The county’s food, glorious food
It’s British Food Fortnight, so it is time to shine a light on food from Berkshire, some of which even has Royal approval
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.
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.
Some fine cheeses come from Berkshire