I was scrounging around for inspiration for this week’s Lovin’ Life post when I saw this article by Ben Groundwater – who happens to be my absolute favourite travel writer. Quite coincidentally hubby asked me what food we’re taking in our suitcases to the UK with us and then Sarah wondered aloud how much mangos were likely to cost.
With apologies to Ben for the blatant rip-off of his headline title, I had my post.
To backtrack just a tad, in just over 8 weeks we’ll be off to the UK for almost 4 weeks. We’ll be there for Christmas and New Year – our very first in the Northern Hemisphere. We’re hoping for snow. Naturally, I’ll tell you lots more about our plans leading up to it, but right now with all big-ticket items – flights, accommodation, car hire and Christmas dinner – booked we’re beginning to get into the finer details…hence the discussion about food.
‘We’ll need to take vegemite,’ said Grant. ‘And peanut butter. Remember how sugary the peanut butter was?’
‘Remember how much that mango was?’ added Sarah. (For the record, the mango in question was in Fortnum’s food hall and was imported from somewhere or the other – mangos not being exactly plentiful in an English winter (who wouldv’e thought it?) – and cost the equivalent of about $15AUD.)
Aside from the Christmas festivities, there’s plenty that we’re looking forward to about the food in England. There’s pub food, bacon butties, pork pies, mulled wine at the Christmas markets and the Sunday roast at the local.
I can still taste the oysters we had with prosecco at stupid o’clock at Borough Markets, and don’t get me started on the scones. Sarah and Grant both love the sweetie shops and English chocolate, we’re all partial to a good Cheddar, Stilton or Red Leicester cheese, and it will never cease to amaze me just how many great soups can be made from parsnip. And, I’m just getting started.
For us, much of the joy in travelling is food – reacquainting ourselves with old favourites, discovering new favourites, enjoying local produce and, in this case, the upside-down seasonality. I could (and probably will) write more words than you’d want to read about what we’re looking forward to – even Brussels sprouts sold on the stem that taste nothing like the Brussels sprouts I had when I was a kid (sorry Mum).
With so much to look forward to it’s a tad counter-intuitive to talk about the things that we’ll miss while we’re away. But, for the purposes of this post, that’s exactly what I’m doing – talking about the food (and two drinks) that might possibly, ever-so fleetingly, be lamented at some point during the course of the 4 weeks that we’ll be away from Australia.
To be fair, we’re travelling in the English winter, but even so we’re used to a plethora of fresh fruit all year round from our farmer’s markets.
I’m looking forward to trying clementines and English apples, but I know that the first thing Sarah will do when arriving home is buy a box of mangos from that place near the fish markets at Mooloolaba.
I’ll miss Noosa Red tomatoes, but that goes without saying. They are the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted.
Steak and salad
This is usually the meal we all want first when landing back in Aus.
Good steak in the UK is a lot more expensive than good steak here is. Then there’s the salad. While things had definitely improved last trip (November/December 2015) to how they were on the trip before that (many years previously) a good mixed leaf salad that is more than just a garnish is hard enough to come by that we’re usually craving it by the time we head home.
We love the Indian restaurants in the UK with their Bollywood tinted yoghurt, but when away we miss Vietnamese and Thai food. There are some very good South-East Asian restaurants in London, but other than 5 days in London, we’ll be mostly in the country.
There are those who say the best Vietnamese and Thai food can be found in Australia. I don’t necessarily disagree with that.
I’m mostly a tea drinker so will be in my element, but Grant really has trouble getting a decent coffee – especially outside of London, and indeed, also in London. In Australia and New Zealand, we truly are spoilt when it comes to coffee.
We have a Dutch baker down the road who bakes fabulous sourdough, and an artisan baker who attends the markets each week whose bread is next-level good.
Decent sourdough can be surprisingly hard to source. There are some good bakeries popping up in the UK – I think I probably follow them all on Instagram – but the challenge will be finding them in close-ish proximity to where we’ll be staying.
Kiwi Pinot Gris
You can get Australian wine in England, but mostly, aside from a few exceptions, it’s the Australian wine that we export rather than drink. Did that come out loud? Besides which, I mostly drink New Zealand wine anyways.
This, however, is only a half-miss as I’ll be too busy enjoying English ale and European wines to remember to miss the Kiwi varieties – until I’m home, that is.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. No matter how much you enjoy the thrill of the new, there are some tastes of home that you can’t help but miss – even a little…so go on, I’ve told you mine, what are yours? And, if you’re in the UK, what shouldn’t we miss, food-wise, in Yorkshire and The Cotswolds?
It’s Thursday, so time to share what we’re loving about life. You know the drill by now, click on the linky below…you know you want to…