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Have you tried these weird and wonderful British foods?

When you think of unusual or exotic foods, Britain might not be the first place your mind wanders. Yet the British Isles presents a smorgasbord of strange delicacies, alongside more well-loved foods we all can't get enough of.

Have you tried these weird and wonderful British foods?
'Toad in the Hole' doesn't include amphibians as an ingredient - but there are plenty of other peculiar British foods. Photo: Getty Images

Together with online supermarket, British Corner Shop, we take a tour of some of the UK’s most distinct dishes – and reintroduce you to some perennial classics. 

Icky ingredients 

If you think the French have the market cornered on strange delicacies, think again. Brits have long enjoyed some truly odd grub. 

Britain’s existence as a collection of islands has meant that the sea and rivers flowing into it have long provided a wealth of food – and some are less familiar to outsiders than others. 

The Welsh, for instance, love laverbread, a dish made of shredded and stewed seafood, and traditionally served at breakfast with bacon and tiny shellfish called cockles.

Londoners have also lived on cockles since Roman times, and the Thames is littered with their empty shells, tossed in by snacking locals. Another favourite taken from the Thames are jellied eels. This dish consists of chopped freshwater eel, boiled in stock and allowed to cool into a jelly. Amazingly, it’s considered at its best served cold!

Off the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk, fishing fleets have been bringing in loads of herring since the Middle Ages. While many herring are eaten fresh, others are aged and smoked in giant sheds that can be smelled long before they can be seen. Slice one of these smoked herring down the middle and you’ve got that classic breakfast treat, a kipper! 

Further inland, there are more strange snacks being enjoyed. There is, of course, the famous Scottish haggis – sheep’s organs minced and cooked inside the stomach of the animal. Such is the popularity of the dish, there are now vegetarian versions available. 

Not in the mood for eels or haggis? British Corner Shop can deliver over 6000 other British goodies directly to your door

Traditional pork pies often seem quite strange to non-Brits, with the filling inside the crust surrounded by pork jelly, made from boiled pig’s trotters and other connective tissue. In fact, some Britons think this is the best part! 

Perhaps the weirdest British delicacy of all, however, is the humble Stilton cheese – albeit a version covered in cheese mites! In centuries past, the presence of these tiny mites used to be highly prized, as it was believed their burrowing into the rind of the cheese imbued it with a special flavour. 

As the famous author Daniel Deoe wrote during his travels in the 1720s, “…we pass’d Stilton, a town famous for cheese, which is call’d our English Parmesan, and is brought to table with the mites, or maggots round it, so thick, that they bring a spoon with them for you to eat the mites with, as you do the cheese.”

Would you try a slice of mite-y cheese? 

Naughty nicknames 

For every British dish with a strange ingredient, there’s another with a peculiar name – whether odd, misleading or just plain rude. 

The particularly descriptive spotted dick, for example, is a suet pudding containing dried fruit. The name comes from the appearance of the fruit in the dough, or ‘dick’ as it used to be called. 

The similarly memorable toad in the hole consists of sausages baked into Yorkshire pudding, with the name supposedly referring to toads waiting near ponds for their prey. 

Rumbledethumps is a traditional Scottish casserole made from leftover cauliflower, while Welsh rarebit is toast with a thick cheese sauce. That Christmas favourite, mince pie doesn’t actually include meat, but a lot of fruit, and bubble and squeak, a fry up of leftover vegetables, gets its name from the noise it makes on the stove. 

Never let it be said that the Brits are an unimaginative lot! 

Feel like serving up your favourite British dishes? British Corner Shop has all your favourite brands, delivered across Europe 

Care for a Cuppa: Whether it’s an sophisticated afternoon or an English breakfast, British Corner Shop has your favourite brands. Photo: Getty Images

Treasured treats

As wild and wacky as British foods can be, there are plenty of iconic food and snack brands that have been putting a smile on faces for decades. 

Cadbury chocolate, for example, is a big hit with readers of The Local – their Cadbury Flake bar topped the poll in our last article. Cadbury also produce the Curly Wurly, the Crunchie and of course, the Dairy Milk block.  

Walkers Crisps are another popular favourite across the UK, with an ever-growing range of flavours available – Salted, Salt & Vinegar, Cheese & Onion, Roast Chicken and of course, Prawn Cocktail. Which flavour do you miss most? 

Biscuits such as Jaffa Cakes and Jammie Dodgers are classic treats to be shared over a cup of Yorkshire Tea or PG Tips – or maybe with a Percy Pig

Of course, British food is about far more than just treats. Staple spreads like Marmite and Branston Pickle have been brightening the mornings of Brits for a long time, while the nation has long turned to the high-quality ingredients from Marks and Spencer to make any meal just that little bit more special. 

Feeling a bit peckish? Treat yourself! 

British Corner Shop has been providing Brits and anglophiles abroad the best of British food for years. Now they are able to deliver anywhere in the EU – including baked goods, such as devon scones – within a matter of days. 

With a huge selection on offer, competitive prices and ‘Brit Kits’ – a curated variety of boxes for those who can’t decide on just a few items – it’s the perfect place for those looking for iconic hard-to-find UK foods. 

Get a bumper taste of Blighty with an order of your favourites from British Corner Shop

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French supermarket boss found dead after being charged with bullying his staff

The boss of a Leclerc supermarket in eastern France has been found dead after he was charged with bullying members of his team.

French supermarket boss found dead after being charged with bullying his staff
Photo: AFP
The 58-year-old boss was found dead on Thursday in the French town of Belfort in the north eastern region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté after he had been charged with harassing his employees the previous Wednesday.
 
An investigation has been opened into the cause of death, local prosecutor Emmanuel Dupic confirmed to the French press. 
 
On Wednesday, the two owners, including the man found dead, of the Leclerc supermarket in the town of Héricourt and the commercial director had been charged with harassment against 25 employees.
 
A fourth person, the financial director, had been charged with complicity in psychological harassment.
 
According to local newspaper L'Est Républicain, the man was found dead after he had been released on bail. 
 
The owners and the commercial director of the store are suspected of “humiliating [staff members], threatening behavior and remarks that have led many employees to suffer from burn-out or take sick leave, allowing employers to declare them unfit for their positions and fire them,” said the local prosecutor. 
 
The situation came to light after an investigation took place in 2018 when 14 employees dismissed from this store filed a complaint with the police.
 
The investigation revealed that “significant moral harassment had been ongoing for nine years, with daily pressure on employees that led to physical and psychological distress”, according to the prosecutor.
 
Pregnant women and disabled staff were forced to carry out duties, including carrying heavy items, or work schedules unsuitable to their situations. 
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