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British Isles Food and Drink

UK restaurants offer a wide diversity of cuisine from all over the world but why not try some local dishes during your stay. Traditional British food usually involves good plain cooking with fresh local ingredients and is often found in pubs or in restaurants which offer lighter versions of old favourites. Roast beef served with Yorkshire pudding or local specialities such as Lincolnshire or Cumberlandporksausages can be found on most menus. In the North Black Pudding made with offal is popular and lamb and chicken dishes feature on many menus along with hearty meat pies and homemade soups. Meals are usually served with chips, mash, boiled or roast potatoes and a good selection of vegetables. Whitbyon the east coast is famous for its crabs and the southeast coast is renowned for its mussels, whelks, cockles and jellied eels. In Britain you are never far from a fish and chip shop selling battered cod or haddock with chips sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Traditional puddings include fruit crumbles, apple pie or sponge pudding usually served with custard. Afternoon tea is still popular and you will find a good selection of cakes, scones, jam and cream and sandwiches on a teashop menu. Cheese is a great regional speciality; look out for different varieties at delicatessens and farmers markets.
 
There are some excellent award winning white English wines such as those produced by Three Choirs in Gloucestershire and Wickham in Hampshire. A good selection of real ales is served in many pubs; look out for local micro-breweries. Mild such as Banks’, Holdens and Highgate is most often found in the Midlands. Pale ales are more popular and Timothy Taylor, Adnams, Shepherd Neame and Marston’s have good examples. Cider is still a favourite particularly in the southwest of England like Thatcher’s in Somerset.
 
In Scotland look out for traditional foods such as haggis (spiced sheep’s innards and seasoning) usually served with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (mashed turnip). Venison and grouse dishes are popular as are stovies, a mix of potatoes, onion and beef cooked in dripping. Scotch broth ismade from mutton or beef stock, pearl barley, carrots and leeks while Cock-a-leekie soup is made from chicken, rice, leeks and prunes cooked in chicken stock. Smoked fish dishes such as kippers, salmon and Arbroath smokies (smoked haddock) can often be found. Finally, look out for a delicious chowder like dish called Cullen skink made from smoked haddock, mashed potato and milk. Scotland is also famous for its numerous whisky distilleries and a few beers too, like Deuchars and Caledonian.
 
Traditional dishes in Wales include Welsh lamb hot pot and cawl (meat stew with potatoes and vegetables). Fish is popular and other dishes such as Welsh rarebit (melted cheese on toast) and laver bread made from oatmeal and seaweed. There are plenty of local cheeses to sample such as Caerphilly and Pencarreg. Try Bara brith, a type of tea loaf and Welsh cakes, flat scones cooked on a griddle. Look out for eating establishments belonging to the Taste of Wales (Blas y Cymru) usually a sign of good food and finally some beers to try, Brains or Felinfoel.
 
In Northern Ireland try local cheeses, oysters and Guinness, Irish stew and drisheen (Black pudding). Look out for soda bread, Barm brak (tea loaf) and potato bread and finish the evening with an Old Bushmills whiskey.
 
If visiting the Channel Islands then you will find plenty of fresh fish, local dairy products and fresh seasonal produce on the menu. Look out for delicious home grown produce known as hedge veg sold by the roadside throughout the islands. Enjoy!

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Chris Archer Mason, EzineArticles.com Basic Author