RECKON the French lead the world in terms of cheese and wine? Suppose once more.
A British-made Brie known as Baron Bigot has been voted greatest within the UK, with critics shocked it was not from France.
In the meantime Cotswolds-based winery Woodchester Valley’s Sauvignon Blanc was awarded greatest on the planet in a blind style check.
Cheesemaker and meals lover Alex James tried them each – in addition to different main British food and drinks manufacturers which have taken inspiration from journeys abroad.
And his conclusion?
We Brits do it greatest.
Woodchester Valley Sauvignon Blanc, £21.95
THIS Gloucestershire wine scooped a high gong final week on the World Sauvignon Blanc Masters Awards and has been making headlines ever since – a lot so it’s grow to be fairly tough to pay money for and is promoting out in all places.
There’s now even a ready record on Woodchester Valley’s web site. Pale gold, like January daylight, it’s got so much to say for itself – you may scent it at arm’s size!
I spent ages sniffing away at its gooseberry fanfare however that also didn’t put together me for the style – an enormous swash of lemony sharpness, with only a trace of sweetness.
This is able to sit properly on a tasting menu at any restaurant however would maybe be greatest loved with recent fish and chips on the seaside.
Cobble Lane Cured charcuterie, £35 for signature choice field
UNTIL not too long ago cured pork charcuterie was exhausting to return by round right here, whereas everybody was tucking into the stuff throughout the Channel in France, Spain and Italy.
We don’t have the local weather that continental Europe enjoys to dry remedy meats, however with curing cupboards and climate-controlled fermenting fridges turning into cheaper and fewer tough to pay money for lately, it’s simpler for small companies to get going.
I’ve but to discover a dry cured ham nearly as good as a Spanish Iberico however Cobble Lane’s Bresaola is up there with any I’ve tasted.
And the London-based firm’s salamis and chorizos would maintain their very own with any of their continental counterparts.
The Yorkshire Pasta Firm, £17.96 for 5 luggage
HOT, buttered pasta is likely one of the all-time nice consolation meals – and a staple of my kitchen because the children have been in nappies. I nonetheless prepare dinner pasta a minimum of as soon as every week, even now they’re youngsters.
I’ve at all times caught to the Italian manufacturers and by no means actually shopped round, as there’s little question they ship nice style at a extremely good worth,
Nonetheless, I’ve to say this deal with from The Yorkshire Pasta Firm blew my thoughts – I believe it’s the feel that provides it the sting.
Made utilizing flour milled in Yorkshire – and little or no else apart from water – it’s a triumph of simplicity. Douze Factors!
Harrow And Hope glowing wine, £32
DESPITE the title, it’s thought that champagne might have been invented in Britain earlier than it was ever made in France.
We had higher glass that would face up to the strain of the gasoline produced by the secondary fermentation within the bottle that provides glowing wine its fizz – and the chalky, rock outcrops, the place champagne vines are historically grown, additionally pop up throughout the south coast of England.
There are actually many little vineyards producing wonderful glowing English wine, however Harrow And Hope is my favorite – I really went there simply earlier than Christmas to replenish.
And English glowing wine has lastly been performing very properly at competitions lately – with Camel Valley ‘Cornwall’ turning into an all-conquering rosé.
Thorntons choice field, £7
BELGIUM and Switzerland, step apart. We Brits can do chocolate nearly as good as these guys, if not higher.
And also you don’t even must spend a lot to seek out scrumptious chocolate within the UK – together with basic Cadbury staples reminiscent of Dairy Milk.
Whereas many Excessive Road manufacturers have been struggling because the pandemic, there appear to be increasingly retailers dedicated to chocolate, reminiscent of Thorntons and Lodge Chocolat, persevering with to pop up. We’re undoubtedly a nation of choc lovers.
Dalston’s Cherry Glowing Water, £4.30 for 4
THESE cherry sodas from Dalston’s got here extremely advisable as a substitute for Coca-Cola.
Coke isn’t simply one of many world’s greatest drinks manufacturers, it’s one of many greatest manufacturers of any kind – but Irn Bru has outsold the US market chief in Scotland for greater than a century.
I like the odd can of fizzy pop. It’s a implausible pick-me-up that’s at all times there in case of emergency – I most likely have about one can a fortnight – however of all of the issues I attempted right here, this was the least spectacular.
Dalston’s appears to be proud they haven’t added sugar – however certainly that’s what you need from a sugary drink?
Daylesford Natural vegetable field, £15
BACK within the Nineties, a pal who had a home on France’s north coast used to boast: “It’s solely 21 miles throughout the Channel however all the pieces tastes utterly totally different right here – even the greens.”
And it’s true.
French tomatoes have been grown for style and British ones have been grown for worth. Meals is the primary place individuals look to save cash however it’s one space of expenditure the place spending a bit extra could make an enormous distinction.
Daylesford Natural, the world’s greatest farmers, run Britain’s greatest farm retailers and are at present celebrating 20 years within the enterprise.
Their market gardener, Jez, delivers the perfect tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. Even in bleak January he’s knocking out fantastic cavolo nero and different snazzy greens.
Baron Bigod Brie, 250g, £9.50
FORMER French President Charles de Gaulle famously quipped: “How can anybody govern a nation that has 246 totally different sorts of cheese?”
Effectively, the final time I went to the British Cheese Awards, there have been over 1,000 totally different varieties being made right here.
Cheese has been on the forefront of the good British meals revolution and it’s getting higher on a regular basis. I used to be on the judging panel when Cornish Blue was voted the World’s Greatest Cheese a couple of years again.
In the meantime, Baron Bigod, a British tackle basic French Brie, is profitable a lot acclaim – and I’ve heard Alex James’ Blue Monday, a British tackle Gorgonzola piccante, is fairly good too!
Yeast Bakery Croissants, £2.95 for take out, £3.55 to eat in
I WENT on a newbies’ baking course with a grasp baker a few years again and somebody requested: “Will we be making croissants at present?”
The grasp baker stated: “No, however when you do at present’s course, after which do the intermediate one and the superior one, then you’ll learn to make croissants on the one after that. Possibly . . .”
Most of the scrumptious issues I tasted listed here are easy issues carried out properly, however croissants are clearly sophisticated – maybe that is likely one of the causes they by no means style fairly the identical right here as over the Channel. Till now.
These croissants from family-run Yeast Bakery in London’s Bethnal Inexperienced are nearly as good as any I’ve tasted. Simply wow!