The rural county of Lincolnshire on England’s east coast has a long and proud agricultural history. Its green hills and wolds are intertwined with sprawling farmland, where around 20% of the domestic food consumed today in the UK is produced.
Wherever you travel in Lincolnshire, the quality of the locally sourced food is always outstanding, with preparation traditions passed down through generations of farming families. Lincolnshire’s only city, historic Lincoln, is the perfect place to try the county’s most famous dishes and delicacies. So, let’s take a look at what to eat in Lincoln, and where.
1. Lincolnshire sausages
Perhaps the most famous food from this part of the UK is the Lincolnshire sausage, with roots dating back to the 19th century. Its distinctive flavour comes from the key ingredient, sage, which is combined with coarsely ground meat, breadcrumbs, and some subtle seasoning and spices.
In Lincoln you will find Lincolnshire sausages everywhere, from butchers’ counters to the tables of restaurants at any time of day. Try some for breakfast at the Sizzling Griddle café, or snack on a Lincolnshire sausage roll from local butcher Pepperdine & Son in the city centre.
2. Afternoon tea in a Lincoln tea room
One of the most enjoyable things to do in Lincoln is to treat yourself to an afternoon tea in one of the city’s many tea rooms. Nothing says classic Britain more than an afternoon tea on a summery day!
Indeed, Lincoln takes the afternoon tea tradition almost to extremes. Although a small city, it has more than a dozen tea rooms, and each serves afternoon tea with its own special twist. One of the most creative is Margaret’s Tea Rooms, which has an original range of craft infused teas you can choose to accompany your sandwiches, pork pies, scones and cakes.
3. Lincolnshire plum bread
A baker called Charles Myers is believed to have baked the first ever loaf of Lincolnshire plum bread at a six-sail windmill in the small town of Alford in 1901. Its popularity quickly spread across the county; the Myers family are now based in nearby Horncastle and still make the original recipe.
Lincolnshire plum bread is a simple, fruity loaf that is perfect topped with butter, cheese or a homemade preserve. It is served in many of Lincoln’s tea rooms, and perfect for a light lunch between sightseeing. Try one of the very best at Bunty’s Tea Room on Lincoln Steep Hill.
4. Lincolnshire Poacher cheese
Several unique varieties of cheese are made in Lincolnshire, but perhaps the most distinctive is Lincolnshire Poacher. It has been produced on the same farm in the scenic Lincolnshire Wolds for more than a century using the milk of Holstein Friesian cows.
Lincolnshire Poacher is a versatile cheese with a strong and nutty flavour. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has championed its usage in a poacher pie; it’s also great in sandwiches, on toast, or simply on its own with a glass of full-bodied red wine.
The producers of Lincolnshire Poacher always come to Lincoln Farmers Market on the third Saturday of every month. You can buy the classic version from them, or other varieties such as smoked, vintage, or the extra-strong double barrel.
5. Stuffed chine
If you want to try something adventurous and unique when visiting Lincoln, then look out for stuffed chine. This traditional delicacy has been passed down through generations of butchers in Lincolnshire; and is impossible to find anywhere else in the UK.
In fact, stuffed chine is so scarce that when the French Poet Paul-Marie Verlaine spent a year in Lincolnshire in the 1870s, he became so enamoured that he looked for it everywhere else he went in Britain, to no avail.
Stuffed chine is made by cutting deep scores into pork neck and packing it with parsley, before it is steamed and then chopped by hand. It’s a meticulous process that takes several weeks by the traditional method.
It’s getting harder to find any butchers that still make stuffed chine; just a handful of dedicated specialists continue the tradition. One of these is Curtis of Lincoln, a local family business dating back to the 19th century. Look out for their shops all over Lincoln to try some.
Another butcher’s speciality that has its roots in Lincolnshire is haslet, a pork meatloaf infused with herbs. The name derives from an old French word meaning “entrails”, as it was originally made with pig offal, liver and lungs.
Today haslet is usually made with minced pork and seasoning, and – like Lincolnshire sausages – sage. By the traditional Lincolnshire method it is encased in caul fat before cooking, which gives it a crispy brown casing.
Redhill Farm is an award-winning butcher in Lincoln that is renowned for supplying major sporting venues such as Wimbledon and Lord’s Cricket Ground. They make a fantastic haslet, which you can buy from their shop just a few paces away from the city’s spectacular cathedral.
7. Beef and Lincolnshire ale pie
Steak and ale pie is a staple across the UK, but in Lincoln you can enjoy one with the distinct feature of a local ale from a Lincolnshire brewery.
Brown’s Pie Shop is a local Lincoln restaurant that has become an institution in the city. It’s located near the top of Steep Hill, in a building where Lawrence of Arabia once lived, and that has been a stable, grocery, boarding house, pub, book shop, and watchmakers over the centuries.
Since the 1980s Brown’s has become established as the best place to eat homemade pies in Lincoln, and of course, one of their classics is the beef and Lincolnshire ale pie. Round off your day of sightseeing perfectly by trying one for dinner.
Bio: Alex of Lincoln and Beyond
Alex Trembath is the co-founder of Lincoln and Beyond, an award-nominated blog that aims to help people love their time in Lincoln, whether you’re a local or visiting from afar. He lives in Lincoln and is passionate about the city, having grown up in the area as well. With more than 20 years’ writing experience, Alex creates stories that go behind the scenes of Lincoln’s hospitality businesses, as well as inspirational guides to visiting places and attractions across Lincolnshire. Follow Alex from Lincoln and Beyond on Facebook and Instagram.
Other posts you might like
- What to eat in Valencia
- Feldkirch visit
- What to eat in Vienna
- Tongariro crossing – a tough hike
- What to do on a weekend in Paris