As the Food is GREAT campaign and Food and Drink Action Plan launched last week by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and supported by chef and ambassador for campaign Tom Aikens, VisitBritain Chief Executive Sandie Dawe serves up today’s DCMS blog, looking at the delicious delights and visitor experiences on offer for UK tourists.
Gone are the days when Britain was best known for its big breakfasts and fish and chips, now there’s much more on the menu for overseas visitors to tuck in to.
Eating and drinking is a huge part of our appeal to international travellers, who are finding a lot to savour on their holidays in Britain. The recent rise in the number of British Michelin starred restaurants (there are 158 in the 2014 guide) demonstrates the talent of our chefs, many of whose faces are known all over the world. We’ve now even got Michelin-starred pubs, showing the evolution of a unique British institution.
A trip to Britain doesn’t have to involve fine dining to be delicious though – grab a tasty morsel at any number of the fantastic street food vans that have cropped up in our cities, get to know our local produce at a farmers’ market, or join in one of our many food festivals, with speciality themes ranging from garlic to oysters. Everywhere you go you’ll meet producers and chefs who are passionate about the British food scene.
It’s not just British food visitors can enjoy here – the nation is home to the rest of the world’s kitchens too, with excellent Indian cuisine, buzzing Chinatowns in cities all over, and authentic Italian, Jamaican and Peruvian food to make the offer all the more interesting.
Recent research shows the number of international travellers who think they would enjoy our food offering is rising – a fact we’re delighted, but not surprised by. Today there are endless food experiences for visitors to tick off on their trip here – and yes, big breakfasts and fish and chips should still be up there! – but add to that the chance to eat freshly caught oysters by beautiful Loch Fyne in Scotland, drink a pint at Shakespeare’s local in Stratford-upon-Avon, sample Welsh cheese to your heart’s content at Abergavenny Food Festival in Wales, try out a Michelin-starred restaurant located in a converted toilet block in London… and your only question is, where do I start?