Our Food

8:00pm Wednesday 25 April on BBC TWO

Giles and the team head to the West of Scotland. This is a wild, remote landscape where food was once all about survival. Now it’s about exporting that produce to a wider world.

Giles learns how the deep sea lochs of the West are perfect for salmon farming. A fish caught in a river is subsistence food, but a fish farmed and smoked can be sold worldwide. In just 40 years Scottish salmon farming has become a billion pound industry.

James Wong discovers why the warm, wet climate of the west is so good for wild mushrooms, while the rest of the team find out how potatoes meant the difference between life and death during the Highland clearances.

Scottish food used to be about living off the land – catching, farming or growing what you could eat. Transport is the key to the story of the west of Scotland. This is a remote and wild landscape revolutionised by the coming of the railways in the Victorian era. Giles hitches a ride on all manner of trains to see how rail meant that food could travel.

Ep 4/4

8:00pm Wednesday 18 April on BBC TWO

Giles Coren and the Our Food team explore Kent. This is the garden of England, rich with orchards and fruitful harvests, but it’s also on the doorstep of continental Europe – a source of new tastes and ideas.

Giles gets a taste of what British beer was like before the arrival of hops, while Alys Fowler uncovers the real roots of English cherries. The team also discover lavender’s long history as a flavour as well as a fragrance and learn the secret of some mysterious buildings on Romney Marsh.

Giles sails through Kent on the Lady of the Lea, an original Thames barge built in 1931. Rivers and estuaries put Kentish food within easy reach of the markets of London – the barges were big enough to ply their trade in coastal waters but could also venture into narrow creeks to pick up goods direct from suppliers.

Giles learns the importance of getting the tides right and meets a huffler – someone whose job it was to lower the mast so the barge could pass under bridges and sail deep into the heart of Kent.

Ep 3/4

8:00pm Wednesday 11 April on BBC TWO

Giles Coren and the team head to North Wales, a place defined by nature and harnessed with sheer hard graft. Food here is about making the best of the basics.

Giles learns why Welsh Black cattle were once herded hundreds of miles to English markets and discovers that mussel farming can be a very muddy business, while Alex Langlands heads to Snowdonia to find out why sheep are one of the few animals to make the most of the mountains.

The team also learn about saffron’s place in British history and what makes Welsh sea trout so incredibly special.

Giles explores North Wales in the footsteps of the drovers, remarkable men who walked livestock huge distances to market. Before road, rail and supermarkets, farmers would sell their cattle to drovers, who would take them to fatten up on lush English grass and sell them in the markets of the Midlands and the South.

It’s a story that Giles has a personal connection to: his wife’s family were once drovers and he is going to pick up the trail in Anglesey and follow it all of the way to the Welsh border.

Ep 2/4

8:00pm Wednesday 4 April on BBC TWO

Our Food is a brand new four part series for BBC Two. Our landscape, our climate and our history define what we grow and where we grow it. In each episode, journalist Giles Coren explores a different corner of the British Isles in search of the foods that make us who we are.

From the black cattle of North Wales, who were once herded all the way to London, to the cherries of Kent that can be traced back to a sweet-toothed Henry VIII, British food is about much more than what we put on our plates.

Giles is joined on this journey by botanist James Wong, historian Lucy Worsley, archaeologist Alex Langlands and horticulturalist Alys Fowler. Together they discover how our soils and seas have shaped our tastes and traditions, travelling through Norfolk, North Wales, Kent and the West of Scotland to tell the story of Our Food.

In episode one Giles Coren embarks on a journey by wherry through Norfolk, a county where local, seasonal foods sit alongside large scale commercial agriculture.

Norfolk floats free at the end of the M11. This is a place with no motorway, no high speed rail links, no major airport – a place where isolation has allowed both tradition and enterprise to thrive. Giles learns how to tell the difference between a male and female crab when he gets a taste of life as a Cromer fisherman, while Lucy Worsley uncovers the Mexican past of the oh-so-traditional British turkey.

The team also discover how the humble turnip changed the way we farm and why half of our sugar comes from a grubby Norfolk root.

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