The county’s food, glo­ri­ous food

Berkshire Life - - GOURMET GOSSIP - WORDS:

It’s Bri­tish Food Fort­night, so it is time to shine a light on food from Berkshire, some of which even has Royal ap­proval

ETON MESS

One of the most pop­u­lar desserts of all time ap­par­ently came about be­cause of a cricket match be­tween Eton and Har­row col­leges in the late-19th cen­tury. Some­one did, in fact, drop the straw­berry and cream meringue on the floor. It was too good to waste so it was scooped up and served in dishes and called Eton Mess as if it was meant to be like that. It is im­mensely pop­u­lar now. How do you make it? Well, just make a straw­berry and cream meringue and chuck it on the floor. No, not re­ally!

The great tra­di­tion of Eton

Mess be­ing served at Eton has lasted for more than a cen­tury and is still part of Eton Col­lege’s life to this day. Each year the col­lege prize-giv­ing takes place dur­ing June and, of course, the hos­pi­tal­ity is rather special. Eton Mess is on the menu ev­ery year with a few tweaks as some­times fruit other than straw­ber­ries is added and there is a hint of whisky or kirsch thrown in to the recipe. No­body has ever com­plained about the lat­ter so the tra­di­tion goes on.

These days Eton Mess is pop­u­lar in restau­rants all over the world and each time it is or­dered it is a trib­ute to both the great col­lege and the great county in which it re­sides.

CHEESE PLEASE

You just want some cheese and bis­cuits? No prob­lem, as some of the finest cheese is made in Berkshire – just ask Anne Wig­more, who set up the Vil­lage Maid Cheese dairy in 1986 at the end of her gar­den in Risely. Wig­more is a del­i­cate and creamy ewe’s milk cheese, and a sis­ter cheese to Water­loo, a del­i­cately flavoured, Guernsey cow’s milk cheese, also made by the Wig­mores. Anne must be a very busy lady, as she is also re­spon­si­ble for Spen­wood, a hard-pressed cheese made from un­pas­teurised ewe’s milk and named af­ter Spencers Wood in Berkshire, where it orig­i­nated. Fi­nally, just down the road in Barkham, ar­ti­san cheese mak­ers Sandy and Andy Rose of Two Hoots Cheese make Barkham Blue. This award-win­ning soft blue cheese is rich, smooth and but­tery, and won’t dis­ap­point.

Hope­fully this has given you just a taste of the glo­ri­ous food Berkshire has to of­fer, so that dur­ing Bri­tish Food & Drink Fort­night, from 19 Septem­ber to 4 Oc­to­ber, you will buy Bri­tish, and try one of these tra­di­tional Berkshire dishes.

Eton Mess

Some fine cheeses come from Berkshire

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