When we set out on a summer holiday, it’s no wonder we pack empty luggage to make space for the food we can’t get at home. But many of these products, or riffs on them, can be found in the UK too. Look hard enough and you can find brilliant British versions of feta, salami and halloumi, as well as English wine. Even black truffles are now grown in the UK.
As you’re about to find out, some of these foodstuffs are often better than the originals. Hugh Thomas rounds up the winning British takes on our favourite imported foods.
1. English wine
English wine is making a name for itself. Vineyard at Albury Organic Wines in the Surrey Hills
Are booze cruises a thing of the past? Good wine (what once required an empty-car-boot-trip to Calais) now needs little more than a thirsty jaunt to your neighbourhood wine merchant. Local vineyards have certainly helped with that, restoring a sense of pride in English winemaking. While English fizz is getting a name for itself, still English wine is catching up on sparkling, with Lyme Bay, Flint, and Three Choirs among those leading the charge.
2. London Halloumi
Forget tasteless supermarket halloumi, try London’s Kupros Dairy halloumi as your staycation cheese du jour.
If pending EU rules are anything to go by, it might be that halloumi can only be called halloumi if it’s made in Cyprus. Aside from its country of origin, though, demand for halloumi is higher in the UK than any other country. So perhaps it makes sense Britain has its own versions.
This London version of halloumi from Kupros Dairy in North London is as good as the real thing; so says Greek-Cypriot cook and food writer, Georgina Hayden. Try her simple recipe for Grilled Halloumi with Apricot Jam.
3. Feta from Kent
Team English feta cheese with Isle of Wight tomatoes in this British twist on a Greek salad.
You may find that Mediterranean salads just aren’t the same without a good soft cheese, and Greek feta covers that remit very well. But here we have Blackwoods’ Graceburn cheese; a Kent-made interpretation on the Med favourite. It’s creamier than regular feta and in a marinade of extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn, it’s even better.
Try it crumbled over a salad of heritage seasonal tomatoes, oregano and olives for a Greek salad with a British twist, washed down with a cold glass of English wine.
4. British Salami
British charcuterie started making a name for itself again about 10 years ago. Now that the quality has found its footing – and is arguably enough to rival the continent – there’s no better time to explore Britain’s pantry of cured meat.
Not convinced? Try The Real Cure’s White Pepper & Fennel Salami.
5. Hampshire Buffalo Mozzarella
Creamy buffalo mozzarella, made in Hampshire, doesn’t need much dressing up.
Unlike a lot of cheese, mozzarella is best eaten as fresh as possible. An issue most manufacturers have ‘solved’ by using additives to prolong shelf-life. But a few British-based cheesemakers are producing it without compromise. One such cheesemaker is Laverstoke Park Farm, who make their mozzarella on their biodynamic and organic farm in Hampshire.
The result? Some of the best mozzarella this side of Naples. For a taste of Italy, serve your mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, basil and a good drizzle of olive oil or pair with peas and courgette in this epic mozzarella summer salad recipe.
6. Dorset ‘Greek’ Yoghurt
‘Greek’ yoghurt…made by hand in Dorset
Greek-style yoghurt may mean two things. Either the yoghurt has had something added to it to taste of cultured, strained milk. Or it is cultured yoghurt sure enough, just not made in Greece. This latter style of yoghurt from the likes of Neal’s Yard Dairy and The Dorset Dairy Company is delicious, rich and silky. Just as good as the Greek stuff with an altogether less cardboard-y taste than their supermarket equivalents.
For Greek holiday vibes, pair it with honey, roasted figs and bashed pistachios. Or go British and enjoy your yoghurt with a seasonal glut of blackberries, like in this Blackberry-ripple frozen yoghurt.
7. Isle of Wight Tomatoes
From cherry to plum, yellow to chocolate… heritage tomatoes grown on the Isle of Wight
Finally! A tomato that actually tastes like it’s spent time in the sun. The Tomato Stall have grown heritage tomato varieties on The Isle of Wight for 30 years. Missing how bruschetta or pan con tomate would taste on the continent? With these beauties you’ll realise there’s no big secret to it.
8. Pannage Pork
British tourists have traditionally come home from Spain with a leg of Iberico ham tucked under their arm. Thanks to some producers however, they needn’t have to. Pannage pork is from pigs that have fed on acorns from the woodland floor of the New Forest. Likened to Spanish Iberico ham, this UK equivalent is tipped to be the next hot thing.
Make the most of a seasonal glut with these top tomato tips and salad recipes.
Find Farmdrop’s selection of award-winning English wine here at farmdrop.com.
This post was originally published in August 2018 and has since been updated.