Celebrate The 2022 Boat Race – foodie-style!

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Celebrate The 2022 Boat Race - foodie-style

 

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On Sunday, April 3rd, The Boat Race will return to its home on the Thames, after having taken place behind closed doors last year. This year is the 167th outing of the men’s Boat Race and the 76th race for the women’s teams. Being a Cambridge graduate myself, I’ll obviously be cheering for the light blues (and I’d also like to point out that, historically, Cambridge have chalked up more wins than Oxford in both the men’s and women’s races…)

No doubt there will be plenty heading down to the river to cheer on their team – or simply to soak up the atmosphere. But if you’re celebrating the occasion at home – as I will be – there’s got to be food and drink on tap, right?

So here’s an idea. Whether you’re cheering on Cambridge or Oxford, or whether you’re just looking for themed ideas for a Boat Race get-together at home, why not create an occasion that’s centred around the food and drink that each city is known for?

The decor

First things first…the decor! Go for the light blue of Cambridge or the dark blue of Oxford, depending on which team you’re cheering on – or a mix of the two if you’re neutral. Bear in mind this is a historic event with a lot of prestige…so why not use it as an excuse to dig out your finest crockery, your smartest antique silver and your fanciest Champagne flutes?

Celebrate The 2022 Boat Race - foodie-style - antique silver champagne flutes

Traditional recipes

If it’s BBQ weather by that point, Oxford Sausages could be a winner – traditionally made with both pork and veal, as opposed to just pork, they’re highly-spiced bangers that date back at least to the early 18th century. For a sticky glaze, why not use Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade, which was first created in Oxford in 1874?

Moving over to Cambridgeshire, the mostly-forgotten Huntingdon Fidget Pie. Traditionally made around harvest time, when apples are abundant, it’s a great choice for a crowd. Featuring a pastry case packed with streaky bacon, apples, cider and onions, the top is traditionally cut back to show the filling – there’s a recipe here, if you want to give it a try.

Something sweet

Thought to originate from Trinity College, Cambridge, Cambridge Burnt Cream is a surefire way to impress your guests! Essentially the English version of crème brûlée, you’ll find a recipe here if you want to give it a go.

Cambridge Burnt Cream

Alternatively, give this recipe from 1615 a tryCambridge Pudding is a spiced suet and breadcrumb pudding with dried fruit, historically served with a sauce made with fortified white wine (sack), butter and sugar.

Oxford has something similar in the form of New College Pudding. Alternatively, you could go for a Hollygog Pudding: a golden-crusted traditional pudding from the Oxfordshire village of Kiddington. Don’t forget the Banbury Cakes too – similar to Eccles Cakes, but generally cut into ovals rather than rounds.

Cheese and wine

Stilton is a great – yet controversial – choice for a Boat Race cheese board. It was originally sold in the Cambridgeshire village of Stilton, but because of its Protected Geographical Status it can no longer be made there. You’ll be able to find a few cheeses made in Cambridgeshire, though – from the soft, unpasteurised Whyte Wytch to Cambridge Gumburner – a highly-aged version of Lincolnshire Poacher.

From Oxfordshire, a good, creamy Oxford Blue is a must. And if you’re after a goat’s cheese to round your cheese board off, take a look at those created by Norton & Yarrow Cheese.

A cheese board without wine just doesn’t seem right – and sparkling seems fitting for a celebratory occasion! Check out Hendred Vineyard in Oxfordshire and Chilford Hall in Cambridgeshire for some fantastic English sparkling wines.

 

Do you have any other favourite foods and drinks from Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire? Let me know in the comments!

 

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