British food is often unfairly maligned on the internet. The most popular complaint is that the British don’t like using spices, so traditionally, British food is bland and tasteless.
Not so fast!
While there are definitely some dishes that could be a bit more flavorful, UK pantry staples are most often the only argument you need against such a statement.
British & Irish snacks, sweets, and condiments are an explosion of flavor, often unusual and unique, something you’re not going to find anywhere else.
And you can easily find some of these staples right here at Yummy Bazaar! Shop Irish & British food online, save time and energy, and experience the full spectrum of flavors Great Britain has to offer.
Those not in the know often get confused over this word. It’s simply the British (and Irish way) of calling potato chips. What we call potato chips, UK residents call deep-fried string-cut potatoes, similar to French fries. So the iconic fish & chips dish, chips do not mean what an average American might think they mean.
What makes crisps a worthy addition to any foodie’s pantry is the unique flavors they come with. Irish Tayto chips, for example, have a flavor selection you’ll hardly ever find in American stores, such as “beef and onion,” “prawn cocktail,” “cheddar cheese and green onion,” etc.
By the way, Tayto chips also have gluten-free options for those who need to be careful with their gluten intake.
Cookies. Sorry, Biscuits!
If there’s one food no one has ever chastised Britain over, it’s biscuits. British biscuits are a famous classic, and for a good reason. The most popular variety in the UK might just be digestives. Digestives do not help with digestion; this misconception stems from the old belief that sodium bicarbonate used during baking gave them antacid properties.
But they’re light, not overly sweet, and easy to stomach even when one’s not feeling well, so the name might not be that wrong. McVitie digestive biscuits are likely the most popular digestives both in the UK and globally, and they come in various flavors to satisfy even the pickiest cookie lovers.
Another cookie to pay attention to would be the traditional Scottish shortbread biscuit. Rich and buttery texture combined with light sweetness make it very hard to control yourself with them. But man, are they worth it!
Where there are biscuits, there is tea! While you can definitely eat McVitie digestive biscuits or Scottish shortbread on their own, you haven’t had a complete experience with them if you haven’t lightly dunked them in tea first.
Preferably British tea, of course. If you don’t know where to start with English teas (understandable, there’s a lot to choose from), then going with breakfast blends is a safe choice.
Do keep in mind, though, that English, Scottish, and Irish Breakfast teas are all slightly different from one another. All three are predominantly made with a blend of Ceylon and Assam black teas, but the combination varies.
English Breakfast tea is the brightest and lightest of them all, with Ceylon tea dominating the blend. If you’ve had British breakfast tea before, it was likely this one.
Scottish Breakfast tea is the least well-known of the three. It’s the strongest and most robust of the three, with a slightly bitter undertone. Aside from Ceylon and Assam, Scottish breakfast blends often use teas from Indonesia or China.
Irish Breakfast tea is bolder and more full-bodied than English but not as robust as the Scottish variety. It uses more Assam than Ceylon in the blend. Some consider it to be the basis for the most balanced cup of tea. If you’re a tea lover, trying Irish tea (along with biscuits!) is a must! Check out Barry’s Tea selection.
Jams & Marmalades
For those who don’t know: jam and marmalade are pretty similar, both being a type of thick fruit preserve, but there are a few key differences between the two. While the jam is made from the whole fruit, the marmalade is made with only certain parts (pulp, juice, and peel). Additionally, marmalade is supposed to contain some kind of citrus and is supposed to be thicker and less sweet than jam.
Unsurprisingly, jams and marmalades are a pretty big deal in the United Kingdom. They are eaten with toast, crackers, and scones. Alone, or with butter, or cream cheese. Jams (among those who prefer sweeter fruit preserves) and marmalades (among those who prefer more tangy flavors) are a regular presence in almost every pantry in the country.
If you’re shopping for Irish & British food online, skipping out on a jar of jam (or marmalade) would be a misstep. There’s a large variety of flavors to choose from, so you’re bound to find one that tickles your fancy!
Also, they make a really good present for friends with a sweet tooth.
We can’t not mention scones after we’ve discussed jams and marmalades. Scones are just as important to British tea tradition as biscuits. So much so that some would argue that scones are a type of biscuit. Most will disagree. The key difference? Eggs. Scones contain eggs, but biscuits don’t.
Scones are crunchy, buttery baked goods that are traditionally slightly sweet but can be savory if the maker wishes. They’re usually broken into two halves, smothered in cream cheese or butter, and topped with jam to accompany the tea.
Oh, and there’s another big difference with biscuits we should talk about. Biscuits can come from a box and taste great. Scones should be freshly baked (or at least no more than a day old) to taste their best.
