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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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STOCKHOLM

British band Viola Beach killed in Stockholm bridge crash

Four members of the up-and-coming British indie band Viola Beach and their manager were killed early on Saturday morning when their car plummeted 25 metres from a bridge near Stockholm into a canal.

British band Viola Beach killed in Stockholm bridge crash
The car plunged into a canal in Stockholm on Saturday morning. Photo: Viola Beach
Only hours before the accident, the group, aged between 19 and 35, had performed at the Where’s the Music festival in the city of Norrköping in their first ever gig outside the UK. 
 
“Five British citizens, all male, died in a car accident on Friday night,” police spokesman Carina Skagerlind told The Local.  
 
“Witnesses say that the safety equipment on the bridge was working and that they passed a queue of cars. We are still interviewing witnesses and investigating the are to try and understand what happened.” 
 
The band, from Warrington in Manchester, was led by frontman Kris Leonard (Guitar/Vocals), and included River Reeves (Guitar), Tomas Lowe (Bass) and Jack Dakin (Drums) and the manager Craig Tarry. 
 
The band died when their car crashed through a barrier and plunged off a canal bridge at Sodertalje, a southern district of the capital Stockholm.
 
Their vehicle reportedly approached the bridge at speed, as it was still not fully shut after allowing a vessel to pass underneath in the early hours of Saturday morning.

 
“According to witness reports, there were no brake lights on the car so it seems like they simply missed that there was a bridge opening,” Police inspector Martin Bergholm from the police in Södertälje, told Aftonbladet.
 
“The only people who knew what went on inside the car are dead.”  
 
John Hugo Olsson, 22, from the Swedish band Psykofant, who shared a dressing room with the band told The Local that the manager Craig Tarry had refused offers of a beer because he knew he had to drive the band to their hotel at Stockholm's Arlanda airport following the gig. 
 
Olsson said the band had instantly won him over. 
 
“They were fantastic, you immediately fell in love with them the moment they came through the door,” he said. “They had these extremely charming Manchester accents. It was like a scene from A Hard Day's Night. They just fell into the room.”
 
“I remember standing in the audience and thinking to myself, 'these guys have the potential to be the next big band and this story of me being in the dressing room with them will be a really cool story for the future'.  I thought to myself, 'I’m going to remember this night'.” 
 
He said that the band had tried to teach him British slang, while he had taught them to say “you're beautiful” in Swedish. 

“They were really humble and you could just tell that they were having the time of their lives.”
 

 
 
Jonny Alexandersson, a lorry driver who witnessed the incident, told Aftonbladet that other vehicles were waiting for the bridge to close fully but “one car arrived at a crazy speed … at least 70-80 kph (45-50 mph). That’s very quick when everybody else was stopped.” 
   
News of the tragedy spread quickly on social media and fellow band The Enemy tweeted: “RIP Viola Beach and their manager. Such incredibly tragic and sad news. Thought with the friends and families of all involved x.”
 
Phil Taggart, a DJ with Britain's BBC Radio 1 music station tweeted that the band had been “on the cusp of something great”. 
 
   
A contributor to Viola Beach’s Facebook page wrote: “So awful. Taken before anybody had the chance to see what they might have become.”
   
Another said: “Such sad news, you guys were gonna be big.”
  
The band were planning to stay the night at the airport before catching a flight early the next day back to the UK, where they were set to play a gig in Guildford, southern England.
 
According to Sweden's Expressen newspaper, the band's whistlestop visit saw them on stage at 9.30pm for a 45 minute set, and then set off only hours later.  
 
John Hugo Olsson tweeted a picture of the band he had taken in the dressing room before their gig. 
 
 
 
Psykofant singer Shiva Kazemi, 25, said she was still struggling to grasp what had happened. 
 
“It’s so tragic, really sad, we can’t believe it,” she said. “It was such a fun and memorable night, and now they’re gone.”
 
Bandmate Matilda Hedlund wrote on Facebook that she would always see it as a privilege to have spent a few hours in the company of the band.  

“They were just the sort of people one wants to be dropped into a dressing room with: positive, pepped up, humble and charming.”

 

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The late band posted a picture of their hired Nissan Qashqai SUV on Friday evening as they set off for their gig. 

 

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Norrköping! We play Dynamo (Hallarna) tonight at 9.30pm!

Posted by Viola Beach on Friday, 12 February 2016

 

 

 

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