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8 Tasty and Traditional Kentish Foods


British Food Fortnight takes place between 22nd September to 7th October and celebrates all the wonderful food from the British Isles, from Cumberland Sausages to Cornish Brie, Lancashire Hot Pot to Eton Mess. Our nation is home to some amazing cuisine, but did you know some of the best-loved British foods actually originate in Kent?

It’s no surprise that our beautiful county has produced some famous foods and drink, our rich countryside, farming heritage and dramatic coastlines have contributed to a great culinary history. Here are 8 of Kent’s traditional foods that showcase the “Garden of England”:

Gypsy Tart 

The divisive pudding takes its name from an old tale of a local lady, who, upset by the sight of hungry gypsy children, created the sweet treat to feed them, hence the name Gypsy Tart! The tart is made from a pie crust, evaporated milk and brown sugar and is very popular treat at the Kent-Teach office! 

Sandwich

The humble sandwich is named after Lord John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Lord Montague was rumoured to have been a keen gambler and he ordered waiters to bring him meat between 2 slices of bread, so he could continue playing cards rather than break for meals. His friends would watch and order the “same as Sandwich” and thus the sandwich was born!

Ales

Kent is renowned for its hop growing heritage. The Shepherd Neame Brewery, the oldest brewery in England, is located in Faversham and has been on the same site since 1698. Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale is the breweries’ biggest selling cask ale and takes its name from the Kentish hops used to make the beer. 

Shepherd Neame produce a number of other ales, many with origins from Kent, these include:

  • Whitstable Bay collection: ales named after the nearby town of Whitstable.
  • Bishop’s Finger: a beer named after a finger-shaped signpost on the Pilgrim’s Way pointing to Canterbury and to Thomas Beckett’s shrine. This ale has EU Protected Geographical indication, which is the same accreditation that the likes of champagne and feta cheese are given.
  • Bear Island: this ale takes its name from the island that once sat in the brewery grounds in Faversham Creek. Many strange cargoes arrived at the island including a bear and its keeper! Bear Island is a nod to the breweries’ great trading past and the imports from the USA.

Strawberries 

Kentish strawberries are famous for being the best (I would say that living in Kent all my life!) and owe their great taste to our fertile soil and temperate climate. Kentish strawberries are so delicious that the Hugh Lowe Farms in Mereworth have been a trusted supplier at the Wimbledon Championships for a quarter of a century. According to the Wimbledon website, 34,000kg strawberries were consumed by visitors last year alone. 

Canterbury Tart

A Canterbury Tart is an apple tart with grated apple and lemon filling and decorated with sliced apples. The tart is so tasty that even Mary Berry has a recipe for the Kentish classic! The origin of the name of the pudding is unknown, but it may come from the recipe being first written down by Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of the Canterbury Tales.

Whitstable Oysters 

Whitstable oysters can only be found in the oyster beds in the vicinity of Whitstable, Kent. The Whitstable Oyster Company can trace its origins back to oyster farming in Kent in the 1400’s, but oysters were in fact discovered by the Romans who regarded the shellfish as a delicacy and shipped them back live to Rome! The town now hosts the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival where the local heritage is celebrated. 

Folkestone Pudding Pie

Also known as Kentish Pudding Pie or Kent Lent Pie; this dessert has a pie crust at the base and a rice pudding filling. Sultanas, currants, spices and lemon zest are added to the filling for flavour and sometimes the top of the tart for decoration. You can find a recipe for Folkestone Pudding Pie here.

Kentish Rarebit 

Kentish Rarebit is based on the Welsh Rarebit but is made with apples, another fruit with a rich history in Kent. Kentish Rarebit was a popular snack with fruit pickers in Kent’s orchards. You can make this simple dish yourself by mixing cheese and sliced apple, layering on bread and popping it under the grill. 

Now you have had a culinary tour of the county, why not get out an about and experience the beauty of Kent in person! Here are 8 things to do in Kent for free

Sources -

http://www.kent-life.co.uk/food-drink/9-of-kent-s-traditional-dishes-1-5362571 

https://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/beer

http://whitstableoystercompany.com/heritage/ 


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