The UK’s Favourite Food from the Northwest
Manchester Food & Drink Festival will fill the Northwest with flavours from across the globe this weekend (27th September – 8th October 2018). From churros and chaat, to gyoza, Philly cheesesteaks, cannoli, bubble waffles and more; scrumptious fare inspired by global food cultures will soon be making Mancunians feel very hungry indeed. We’re salivating already.
Manchester is a fantastic city for food. Home to “a little bit of everything” (in great quantities), there’s a lot of creativity and adventurousness to be found on Manchester’s foodie scene. But even before the foodie revolution, Manchester and the Northwest has long been home to plenty of homegrown deliciousness.
The Northwest of England, spanning Cumbria in the North, through Lancashire and Merseyside, Manchester to Cheshire to the South, has created some of Britain’s best loved dishes; from hotpots to Cumberlands. To celebrate the region’s traditional cuisine, we’ve created a list of the UK’s favourite Northwestern delicacies.
The classic Lancashire hotpot has its roots in the cotton industry which employed many Lancastrians in the 19th Century. Made using cheap and accessible ingredients (the original would likely have been made with mutton, then bulked up with once-cheap oysters), the Lancashire hotpot was traditionally prepared in the morning before work, then stewed all day, ready for the hungry cotton workers when they returned home.
Making your own sausages may seem like a lot of effort but, if you’re going to do it right – make Cumberlands. The key to a beautiful Cumberland sausage is using great meat – local and organic wherever possible. Add the traditional seasonings of sage, thyme, cayenne, ground mace, nutmeg, pepper and salt to create a true Northwestern classic.
Lesser known outside of the region, but every bit as cosy as a Lancashire hotpot, the traditional Liverpudlian dish of Scouse is believed to have come to the area from Ireland, in keeping with the city’s large Irish population who fled to the city in the mid 1800s during the potato blight. Scouse is an unthickened stew, made from lamb or beef, which will warm the cockles of your heart.
Sugary, sticky and crammed with currents, Eccles cakes are a true Northwestern treat. First made in the town of Eccles (now part of the Greater Manchester area), nobody knows who made the first Eccles cake. The very first record of an Eccles cake being sold commercially dates back to 1793, however, when James Birch sold the local favourites from his shop on Church Street.
The traditional Chorley cake is not a million miles away from an Eccles cake (quite literally, as the crow flies!), but much less sweet. Hailing from the South Lancashire market town of Chorley, these current-crammed “cakes” made from shortcrust pastry are locally known as fly pie, thanks to their black-dotted appearance. Many locals believe the recipes sprang up as a way to use up leftover pastry used in pies.
What’s your favourite Northwestern dish? Which Manchester Food & Drink Festival stalls will you be making a beeline for? Share your recipes and tips with other readers below.