As a Brit abroad - especially in France, land of gourmet cooking - you soon get used to all the little remarks about British cooking. Usually along the lines of "Euurrggghhh it's disgusting, English people will eat anything ! What's that fluorescent green jelly all about ? And jam with roast chicken ? And some of the sweet and sour mixtures ? Yuck !" But ... I've noticed that these same people who love criticising British delicacies always ask me to buy a few foodie-items for them on my trips home. So UK food can't really be that bad, can it ?!
Well, I am delighted to have discovered the brand Regents Park, which sells authentic British products that really are made in the UK and that will certainly appeal to the French market. I was lucky enough to sample a whole range of their products and they're all delicious. There were even things that I haven't eaten since I was a kid, like crumpets (see below) - yummmm ! And the usual suspects are there too, like tea and biscuits.
Regents Park is one of the brands in the Fresh Food Village company (which distributes other equally-delish British products like Firefly Tonics). I love the 1950s-style black and white photos and the unmistakably-British sense of humour on their packaging and their website carries on in the same vein. They explain that "what prompted the creation of Fresh Food Village was a secret held by the English nation : the softness of the British loaf ! After years of trying to reconcile the soft white bread from the other side of the Channel and stale, pale French imitations, Jean Marc Krief and Antoine Weil decided to get real British foodie-treats into French supermarkets for everyone to enjoy." See ? I told you that English food isn't necessarily inferior to French cuisine !
Everything you need for a quintessentially English teatime (which seems more popular in France than it ever was in England ! ) is there. Just in case you aren't familiar with some of them, there are : crumpets - kind of like the British version of American pancakes, delicious hot with lashings of butter (my grandad used to toast them over the open fire on a toasting fork and if they fell off (which they invariably did !), we'd just wipe off the ash and eat them anyway !!). Then there are muffins - but not the sugary cupcake variety, these are little bread rolls that you can fill with bacon and eggs for a full English breakfast on the go (they even sell Egg McMuffins in McDonalds in the UK !). Scones - which you can pronounce like bones or the Fonz, depending on which part of Britain you come from ! - crumbly currant buns, delicious cut in half with butter and jam, or even clotted cream. "It's de-li-cious", as Dora the Explorer would say ! Then there are various cakes - real moist date and walnut or cherry cakes, not the stale things that the French call "cake" !
If you ever get past the fresh baked goods, you'll find the UK's favourite drink - no, not beer, tea bien sûr ! Loose tea or teabags, the choice is yours. And pots of delicious-sounding jams, marmalades and ... lemon curd ! How can you explain lemon curd to the French ? I always say it's like a "tarte au citron" that you spread on bread ... but it's better than it sounds !
I would show you photos of the delicious goodies we sampled but by the time my husband and daughters had got to the box, there wasn't much left !
If you're another Brit abroad and are now pining for UK food, I have an exclusive offer to share with you ! Use the code FPMAMANBLOG for free postage on all orders over €20 in their online shop (valid until 31/12/2009). So go and fill your boots !!
for more info : http://www.regentspark.fr/
note : cinq sur cinq !