Brixton-based foodie Rosie Lovell and author “Spooning with Rosie” begins her culinary travels through England in Kent where she attends a medieval food fayre.
Rosie is shown various methods of smoking meats – a practice popular in medieval times and is told how spices were introduced to English cuisine from the Middle East by returning crusaders in the 12th Century.
Onwards to what makes England really tick – The Hop, Rosie finds out how this grain becomes one of our most popular beverages – the lowly beer. She helps in the Hop Harvest and samples traditional local brews at a nearby beer festival.
Rosie then visits the Cotswolds, home to the Pudding Club who meet regularly to sample iconic English desserts - Jam Roly Poly, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Eton Mess! Up until the 18th Century, the vast majority of puddings served at tables were savoury (with the exception of fruits) but with the discovery of sugar imported from foreign lands – puddings became sweet.
Heading to the North of England, via the Ludlow Food Festival, Rosie looks at the foods that became popular during the Industrial Revolution. Grinding poverty and hardship amongst the working classes in the 19th century, followed by the introduction of rationing after the Second World War, contributed to the poor reputation of English food – often described as bland, tasteless, stodgy and even unhealthy. In these austere times nothing went to waste. Rosie visits Bury Market in Lancashire where she samples Black Pudding.
On the final leg of her culinary journey, Rosie returns to London which has turned the reputation of English cuisine on it’s head by becoming the world’s epicentre for high quality global cuisine. Many of the World’s top chefs have restaurants here and London’s street food offers a varied and eclectic smorgasbord of dishes.
Rosie interviews leading British Chef, Mark Hix and Israeli fusion guru Yotam Ottolenghi whose evocative take on sweets and desserts has taken the London food scene by storm.
Rosie ends her journey in a well-known London Gastro-Pub which in the 21st century has combined the very English traditions of a cosy Ale House with a love for gastronomy – A fitting example of the English food renaissance.