Books about England
The Taste of Britain

We like to explore England one county at a time. We get out the maps. We dig through the pile of England travel guides and history books about England that we have around the house to plan where to go and decide what to see.

All fairly normal, so far, but then I'd like to trawl my cookery books (or the internet) for culinary specialities of the places we're planning to visit. What is grown, brewed, baked or cooked? What's old? What's new? What has been revived?

So when I found this book, I was as pleased as punch. A great deal of research has gone into this ... and it offers loads of lovely, tasty interesting information in one handy volume.

Granted, it's a bit of a doorstop, and I would not take it with me on my travels, but it makes very relaxing reading in the bath - or comfily on the sofa in front of the fire. Preferably with a glass of red .. or some thoroughly English cider, mulled perhaps?

If you ever wanted to know why cobnuts are traditional to Kent, where Gentleman's Relish and jellied eels originate, when and where to eat Stuffed Chine, or what a Bedfordshire Clanger is ... then check out this book.

I've always liked apples, but I had no idea that traditional varieties vary by county.

The book's also very good about cheeses - a particular favourite of mine - listing the history and production methods in great detail - and about all manner of vegetables.

"The Taste of Britain" is essential reading if you're planning a foody holiday through England. But it's also very good for nosing through while getting up an appetite for lunch.

I bought this one as a treat for myself, but I'm sure it would also make a great gift for the food lover in your life. I certainly wouldn't have objected if I'd found it under the tree.