The Cuisine of the Midlands
The midlands have had a rich history of being a prosperous agricultural region and it is natural that this is reflected in the cuisine of the area. There are many foods and drinks that are produced in the Midlands and some of these dishes and recipes have originated here.
A good example is the Staffordshire oatcake which is a savory pancake made from yeast, flour and oatmeal. It is best served warm with a filling of bacon and cheese. Some people prefer to use egg instead of cheese, and tomatoes are sometimes added. The oatcake has been eaten in Stoke-on-Trent since the 18th century.
Leicestershire is famous for its pork pies and particularly the ones that are made in Melton Mowbray, which are the most popular in the United Kingdom. There are so many different varieties made by the company and they are found in every supermarket throughout the country. Only pies that are made in the area are legally allowed to be called a Melton Mowbray pork pie.
The city of Leicester is famous for Walkers Crisps. Henry Walker was a local butcher who moved from Mansfield to Leicester in the 1880s and started producing crisps by cooking slices of potatoes in a fish and chip fryer. Today 10 million bags of crisps are produced from two factories and the one in Beaumont Leys is the biggest crisp factory in the world.
The town is also famous for its production of stilton cheese with it first being made there. The county is also home to the “Red Leicester”. The cheese was made in the county from the surplus milk that had been used to make Stilton. Carrot or beetroot juice was originally added to give the cheese its color.
Derbyshire is famous around the world for its Bakewell Pudding. This was first created in Bakewell village, which is located in the Peak District. It was made by mistake in the 1820s when a local cook when cooking a jam tart mistakenly poured a mixture of egg and almond paste inside the pastry on top of the jam, which formed a custard.
Lincolnshire sausages are eaten throughout the UK. Many different butchers within the county have their own secret recipes and there are annual competitions to find the best sausage. The Lincolnshire Poacher cheese is produced in Alford and has won many national awards.
Grimsby fish market is the largest in the UK and attracts fish from a variety of ports. The market is famous for the fish that originate from it and Grimsby smoked fish has been given Protected Geographical Identification by the European Union.
Worcestershire is known for the savory condiment Worcester sauce. It has been produced by Lea and Perrins in the city since 1837. Many fruits grow in the county and the Worcester Black Pear is one variety of pear that is sold throughout the country.
Hereford Beef Cattle are Herefordshire’s most famous export and are farmed around the world as a result of their hardy nature. The county is also a mass producer of strawberries and apples.
This has resulted in the location of the cider makers, Bulmers and Weston’s. Drinks that are made in the Hereford breweries such as Strongbow are sold around the world. Herefordshire is not the only location in the midlands where there are breweries.
Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire had so many breweries in the 19th century that a quarter of the nation’s beer was produced in this small town. In 1880 there were 30 separate breweries in the area making the most of the quality of the local water that made such a good beer.
Birmingham is also home to many breweries. The large commercial breweries used to be located in the city, but over time they have closed and today smaller micro-breweries are emerging in the region.