Haggis, Neeps, and Tats

British Food - Not as tasteless as the rumors say

The Red Lion

 When Josh and I told friends that we were planning to take a long trip to the United Kingdom, several of them asked what I was going to think of the food. They said that it's bland, it's bready, or it's made of objectionable parts of animals - like stomachs or intestines.

Well, first of all, I did find the food to be lacking in salt. Josh thinks this criticism is due to the conversion of my palate from a nutritionist's tastes to a cook's tastes, which are typically more amenable to salt and butter. Okay, I'll give him that point with a respectful nod to the chefs who have helped me develop said palate. My aunt says there was a NHS (National Health Service) push to reduce salt at restaurants and grab-n-go foods in a unified commitment to health.  Well, maybe it's deliberately bland food?
From the NHS website

Commonly known British fare aside, there were some delightful non-British restaurants around, and we enjoyed Indian, Asian fusion, and Thai fusion food with gusto, and those weren't bland at all. (Teaser: Details in a future post)

Onto the bread-heavy food. I reveled in it. Well, I reveled in it from a distance, because I couldn't eat pastries around Josh all the time! There was a curious chain that had a pirate-logo'd pasty shops called the West Cornwall Pasty Company, and those were all over the cities we visited. I tried the steak and ale pasty, and it was reminiscent of a beef stew in an empanada, but not as flavorful as the South American versions.
From the West Cornwall Pasty Co. website

The York Food Festival we attended - purely by coincidence, I swear - had a baker that had a variety of small savory pies and pasties. In each of the cities we visited, there were amazing bakeries everywhere, and I was tempted to ruin my appetite daily whenever I walked by the shops. Sweet shops and cake shops were bountiful and always cropped up around tea time. MMMMMM.


As to the the objectionable meats being used in foods, that's just silly. There really aren't any types of meat or cuts of animal that I won't try, at least once. So, when haggis was on the menu at The Doric in Edinburgh, I definitely ordered it. I was wondering if the haggis would taste...muttony... but it was more similar to a very earthy, savory meat loaf - sorry to all my haggis lovers and high-end cooks. And the black pudding, which I tasted at a few different restaurants, was similarly meaty and not dissimilar from an ordinary sausage texture, but with a slightly different finishing mouthfeel. The first black pudding I had was in York, and it came on a Yorkshire Platter, which also had mushy peas, chips, brown gravy, fried mushrooms, and haddock.
Yorkshire Platter

So there you have it, the food in the UK isn't as bad as some feared, and I really enjoyed many of the meals and snacks we tried. Check back soon for that post!

Found at Borough Market


Like Wine? Attend a free wine tasting at Whole Foods

From our marketing friends at Whole Foods Market

Grapes of the Okanagan, launching at Whole Foods Market stores todayOctober 1. Grapes of the Okanagan is an exclusive partnership between Whole Foods and Wines of British Columbia, bringing eight hand-picked wines to the 15 stores across Oregon and Washington only. Previously, wines from this region have been very limited in the Northwest. 

The selection of wines will include:
  • St Hubertus Estate Winery, 2013 Pinot Blanc - This terrific Pinot Blanc has notes of honeyed citrus and is clean and focused. It’s that perfect cocktail wine for pairing with your favorite seafood.
  • Quails’ Gate Estate Winery2012 Pinot Noir - This Pinot Noir is grown along the slopes of Lake Okanagan. Leather and spice highlight a core of red and black fruits. Perfect for salmon and roast turkey.
  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, 2013 Pinot Gris - A full-bodied dry Pinot Gris that is a perfect appetizer wine, but is so good it shines with salmon, roast chicken, pork, and grilled veggies. 
  • Tantalus Vineyards, 2013 Riesling - This is world class Riesling impossibly balanced and with great length. Excellent with seafood, soft cheeses, sausages, and turkey dinner.
  • Nk’Mip Cellar, 2012 Merlot - This is full-bodied Merlot. Hints of smoky oak, baking spice and ripe red and black fruit are sure to delight. Enjoy with firm cheeses, steaks and roasts.
  • Meyer Family Vineyards, 2012 Chardonnay - This Chardonnay will have you wondering if it's Burgundy, Santa Barbara, or Oregon. 
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, 2011 Cabernet Franc - An earthy essence balances ripe fruit in this full-bodied wine.
  • Black Hills Estate Winery, 2012 Nota Bene - A rich and bold frame supports this Bordeaux-style red. Perfect with steak or roasts. 
To celebrate the release, some Washington stores will be hosting free tastings this week and weekend. Here's the schedule of events:

Thursday, Oct 2 from 3–5pm
Friday, Oct 3 from 3-5pm
Saturday, Oct 4 from 3-5pm

Thursday, Oct 2 from 3–6pm
Friday, Oct 3 from 3-6pm
Saturday, Oct 4 from 3-6pm

WESTLAKE (South Lake Union)
Thursday, Oct 2 from 4–6pm
Friday, Oct 3 from 4-6pm
Saturday, Oct 4 from 4-6pm

Thursday, Oct 2 from 3–6pm
Friday, Oct 3 from 3-6pm
Saturday, Oct 4 from 3-6pm

Thursday, Oct 2 from 3–6pm
Friday, Oct 3 from 3-6pm
Saturday, Oct 4 from 3-6pm

Thursday, Oct 2 from 3–6pm
Friday, Oct 3 from 3-6pm
Saturday, Oct 4 from 3-6pm