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Quirky Food Facts

  1. Avebury Rings, one of the largest Neolithic monuments in Europe, was saved from possible destruction in the 1930s by Alexander Keiller, when he bought it with part of the fortune he inherited from his family’s Scottish marmalade business.


  1. Elizabeth l had the kitchen at Hampton Court moved – because it was under her bedroom and she didn’t like cooking smells wafting into her clothes and furniture.
  2. The most eaten ‘convenience’ food in the world was invented by an English aristocrat with a passion for gambling, the Earl of Sandwich. So that he didn’t have to stop playing and to keep his hands clean for the cards he asked for meat to be put between 2 slices of bread.


  1. King James 1 of England and VI of Scotland imported 10, 000 Mulberry trees to create a silk industry, unfortunately he ordered the wrong variety, the silk worms wouldn’t eat the leaves – but the mulberry ‘berries’ make excellent jam.
  2. Beatrix Potter used the fortune she earned from writing illustrated books to save the Herdwick Sheep from extinction – today a descendent of her shepherd sells Herdwick meat at Borough Market in London.
  3. Colchester oysters are so good they were one of the main reasons for the Romans invading Britain in 43AD.
  4. Royal Ascot isn’t just a place to wear a hat, it’s also a place to enjoy great food– last year’s punters enjoyed 120, 000 bottles of champagne, 6 tons of salmon and over 4 tons of strawberries.


  1. Prize for Strawberry eating championship goes to Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club where 27 tons of them are eaten during the Championship every year (and 7000 litres of cream).
  2. Crowdie, a soft , fresh milk cheese, has been made in Scotland for centuries, the first farm to flavour it with garlic only did so after their cows had escaped from their field, wandered into woods and eaten wild garlic, the flavour that went into the milk was so good that garlic crowdie quickly became a favourite.
  3. ‘Bletted’ Medlars were a much loved after dinner treat in Victorian homes in November and December – the fruit was gathered from the trees in September, laid in sawdust and kept until the flesh turned dark and soft, they had to be ‘rotten to be ripe’.
  4. During the Spring you can trace the routes of the Roman Army through Southern Britain by following the white blossom on tall, wild cherry trees – the soldiers brought cherries from Italy and spat the pips out as they marched.
  5. It’s not only Stilton cheese that’s important to the people of the Heart of England, in 1734 the Mayor of Nottingham was bowled over with a 100lb cheese during a riot after stallholders at an annual street market had increased cheese prices by over a third.
  6. Ice cream was so popular in London in the 19th century that massive ‘ice wells’ were dug in the city and ice imported from America, and later Norway, to fill them.
  7. Over 163 million cups of tea are drunk every day in the UK.
  8. Mint sauce, the ‘essential’ accompaniment to roast Lamb in the UK is thanks to Elizabeth 1. To stop her subjects eating lamb and mutton (and help the wool industry) she decreed that the meat could only be served with bitter herbs – enterprising cooks discovered that mint made the meat taste better, not worse.
  9. The world’s first chocolate bar was made in Bristol in the late 1720s by Joseph Fry, long after his day his company was eventually taken over by Cadbury’s, another British, family owned firm.
  10. The world’s largest apple was grown in Kent in 1997, it weighed 1.67 Kilos.
  11. Harry Ramsden’s Fish and Chip restaurant in West Yorkshire can seat 250, serving nearly 1 million fish and chip meals a year.
  12. Horseradish is the perfect partner for roast beef, to grow a plant you have to buy a thong (that’s what English gardener’s call the sliver of root you need to start growing).
  13. One of France’s top wine experts Philipe Faure-Brac is serving English sparkling wine at his Paris Bistro. He starts by offering a ‘blind’ tasting to get over any preconceptions from his predominantly French clientele, then as they’re complementing the quality he tells them where it’s come from.

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