Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day full of roses, hearts, and…eggs and soldiers?
It’s no secret that French cuisine tends to triumph with the food of love. However, I think that this is all about to change. British dishes and ingredients are quickly coming to the fore in many of the top restaurants – even the French ones, such as Galvin La Chapelle, which was voted Best French Restaurant for London. On the Valentine’s Day menu will be blue lobster from Dorset, beef from Cumbria, and rhubarb from Yorkshire.
Peter Eaton, Head Chef of the Woodspeen near Newbury, has chosen British fudge for his petit fours. (For more about the Woodspeen, read the Saucy Dressings blog post about it here! And for the slightly altered fudge recipe, go here!)
Dukes’ seems to be taking advice from one of Saucy Dressings’ favourites, Mimi Sheraton. Author of The Seducer’s Cookbook (for a full review read this post!), she has all the tips for how to ‘get him to marry you’. The food should be the kind ‘he basically loves…but with a difference’. Nigel Mendham, Executive Chef at Dukes, is doing exactly that with his ‘Eggs & Soldiers’. Rather than the childhood classic, it is sweet and served with shortbread soldiers! Other items on their menu include Gressingham Duck and Chalk Stream Trout, which is all in keeping with the theme of their Great British Restaurant.
British ingredients are thriving elsewhere, too. Last year, for the first time ever, English sparkling wine received more gold medals than Champagne in the Sommelier Wine Awards. And at the first British Charcuterie Awards last year, charcutiers including Tom Whittaker and Dhruv Baker of Tempus Foods came out on top!
Even in the chocolate stakes Britain was placed in the top ten at the World Chocolate Awards last year, with chocolatier Barry Johnson of The Cocoa Lab winning Best Chocolate Travel Cake – for a full report read the blog post here! If you’re looking to woo (or be wooed!) I suggest going for something British. Whatever happens, you’ll be left with food that Mimi Sheraton describes as familiar “but with a difference”.