Let’s Dig In
A tantalizing tradition of daybreak delicacies is a boasting point for the British. Across the country, dawn is met with aromas of roasted meats, sweet teas and of course, baked beans. With so many delectable dishes to choose from, and a love of formalizing just about anything, it’s no surprise there are so many long-standing habits around the most important meal of the day.
In fact, breakfast is so ingrained in English culture that it has become the national dish. Although there are some squabbles over what ingredients make the meal “traditional”, it seems most agree on a mix of bacon, eggs how you like ‘em, a sizzling sausage, fried tomato and mushrooms, a spoonful of baked beans, warm toast, and if you’re brave – some black pudding. Talk about setting yourself up for the day!
With so many options at hand, Graduate Hotels sent the Accidentally Wes Anderson team to the UK to explore the traditions, the pastries, and answer the age-old question: to bean or not to bean (baked that is…).
The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels
Because it’s the most important meal of the day, the sunrise treats don’t stop when the clock strikes noon. Fun fact: Before the 1800s, there were only two meals served during the day, that is until the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained of “having that sinking feeling” in the late afternoon. (Don’t we all, Dutchess!) To keep her floating till dinner, she would have tea & tiny bites delivered to her quarters and invite her friends to join her for midday munchies, now lovingly known as an “afternoon tea.”
The roots of an English Breakfast can be traced back to the 13th century, when England’s “guardians of tradition” known as the gentry took breakfast to the next level in order to woo their guests. The Victorians are the one who ran with turning it into a true art form decorated with imported china and silver saucers.
Graduate Cambridge “Garden House”
PROMINENT PASTRIES & CAFFEINATED RIVALRIES
For those less interested in a savory start to the day, a sweet balance is thankfully available with staples from sponge cake to butter-covered crumpets, or chelsea buns served by a woman who’s made more than 5 million by hand after 50 years behind the counter.
Queen’s College Dining Hall
Breakfast heritage and formality are even instilled in student life, but it’s likely most formalized at the country’s prominent Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Their dining halls are fit for a queen and ready to take on any quintessentially British tradition.
The Grand Cafe
Steeped leaves aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Coffee hit the English countryside around the late 1600s with a proper frenzy of popularity. Today, two of the original Oxford coffee houses still stand directly across the street from one another with dueling “oldest in town” declarations. Best to try both, just in case one is fibbing about their opening date.