Delectable Cornish seafood, award-winning Kentish sparkling wines, succulent Welsh lamb, peaty Scotch whisky – your local food scene is positively bursting with delicious life, and British Food Fortnight agrees!
British Food Fortnight, from September 21 to October 6, is the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink, sponsored by the Co-Op in association with Love British Food.
It aims to encourage us to eat more local, seasonal food – and that’s great advice for so many good reasons. For example, it’s kinder to the planet. British food travels much shorter distances from farm to shop to customer so creating minimum ‘food miles’ and supporting local suppliers at the same time.
Eating British fruit and veg in season is better for you, too. Foods in season contain the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need at particular times of the year. Look out for English plums, marrow and squashes, which are in-season during British Food Fortnight and form the basis of delicious autumnal meals.
When it comes to meat, our farmers produce theirs to some of the highest welfare standards in the world: no growth-promoting hormones are allowed and any antibiotics are administered only under veterinary direction. Britain's cattle passport system means that each animal can be uniquely traced to its dam and place of birth. Breeding livestock and genetics from our native breeds are much sought after by farmers in other countries.
Just one example of the innovation in our food and farming community comes from Roger and Tanya Oliver. In 2006, they set up the first commercial free range duck farm in Cornwall. Their ‘hatch to dispatch’ system, with everything done on farm, ensures there is minimal stress to the ducks. Tanya has created the unique ‘Terras Duck’ breed with a fabulous ‘umami’ flavour. The products range from whole duck to duck burgers and eggs, with many receiving top awards country wide; most recently three stars from The Great Taste Awards for the Terras Farm smoked duck breast. They are planning to further develop their ready to eat products to offer pate, liver parfait and confit to name but a few.
There are aesthetic reasons for supporting our farming community. Buying local helps to keep the British countryside the way we want it to look: if there were no sheep, or cows, or fruit, or vegetables, there’d be no countryside! Buying local food also means you will be supporting the economy – everyone from the farmer, to those who work in food processing and the retailers selling the food.
British Food Fortnight has enlisted several ‘ambassadors’ to broaden the reach of the campaign including Minette Batters, the new President of the National Union of Farmers; Environmental activist and champion paddle boarder, Lizzie Carr, the founder of Plastic Patrol, a global movement to get rid of plastic pollution; and
Raymond Blanc OBE who is acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. At a time when climate change is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it can only be a good thing to have such luminaries of the food and environmental worlds championing home-grown produce.
At Middle Temple, we strive to always use local ingredients and suppliers where possible, as well as sustainably sourced foods. We work with only the best of the best, and are confident that our menu delivers delicious, in-season dishes with top-class British ingredients.
So, what are you waiting for? There’s so much wonderful food in our local shops right now, and indeed throughout the year, so let’s put our support firmly behind our farmers, producers and retailers, and get munching on British food!