There is such a wealth of brilliant food folk in Birmingham. Oh yes, you wouldn’t normally think of the UK’s second city as a Foodie Haven but I can assure that it has something to satisfy every food craving you have. I speak from a solid three month stint of eating ALL* the food in Birmingham. From food fairs to Michelin starred restaurants Birmingham has food for all budgets and tastes. There are locally grown and produced food manufacturers who are really starting to put Birmingham on the food map. And there is a big passion for all things tasty in the Midlands capital.
Locally-grown and produced
Surrounding Birmingham is gorgeous countryside and plenty of space for home-grown food. The Midlands as a region is renowned for awesome food products whether it is the Evesham asparagus grown in the south of region, Stilton cheese and Pork Pies from Melton Mowbry in the East, Herefordshire apples and pears in the West. And let’s not forget that Birmingham brought us brand favourites Cadbury chocolate, Bird’s Custard, HP Sauce and Typhoo Tea.
What I find exciting is the small independents passionately growing or producing their own foods. Local entrepreneurs making their own foodstuffs include Miss Macaroon’s social enterprise, providing training and employment to young people as well as making the best macaroons I’ve ever tried. And there is Tan Rosie making incredibly fresh homemade Caribbean treats, Miss Apple with her Brazilian Brigaderios and Devenish Girl making delicious baked treats.
Birmingham plays host to plenty of regular food markets, festivals and fairs. I think there has been some kind of foodie opportunity every week since I moved here. There are regular markets in Moseley and at the MAC centre. Recent festivals included the Colmore Business District Food Festival and the Brindleyplace Chilli Festival. And we are soon see the Birmingham International Food Festival in August.
Restaurants and Eateries
Birmingham boasts three Michelin-starred restaurants, Purnell’s, Simpson’s, Turner’s, but with over 200 restaurants to choose from you are spoilt for choice. Brindleyplace boasts an incredible Thai restaurant called Thai Edge. Chinatown has so many Chinese restaurants to choose from I have yet to pick a favourite. And as the home of the Balti, it is hard not to find a decent curry. My pick includes Purnima, Pushkar and Sheehen Kadah.
On Friday evenings you can pop down to Digbeth, home of the Custard Factory arts and cultural complex, to sample the city’s first street food fair, Digbeth Dining Club. Each week different food stalls set up to serve delicious street food. It’s a great atmosphere.
That’s a damn fine cup of coffee
In the past few years Birmingham has seen some perfectly formed independent coffee shops spring up around the city. If you are passionate about your coffee, then make like Agent Cooper and get yourself to brilliant coffee shops such as Six Eight Kafe, Urban Coffee Co. or Yorks Bakery.
Booze Glorious Booze
Of course, this wouldn’t be a High Tea Cast post without some mention of booze. And Birmingham has some fantastic home-grown treats. For cider lovers there is Aston Manor cider, which is grown and produced in the city. The smoky Malvern Oak cider is rather delicious.
Just outside the city, the Langley distillery has been producing gin for decades. They make 60 different gins which are sent all over the world. Their newest product is a home gin aptly name Langley No.8 Gin, it appears to marketed at men, but as a lifelong Snickers fiend, I tend to ignore gender-based advertising. And if you are a gin-fiend the brilliant Jekyll & Hyde Gin Parlour is probably worth a visit.
Birmingham is a really up-and-coming city with a larger proportion of the population under 30 years old. We are seeing lots of innovation in the city and this includes quite an exciting culinary scene. It is really quite tricky to sum up all of the gastronomic delights in just the short space of a blog post. All I can do is recommend you get yourself over to the city for a food-filled expedition. You won’t regret it!
*possibly an exaggeration, it depends on which angle you look at me from.
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