Baking your own scones for the tea is pretty easy, especially if you have a scones mix that only requires adding a couple of ingredients and does the rest of the job for you. Add a bit of jam and enjoy with your cuppa for an authentic British experience.
Want to up the level of authenticity for your afternoon tea? Switch cream cheese to clotted cream! Clotted cream is made by heating cow’s milk (it should be full-fat) until ‘clots’ of cream rise to the surface. Originally this was done to separate cream from whey to have it last longer.
Clotted cream originated in the counties of Devon and Cornwall, so it’s often called Devon Cream, Devon Custard, or Cornish Cream, depending on where it’s made.
It’s thick, similar in consistency to soft butter, has a smooth texture due to its high-fat content, and has a very rich, subtly sweet, milky flavor.
The most popular way of consuming clotted cream is pairing it with freshly baked sweet scones and jam (or marmalade for those who like more tangy flavors, but the jam is a classic). It’s a staple of British tearooms, though its popularity hasn’t quite reached over the pond yet. A shame, indeed.
Another traditional way of using it is as a dessert ingredient or accompaniment. It’s used in ice creams and fudge or with cakes and traditional British puddings like spotted dick.
Interestingly, it can also be used in savory dishes like creme fraiche, though this is a far less popular option.
In any case, it’s a versatile and delicious product that deserves a place in your cart if you’re shopping for British food online.
British & Irish Candies & Chocolates
Hand over your heart, how many British & Irish candies and chocolates can you name? Maybe the iconic Cadbury or the famous Maltesers (chocolate-covered crunchy milk balls in iconic red packaging)? Maybe Smarties as well?
But the truth is, British (& Irish) candies rarely get the respect they deserve. Gourmet Irish chocolate is just so, so good. It’s silky-smooth, creamy, moderately sweet, and has a robust chocolaty aroma. Try Guinness chocolate if you’ve never had Irish chocolate before.
But chocolate isn’t where British sweets end. Want to try classic British hard candy? Check out a Simpkins selection: dozens of flavors ranging from classics like citrus, forest fruit, and butterscotch to unique flavors you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, like mulled wine, strawberry and crushed black pepper, and cherry-licorice.
HP sauce is a British classic that’s been, for the most part, unfairly maligned by the rest of the world (similar to clotted cream).
HP sauce is a type of brown sauce, somewhat similar to Worschestair sauce, but those in the know will claim the two are hardly interchangeable.
The main ingredients of HP sauce are tomatoes and tamarind extract. Still, its overall recipe is quite complex and calls for malt and spirit vinegar, sweeteners such as sugar and dates, and additional spices. It goes well with meat-based dishes and is often used both as a condiment and as an ingredient in soups, stews, and marinades.
HP sauce is rightfully considered to be a British icon. First, finding its way to British tables at the end of the 19th century, it has maintained its popularity for over 100 years and doesn’t seem to be going away anywhere soon.
Interesting tidbit: HP sauce was named after London’s Houses of Parliament. That’s where the HP comes from, not from the creator’s initials, as one may think.
Do you like adding mustard to your food? If it ranks anywhere in your top-20 condiments, you just have to try Irish mustard the next time you buy British food online.
Irish mustard is typically more potent and, some would say, harsher than traditional British mustard (of which Colman’s Mustard has become somewhat of a synonym at this point).
Irish mustard is distinctly spicy, tangy, and very flavorful, with bright golden color.
Oh, and the Irish wouldn’t be Irish if they didn’t find a way to add a bit of extra zing! Lakeshore mustard has varieties with whiskey and stout for those who are looking for truly unique products.
What makes porridge oats different from your regular run-of-the-mill oatmeal is that they’re raw, not steamed like rolled oats, and either cut or crushed but never flattened.
This process results in inconsistent shape and size, making porridge cooked with this type of oats more creamy.
Have you heard of Scottish porridge? It’s known to be creamier and smoother than regular oatmeal. Well, the secret is that it’s typically made with these oats. Porridge oats are usually either Scottish or Irish, depending on the manufacturer’s origin, but they commonly refer to the same product.
An Adventurer? Pay Attention to Unique Flavors!
The significant advantage of British & Irish ingredients is the unique flavor experience they have to offer. While we understand that classics are classics for a reason (never would dare to dunk on McVitie digestive biscuits!), don’t let unique flavors scare you away.
Add prawn Tayo chips, Simpkins strawberry and crushed clack pepper candy, or Belvoir Farm’s elderflower and rose sparkling lemonade to your cart while checking out our collection of British food online. You might have your next favorite right at your fingertips!