Wimbledon qualifying matches have started this week, is anyone else already hooked? Whether you’re lucky enough to attend any of the games over the next few weeks or you’re planning to support the matches from home, there’s one common factor you need to consider – the spread of food you’re going to serve. As with any sports tournament us Brits get obsessed with each year – from the Olympics to the FIFA World Cup, we like to make it a huge event with family and friends all getting together to watch the biggest games. Inevitably, this means we need to put on a bit of a buffet for everyone to enjoy.
With Wimbledon, there’s a few obvious choices for snacks – beginning with strawberries and cream.
The combination has become hugely associated with the summertime games, first served at a Wimbledon Tournament in 1877, when 200 people attended the Championships. According to the Wimbledon catering website, in 2016, 23 tonnes of strawberries were served, which equals over 2 million berries – and that’s only at the games alone, never mind everyone at home joining in the fun!
You may wonder why strawberries and cream? Historians date is back to Thomas Wolsey – a hugely influential figure in King Henry VIII’s court, he’s actually the one who built Hampton Court Palace. It’s claimed he first served the strawberries and cream combination at a banquet in 1509 – back then, dairy products were seen by the upper class as peasant food and so it’s not clear why he decided to serve it to the King’s Court. However many put this down to the fact Wolsey would entertain 600+ guests at a time and so logistically, with two extravagant feasts per day, strawberries and cream was an easy addition! Tudors actually used to make their way through 44 courses at the dinner table, which seems outrageous today but back then was just a symbol of their wealth and luxury. The easy desert was understandably loved by the chefs as they didn’t need to put much preparation into it! Hampton Court Palace’s tennis courts also had staff who served the snack to spectators and so it’s thought by many for this tradition to have transferred to Wimbledon.
150,000 glasses of Pimm’s are served during the course of the Championship. Pimms has always been ‘quintessentially British’ and so it goes hand in hand with Wimbledon very nicely as their sponsor.
To make the perfect Pimms jug:
There’s a few other flavours of Pimms, so if you’re wanting to spice things up a bit this year try Blackberry & Elderflower – it’s our favourite!
190,000 sandwiches are served in Wimbledon – the nations top fillings are ham & cheese, fish fingers, chicken & bacon and tuna & cucumber. Encased in some crusty bread, make a few of these sandwiches and lay them on a platter with a side salad. Remember – since people are just going to run to get some food whilst they try not to miss any of the action, it needs to be easy and non- messy, which leads us on to the highlight of any buffet…
The humble pork pie! Use a mixture of our flavours – cheese & pickle snack pies, mini pork and pickle pies and then add in a few plain mini or snack pies just in case people would prefer to add their own flavour with their accompaniments. Important on any buffet is the sauce used – remember the big game players; ketchup and brown sauce, then add some piccalilli, coleslaw and branston pickle!
All you need then is a few crisps and voila – main course, pudding and drinks complete! Now you’ve made a very easy – and tasty – spread, you can settle down and enjoy the Championships! Who’s your favourite to win?