The Food of Love…
If it’s good enough for the Queen…
We start our piece on food in Oxfordshire with marmalade – what else? Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade began life in the 1870s. It is said that the product travelled to the Antarctica with Captain Scott and that the Queen has it for breakfast.
It was once manufactured in what is now the Jam Factory – an Oxford restaurant, gallery and bar. Jan Morris and Mark Morris sum it up appropriately, “Oxford and Marmalade will always go together”.
Sausage and sauce
What other foodie products can we attribute to the city of Oxford? There’s Oxford sausages, or Oxford Skate; skinless, curved and made by combining pork and veal (or lamb). Make it especially Oxonian by buying them at Oxford’s covered market. You might love your sausages even more with some Oxford Sauce, a spicy table sauce with lemon zest.
Have a dessert…
First made in Kiddington and since passed down through farming families, Hollygog Pudding is a syrupy, buttery, great-with-custardy desert baked in milk. It can be nostalgic, it’s comforting, it’s indulgent…and it doesn’t even take much effort to make.
Room for more?
We couldn’t have a love issue without something a bit cheesy. An awful lot of us have made healthy eating type resolutions for 2015. But we all deserve a treat now and again…why shouldn’t that arrive in the form of Oxford Blue? First produced in the 1990s by the Oxford Cheese Company, Oxford Blue is a blue cheese with its own uniqueness. It’s no surprise that the Oxford Cheese Company were able to manufacture such a wonderful blue cheese given their expertise in making Stilton. Oxford Blue is creamier than Stilton and has a wetter and stickier rind. It has won gold medals at the British Cheese awards and can be found in fine food retailers and specialist cheese stores.
It’s satisfying to pull a pint of Brakspear (much more fun than the beers pumps you only have to pull down the once) and it’s satisfying to drink one. In 1779 Robert Brakspear went to work in Henley-on-Thames at Richard Hayward’s brewery and Malthouse. Hayward, Brakspear’s uncle, died in 1797 and Brakspear inherited half of the business (having already been made a partner in 1781). In 1803 he took control of the whole business. He passed away in 1812 and not long after the brewery relocated from Bell Street to New Street (also in Henley-on-Thames). William Henry, Robert’s son, took charge of Brakspear in 1848; he brought in his sons, Archibald and George, and they ran things following their father’s death in 1882.
Brakspear’s Henley brewery was shut in 2002. It moved to the Wychwood Brewery site in Witney. It is here that those beers we love, Brakspear Bitter, Brakspear Triple and Brakspear Oxford Gold, are lovingly brewed.
A family brewed beer, an honest beer, “The Oxfordshire Beer”…Brakspear.
Images - Image Credit: Brakspear Beers