A Guide to North West Regional Food Specialties
For a relatively small country, the United Kingdom has a very rich cultural and culinary heritage, none less so that the North West of the country. Here you can find a whole repertoire of local dishes and recipes - some of which are still well known and loved all over the country, while others are more closely guarded regional secrets. Nevertheless, there are many exciting options to choose from if you fancy creating or sampling some traditional North West dishes.
When it comes to desserts and sweet treats, there are certainly some recipes that have become popular all over the country. No doubt you have heard of and possibly tasted the Eccles cake. This treat was said to be created commercially for the time in the 1790s, allegedly developed from a recipe from a lady called Mrs Raffald. It is a casing of flaky pastry around dried fruit and spice with a bit of sugar added. Or how about the renowned sweet seaside treat, Blackpool rock?
Perhaps the Manchester Tart is less well known around the rest of the country. This is a dish resembling a custard slice with some jam and set in pastry and often served with custard. Then there is the Bury Simnel Cake, a sort of light fruit cake covered in marzipan.
There are plenty of savoury dishes as well. The Bury Black Pudding probably has its roots back in the 1800s and is still a popular treat today. It is made from pig`s blood and oatmeal. And have you ever heard of Butter Pie? This dish comes from Lancashire and is a potato and onion pie which was said to be traditionally eaten on a Friday, conforming to the Catholic rule of not eating meat on that day.
Cumberland Sausages, although obviously originating in Cumberland are now popular everywhere. Lancashire Hotpot is also a local dish whose reputation and fame has spread across the rest of the country. It`s quite similar to Irish Stew. Another famous regional pie is the Cheshire Pork Pie, complete with nutmeg and pepper and sugar.
Some local dishes have really left their mark and come to define their region of origin. Do you know where the term `scouser`, used to describe people from Liverpool, comes from? It is said to originate from the Lobscouse (or Scouse for short), which is something like an Irish Stew crossed with a Scandinavian version of the dish.
England also boasts many lovely and famous regional cheeses. As far as the North West goes, Cheshire Cheese has made something of a name for itself. It is thought that the cheese`s distinctive flavour came from the county`s salt marshes. It was also listed in the Domesday Book and so is probably the oldest of British cheeses. Lancashire cheese, another famous regional delicacy, is said to be one of the softest of the country`s `hard` cheeses.
The region is now home to quite a few award-winning restaurants as well, particularly in the larger cities and the latest Manchester news is that many more are on the way.