Now in it’s seventh year, the British Bake Off has become an absolute sensation. Many look forward to it throughout the year. The show seemed to have stirred an interest in home baking as with supermarkets and specialised shops reporting sharp rises in sales of baking ingredients and accessories.
During the end of August and beginning of September, many take the British Bake Off seriously, with several companies running their own in-house bake off competitions to encourage employees to bring bakes to work, socialise and engage with other colleagues. As a matter of fact, even I’ve worked for two companies which took this approach very seriously.
As a traveller, I started asking myself this question: Would I want to travel to the UK during the British Bake Off? Of course this is highly hypothetical because as you know, I live in Bristol.
As a foodie traveller who is highly interested in cultural phenomena, I would absolutely recommend you to visit the UK during the Great British Bake Off. First, because you would get the chance to bond with others over cooking and baking subjects. When there is a national competition of any kind, people like to come together, they seem more open and more excited about sharing cultural habits with outsiders. This also happens during important football events.
Many shops and restaurants adopt special British Bake Off recipes, hence you have the chance to indulge in special culinary experiences throughout the country.
During the Great British Bake Off, you have the chance to make new friends on social media, as pretty much everyone talks about the show. It’s a great way to interact with locals and maybe even make a few new travelling buddies during this time.
I too love the Great British Bake Off. I must say, it’s getting a little repetitive and I have lost some eagerness to watch it with as much enthusiasm as three years ago. Nevertheless, I find these 10 weeks to be a great excuse for me to go on a shopping binge for baking products, eat a ton of cakes and indulge myself in recreational baking.
For those of you who love travelling and food, here are some British traditional goods you need to try when you visit the UK. I’ve organised them based on last year’s weekly episode guide and carefully selected my favourite treats. Are you ready?
The Victoria Sponge is a British classic, which although very easy to make, it’s hard to master the perfect recipe. Why? Because a dry sponge is the worst type of cake you can have. Too much jam would make the sponge too sweet and sickening, too little and you won’t have the right consistency.
For those of you who are not sure what a traditional Victoria Sponge is, this is a British cake consisting of a layer of strawberry jam and delicious cream, sandwiched between two layers of sponge. Now you know why sometimes this is referred to as Victorian Sandwich. It’s a pretty delicious one if you ask me.
The topic of the biscuit is a difficult one as I am not a biscuit lover. I am not the type of person who loves dunking biscuit in tea, I think that’s a crime. But then again, I like to add milk to my ready made tea and not the other way around, so this can transform into a ten pages long debate. I will stop now before I upset other tea and biscuit lovers out there. Going back to my favorite British biscuit, I actually like one single type: the mighty shortbread. But I don’t just like any shortbread. It has to be buttery and crumbly, the right amount of sweet and should not have sugar on top. I bought a large tin of shortbread from M&S once, only to realise the biscuits were all covered in sugar. Why? Who would do such terrible thing to the otherwise perfect biscuit?
I love bread. I could just eat bread, cheese and seafood for the rest of my life and be very happy. Of course, there are certain types of bread I love more than others. For example, I really like Asian milk bread. It’s fluffy and simply amazing. But we’re here to talk about Great British bakes and when it comes to bread, the Brits really nail the crumpet. It’s really unique, weird, with an unorthodox consistency. It took me a while to learn to love crumpets. Now I love them with (be ready for this) marmite and cheese. Oh, I know, this probably made you confused. It made me confused for ages, but I learned to accept my inner weird.
Oh the glorious British desserts, how much we love you. When I first moved to the UK, I must say, I found all British desserts to be way too sweet. I still find them a bit sickening, but I got used to them. I love apple pie with custard, scones with clotted cream and jam and of course eton mess. If I am to pick my favorite, then I must go with eton mess for sure. Now, here’s the deal, if you know what pavlova is, you too will probably feel that eton mess is essentially a lazy pavlova rip off. With all due respect, but eton mess is essentially broken meringue served with cream and fresh fruit. Hmm...
Nothing (I mean nothing) beats the great steak and ale British pies. I tried so many types of pies, from the basic hot crust pork pie (which I actually don’t like one bit), through cheese and onion pies (what is it with British people that have to mix cheese and onion together?) to puff chicken and mushroom pie. Nothing rocked my boat more than the beautiful, sensational, delicious steak and ale combo in a puff pastry delight.
It was very difficult to find a traditional British type of patisserie and that’s probably because this is a very French topic. After a few more disappointing searches, I remembered one type of British dessert which I love and might just about be able to pass under patisserie: the custard tart. This again, is a bit of an iffy topic, as I am kinda certain that Pastel de Nata, or Custards Tarts are originated from Portugal.
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In conclusion, I strongly advise travelling to the UK during the ten week period of extreme baking frenzy, for a change to make new friends, understand British cultural ideas and of course, eat lots of traditional calorie packed treats, which are sure to leave you very fond of the UK indeed.
Do you like baking? What traditional British Bake would you love to try first and why? Tell me all about it in the comments section bellow.