: if you are British and I haven’t tried your favourite snack yet feel free to throw a comment down below and I will try to get it on my next trip to England.
Have you tried any of the foods or sweets listed above?
If so what is your opinion of them?
Any other snacks you think I should try?