Place names can be so interesting, comparing them across countries or even within one country. The UK is full of diverse place names, with their origins being inspired by different things, whether people, jobs, invasions, language. But it works in reverse too, with other items named after places they were invented in or inspired by. So what are the foods named after places through the years?
Some foods get PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) status which means they can only have the specific name if they’re produced in that region. In particular cheeses, champagne, and other foods have this status.
Foods named after places around the world
Champagne – from the Champagne region in France.
Bakewell tart – named after Bakewell, Derbyshire. It’s a shortcrust pastry shell with a layer of jam, frangipane and almond topping, a variation of the Bakewell pudding, which has a puff pastry base and an almond and egg filling. Legend has it that it was discovered following a recipe mistake. The recipe was included in the 1845 edition of Modern Cookery for Private Families, with the tart version arriving around 1900.
Neapolitan ice cream – vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream from Naples, Italy
Fig Newtons – the first Fig Newtons were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891 and named after Newton, Massachusetts.
Baked Alaska – the name was created at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City in 1876, celebrating the purchase of the Alaska territory with a new dessert on the menu.
Boston Cream Pie – Massachusetts’s official state dessert was invented at Parker’s Restaurant in Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel who decided to drizzle chocolate icing onto a vanilla custard-filled sponge cake.
There are various English regional fruit cakes.
Eccles cake – currant-filled pastries. It’s thought they were baked for a religious festival to celebrate St Mary of Eccles, long before James Birch was the first to sell them at his shop in the town of Eccles in 1793.
Chelsea bun – made by the Chelsea Bun Company in that area of London in 18th century.
Bath bun – Bath, Somerset. These are sweet rolls with sugar topping, and often dried fruit and peel through it.
Banbury cake – Banbury Oxfordshire – Banbury cakes are spiced, oval-shaped, currant-filled puff pastries.
Chorley cakes – Chorley Lancashire, these are flattened ‘pies made with shortcrust pastry and raisins.
Blackburn cakes – Blackburn, Lancashire, these are similar to Eccles cakes but made with stewed apple inside.
Eton mess – famously served in the tuck shop at Eton College in Berkshire. The original recipe also included bananas.
Tangerine – originally tangerine orange, meaning “an orange from Tangier,” in Morocco.
Kendal mint cake – this sweet minty slab was developed from an accident, invented in 1869, when confectioner Joseph Wiper left the boiled solution for glacier mints overnight and it went cloudy. It was named after Kendal, Cumbria, where his wife’s family sweet company was based. These high sugar treats were famously used by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team to replenish their glucose levels when they scaled Everest in 1953. Three Kendal companies continue to manufacture it today – Romney’s, Quiggin’s and Wilson’s.
Cheeses are often named after their place of origin.
- Monterey Jack – Monterey, California.
- Manchego – produced in the La Mancha region of Spain
- Gorgonzola – from the town of that name in Lombardy, Italy
- Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) – from locations originally spread between Parma and Reggio Emilia in Italy
- Roquefort – after Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in France
- Edam – town in north Holland region
- Gouda – named after the Gouda cheese market, the Netherlands
- Cheddar, Cheshire, Wensleydale, Red Leicester, Double Gloucester all from those places in England.
- Stilton – was named after the place in England, but can’t be made there due to it being outside the 3 permitted counties it can be produced in.
Yorkshire puddings – started out as a ‘dripping pudding’ to collect the juices under roasting meat. In 1747 author Hannah Glasse renamed it in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
Worcestershire sauce – Worcester, England. In the early 1800s, Lord Sandys, a nobleman, returned from travels in Bengal and hired two chemists, John Lea and William Perrins, to try to duplicate a sauce he tasted during his trip. Their first batch failed, and the two men left the jars in their cellar. A few years later, they came across the jars and decided to taste the sauce. The exact recipe is closely guarded by creators Lea & Perrins, who are still based in Worcester, but it is a combination of fermented anchovies, vinegar, molasses, spices, garlic, shallots and tamarind.
Chicken Kiev – breadcrumbed chicken with garlic butter filling. Not actually coming from its namesake in Ukraine, instead popularised in the US.
Frankfurters – hotdog style sausages from Frankfurt, Germany,
Hamburger – Hamburg, Germany, Germans used to eat it alone, Americans put it in a bun to create the hamburger.
Spaghetti bolognese – Bologna, Italy. Named ragu alla bolognese, or ragu.
Parma ham – a cured ham from Parma, Italy (proscuitto de parma, or parma ham)
Brussel Sprouts – Brussels, Belgium. Loved or hated, Brussels Sprouts were originally a mini wild cabbage.
Boston baked beans – In the 1600s and 1700s, the New England area had an abundance of baked beans and molasses, a byproduct of processing cane sugar that is used during the rum distillation process. People experimented putting the two together and created Boston baked beans.
Buffalo wings – Buffalo, New York. According to Buffalo’s official city website, “chicken wings originated in the kitchen of the Anchor Bar in 1964”.
Carragheen – named after Carragheen near Waterford, Ireland – A type of edible seaweed (also called Irish Moss).
Mayonnaise – Mahon, Minorca. The origin of mayonnaise’s name is disputed, but some French sources say the sauce was named “in recognition of Mahon, captured by France [in] 1756 after the defeat of the British defending fleet in the Seven Years’ War.”
Hollandaise sauce – Holland – Originally called Sauce Isigny, named after a small town in Normandy famous for its butter and cream. But during World War I, butter production came to a halt in France and had to be imported from Holland. The name was changed to hollandaise to indicate the source of the butter and was never changed back.
And not of course, forgetting places that are named after food
Places with food names
(find more here places named after food)
- Two Egg, Florida
- Toast, North Carolina
- Sandwich, Massachusetts
- Chicken, Alaska
- Fries, Virginia,
- Popcorn, Indiana
- Fruitdale, Oregon
- Fruitland, Maryland
- Orange, New Jersey
- Orangeburg, South Carolina
- Peachtree City, Georgia
- Peach Creek, West Virginia
- Apple Valley, San Bernadino
- Cookietown, Ok
- Pie Town, New Mexico
- Oatmeal, Tx
- Soda Springs Utah
- Eggs and Bacon Bay, Tasmania (Vegans have requested a change in name to Apple and Cherry Bay)
- Margherita, Assam India,
- Teapot, Stirling
- Nut Crackers, Devon
- Fryup, Yorkshire
- Burgar, Orkney (as well as Stews, The Kettle and FIllets)
- Chocolate, Mexico and Bolivia
Can you imagine how hungry you’d always feel living in a place with a foodie name!