When moving to a new country (as you do), you expect to get presented with new food. Whether it’s interesting ways of cooking fish (Norway), soft biscuits (Russia), fifty shades of rice (Japan) or pumpkin pie (America), there’s always something that stands out as different. Of course, some countries have many more of these than others. Norway starts running out after brunost, reindeer and herring for breakfast, but Japan could keep you going for years. Not to mention the odd local willing to play a game of “Gross out the Gaijin” if he thinks you think you’re getting a bit too localised.

England, though, is definitely on the tame side of this scale. There’s crumpets and faggots.   Spotted dick and toad-in-the-hole. And that’s probably about it. Unless you include Wales and Scotland, in which case you can add Laver bread and Haggis.

But still, even after having been here for two years, occasionally something new pops up that gives me a little surprise. Most recently it was Soreen, which I was introduced to on the cycle trip. This is a malt bread, sold in a loaf about 2x3x8 (inches, that is). You slice it (unless you’ve forked out the extra quid for a pre-sliced loaf), lop on loads of butter, put the slices back together in pairs, and stick it back in the packet. Then it’s ready to go with you.

The result is a dark, tough, chewy doughy sort of stuff. It’s a bit fruity, a bit yeasty perhaps, but wonderfully edible. You can chew and suck it for ages before it finally gives up and lets you swallow it. It’s the only product I know which uses the word “squidgy” to describe itself, and considers it a positive term.

I love it. And not just because it knocks the stuffing out of faggots.

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6 Responses to Soreen

  1. amesforster says:

    Soreen is a brand name for the loaf. It is really just malt loaf. It’s nice in the afternoon with a pot of tea!

    • Nick says:

      I can’t say I’m a big tea drinker (usually only when there’s no decent coffee about), but I’ll give it a try. I know it’s a brand name, but it’s how it’s referred to around here. Don’t know of any other brands/companies that make it.

      • amesforster says:

        It’s interesting when a brand name catches on like that… though I suppose it really is the major brand for malt loaf! I am convinced that Sun Maid made a malt loaf. I know my mum got hers from the bakery in the town / or a cheap skate supermarket own brand one.

        Tea is lovely. 🙂

    • Brad Nixon says:

      This sounds like one more British Food that really gains appeal after one has cycled a hundred miles or so through soggy weather. In fact, being intimately acquainted with British Food, it’s all better after a hundred miles of heavy uphill pedaling. I think you’re having a LEJOG flashback, me lad.

      • Nick says:

        Spot on, as usual. It certainly gains appeal in those circumstances, but it has a higher base than most British foods to start with. This makes it nearly digestible in bright sunlight, and hence downright delectable for most of summer.

    • Nick says:

      I think I’ve just had an epiphany of sorts on tea. I would never drink old, worn-out, coffee, but the only tea I seem to imbibe is the tea-bagged sort where the bags have been in a tin in my cupboard for months. Perhaps if I went and got fresh tea from a decent vendor, I might be in for a treat.
      But then, I think I only have space for snobbery regarding one beverage…

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