I was out in Neuss today, when I noticed a sign outside Lidl advertising their upcoming British food week.
Now, aside from my incredulity that Germans would be flocking to the supermarket to stock up on English fare, I have to admit that I was curious as to what Lidl would have selected as “British specialities”. The whole array was illustrated on a tartan tablecloth, so I supected there might be a Scottish theme – but apart from the shortbread, I can’t say I spotted one.
So, without further ado… I shall reveal the selection!
Starting at top left, we have a ready meal of fish and chips. Alaska pollack pieces though, rather than North Sea Cod. The chips claim to be extra fat… but there is no mention of mushy peas or malt vinegar on the box, so authentic it won’t be.
Next up – three flavours of crisps. Confusingly these are referred to as Chips – but these are different chips to the ones you get with your battered pollack pieces. The flavours are sea salt and balsemic vinegar, lightly salted and sea salt and black pepper. Oh dear oh dear. I don’t think any Brits would be rushing to buy those then! No malt vinegar, no cheese and onion, no prawn cocktail or smokey bacon or worcestershire sauce… not even any hedgehog or tandoori….
The luxury caramel shortcakes look nice. I think my Mum used to make those once in a blue moon. But moving across, even I have to admit defeat at the tea selection. The first one is called English Tea Time. The second is called 8 O’Clock Tea and the third is 5 O’Clock Tea. Now, I suspect just a hint of Germanism creeping into these brand names. I’m familiar with English Breakfast Tea… but only a German could be so precise as to dictate that it should be drunk at exactly 8 a.m. The same with the afternoon tea. Last time I looked, afternoon tea could perfectly well be taken any time from around 3 in the afternoon up to about half past six. Only a German would define tea time quite so rigidly. I’m thinking that the only option is to buy the one called English Tea Time… which by definition is any time you want a cuppa.
Across from the tea is some cheddar cheese. What a shame that for British week they picked the only type of English cheese regularly available in Germany anyway. Surely it would have been more interesting to have picked a crumbly Lancashire or a mature Wensleydale…
Next to the cheese is a tin of baked beans (not exactly Heinz, but at least I’ll grant them that it’s authentically part of the British diet). There are also what look like fake After Eight Mints… (though here the Germans are remarkably silent on the appropriate hour to eat these).
But I do confess to being very confused by the final items – which are three flavours of Joghurt British Style. At first glance these seem to be no different to anyone else’s fruit yoghurts…. but maybe I’m missing something here. What on earth is a British Style Yoghurt? Anyone?