What do you get when an English breakfast crosses the Channel? An English-style brunch! After a late night, refuel with hearty fare from the British Isles.
Americans may have popularised the brunch, but it was the English who invented the term. And who better to do so than the people whose traditional morning table overflows with so many mouth-watering and substantial dishes?
What is an English brunch
Full disclosure: If you’re in England and ask for an ‘English brunch’, people are likely to raise their eyebrows. The truth is that the concept of brunch, even in the birthplace of the word, is American – pancakes with maple syrup, sweetened French toast, giant cinnamon rolls… you get the picture.
What the British are known for is their breakfast. The ‘full English’ – or ‘full Irish’, ‘full Wales’, etc, depending on your locale – is a sizeable mid-morning meal that arose in the 13th century. Farmers and labourers broke their fast at the break of dawn, but the gentry was slower to rise. And when they did, they wanted a substantial meal.
Elements of a proper English breakfast
Today’s English breakfast contains certain foods. Eggs are a must, and they’re usually scrambled or fried – preferably sunny-side up for that yummy runny yolk. Meat is another mainstay. Especially popular are rashers (back bacon) and plump sausages. Black pudding, or blood sausage, might also make an appearance.
Side dishes are equally important: baked beans, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes and buttery toast. The typical spreads are marmalade or Marmite, a sticky brown paste made of yeast extract. Chips or hash browns are a nice extra touch. It’s little wonder that this meal is sometimes called a fry-up!
For those looking for a healthier version of the English breakfast, the choices are just as delicious: poached or boiled eggs, thin ham, vegetarian sausages, grilled tomatoes, lightly sautéed mushrooms and fresh fruit.
A spot of tea
The proper English beverage for a proper English breakfast is tea. In fact, there’s a blend made expressly for it. Robust and assertive, English Breakfast is a mixture of aromatic black teas that’s strong enough to rouse the drinker and accompany this hearty meal.
Although purists may protest, coffee and orange juice have entered the English breakfast menu. We say why not? The more the merrier!
Where to find an English brunch
Hungry for a full English at brunch time? No need to cross the Channel. Several restaurants offer this bountiful meal. Saphir 24 Bistro in Monte Carlo serves a daily English breakfast with views of the shimmering Mediterranean. Also in Monaco is Azzurra Kitchen, whose classic brunch includes all the traditional English breakfast dishes plus continental favourites such as pastries, granola and fromage blanc.
Whether you call it an English breakfast or English brunch, this meal is always filling, delicious and satisfying. Come hungry!
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