Lardy cake and black garlic ice-cream: six of Britain’s best local foods to try


Black garlic ice-cream, Isle of Wight
Garlic and ice-cream sounds a mind-boggling mix, however, this unique dessert is an Isle of Wight must-try, dreamed up by The Garlic Farm. While the kick of fresh garlic didn’t sit well with ice-cream, they found that using black garlic – heat-aged slowly in a low temperature oven – gave a sweet, vanilla-like flavour. Try it at the farm, or its restaurant, then stay nearby at Bembridge Coast Hotel right on the seafront, where you can enjoy seasonal Brit classics at its Market Kitchen restaurant.

Garlic Farm, shop and cafe
The Garlic Farm, creator of black garlic ice-cream

Cheshire cheese, Cheshire
As historical mentions go, featuring in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book – as Cheshire cheese does – is quite the accolade. Said to have been made in Chester since Roman times, and one of England’s oldest named cheeses, it’s renowned for its creamy flavour and crumbly texture. Wonder at curd mills at Nantwich Museum, sample the likes of HS Bourne’s oak-smoked Cheshire at Nantwich farmers’ market then, for more cheese feasts, bed down at Alvaston Hall Hotel; its Cheshire Barn Pub & Kitchen menu includes whipped goat’s cheese and cinnamon biscuit cheesecake.

Close up Welsh Breakfast of Cockles, Bacon and Laverbread, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Welsh laverbread, a seaweed puree often served with breakfast. Photograph: Huw Jones/Getty Images

Welsh laverbread, Wales
Somewhat confusingly, Welsh laverbread isn’t actually a bread – it’s a puree made from edible laver seaweed. Harvested along the coastline, it’s cooked and minced into a mineral-rich greenish-black paste. Nicknamed “black gold”, it’s often served alongside bacon, eggs and cockles at breakfast. On a north Wales break, visit the Bodnant Welsh Food farm shop to stock up on laverbread-infused goodies, pop to Conwy for mussels, before checking in to Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel – a romantic Grade II-listed castle set in sprawling parkland near Snowdonia, which offers its signature cream tea to-go for posh picnics on sightseeing adventures.

Mushy peas and mint sauce, Nottinghamshire
While some consider it a side dish, in Nottinghamshire, a pot of mushy peas, drizzled with mint sauce, is seen as a delicacy in its own right. Most famously sold at the annual Goose Fair, try it year-round at the Victoria Centre’s Mushy Pea Stall, or at Terrys Peas at Sneinton Market. “That sweet hit of peas followed by the baptism of sharp acidic mint is a winner for a hit of traditional Nottinghamshire comfort food,” says Adam Ellis, executive chef at Thoresby Hall Hotel – a foodie hotspot in Ollerton with a new British restaurant, Brasserie32.

Yorkshire parkin, Yorkshire
For those with a sweet tooth, nothing hits the spot like a slab of sticky Yorkshire parkin. Traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, the moreish Yorkshire cafe staple gets its signature sweetness from black treacle, golden syrup, oatmeal and ginger. Look out for it at Lottie Shaw’s, or try it at famed tearoom Bettys in Harrogate. Buy extra to take away to nibble while wandering the picturesque grounds at Nidd Hall Hotel, where fans of ginger can get another sugar fix with the Belgian chocolate, salted caramel and ginger nut crumble from the hotel’s restaurant, Market Kitchen.

The brasserie at Nidd Hall Hotel
The brasserie at Nidd Hall Hotel

Wiltshire lardy cake, Wiltshire
Also known as lardy bread or lardy Johns, this traditional teatime loaf is a quintessential Wiltshire treat. A breaded loaf made with nutmeg, sugar, fruits and lard, with a soft middle, and crunchy caramelised top, it has been around since the 17th century. Served hot or cold, it can be found at cafes throughout Wiltshire. Try a slice from Marshalls Bakery in Pewsey, then stay at Littlecote House Hotel, a Tudor mansion serving up its own slice of classic puds such as sticky toffee, and bread and butter.

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