2 December is English Breakfast Day, originally started in 1975 by the Chairman of the English Breakfast Society to celebrate a treasured national dish.
Now millions of fans globally participate in the occasion, which serves a triple purpose – supporting local farmers and butchers, attracting new fans, and giving this culinary icon a fitting tribute.
You can join in the fun on social media with the hashtag #EnglishBreakfast Day, but if you really want to get the most out of the English breakfast tradition, use our top tips for making them one of the most popular items on your menu.
So, what’s in a traditional English breakfast?
Bacon, eggs, (British) sausage, baked beans, black pudding, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, and toast (or fried bread) are the components of a classic English breakfast.
Now onto the tips…
Make it vegan
Plant-based diets and products have continued their meteoric rise over the past year, and now no breakfast menu is complete without a vegan option. Unlike in the past, when additional vegetable dishes would have to be substituted for meat ones, now vegans and vegetarians can enjoy their own bacon, sausage and black pudding. On Erudus you’ll find
Miami Burger’s Vegan Bacon, Quorn Vegan Cumberland Sausages, as well as own-brand vegan sausages from The Real Wrap Co and Central Foods. The Bury Black Pudding Co and The Patchwork Traditional Food Company both offer vegan black pudding varieties too.
Finally, a vegan English Breakfast that looks and tastes like an English breakfast!
The question of whether any kind of potato belongs on an English Breakfast is a divisive one – some say absolutely not, others argue that chips or fried potatoes are a tasty addition. Americans have always been fond of potatoes at breakfast, and their influence is being felt over here with the rise of the hashbrown. Shredded potato-shaped and fried, hashbrowns are a staple on fast-food breakfast menus, but if you want to add real hearty US charm to your English Breakfast why not try home fries?
Parboiled, cubed potatoes that are fried with onion, they’re both fluffy and crispy and will mop up any residual meat juice, bean sauce and egg.
Go for gluten-free
With allergies on the up, allergy-friendly menu options are more in demand than ever. Offering a gluten-free English breakfast will make all the difference to the many with Coeliac Disease and gluten sensitivities. And there’s no need to amend the components of the traditional English breakfast – as Erudus proves, there are tons of gluten-free sausages, black pudding and bread options on the market, including Korker Gluten-free Pork Sausages, James T. Blakeman & Co Gluten Free Premier Sausages, Red Tractor Raw Pork Sausages (Gluten-Free), The Bury Black Pudding Co Gluten Free Black Pudding (Chub and Stick), gluten-free bread by Europastry and Glebe Farm Gluten-Free Bread.
Try Irish white pudding instead of black pudding
An English breakfast with the addition of Irish white pudding is a pork lover’s dream. White pudding is similar to black pudding, but without blood as an ingredient. It consists of onions, oatmeal, spices and suet (sometimes other ingredients like milk) and in the Irish variety, pork and/or pork liver. For those a little wary of offal, it’s a great compromise, as well as something a little different on your menu.
One beloved food missing from the classic English breakfast is cheese, and let’s face it, cheese doesn’t really fit anywhere in the meal… except for the eggs.
Creamy, cheesy scrambled eggs will add a sense of luxury to the dish, and turn a favourite breakfast into a versatile brunch. Simply make sure your eggs are out of the fridge at least 30 mins before cooking, and add grated English cheddar, seasoning and butter to your eggs as you scramble them.
Make baked beans from scratch
Baked beans are one of the nation’s favourite foods, and while they’re an easy to cook component of the classic English breakfast, foodservice businesses can also capitalise on the trend for non-processed, gourmet grub by making their own.
Create a base sauce of onions, garlic, red wine vinegar and chopped tomatoes (add sugar if needed) and then simply add haricot beans and a splash of chilli or paprika if you want to liven things up. Your home made beans will look great on Instagram!
Give it a Scottish twist
Our friends in Scotland are also extremely partial to a bit of black pudding, and their national delicacy, haggis, is in a similar culinary vein. Sheep’s lungs, liver and heart, mixed with onion, spices and oatmeal served in the sheep’s stomach, haggis has a similar earthy flavour that compliments the salty bacon and juicy tomatoes of an English breakfast.
And with Burns Night coming up in the next couple of months, adding a slice of haggis to the dish is especially apt for late December and January menus.
Experiment with sauces
Brown sauce is the unofficial condiment of the English breakfast, though many in the younger generations prefer ketchup.
However, one quick and easy way to jazz up your English breakfast offerings is to provide a range of accompanying sauces. In addition to the standard red and brown, there’s also festive cranberry sauce (for December), fiery chilli, or peppery Worcestershire sauce.
Put it in a Sandwich
The to-go breakfast is one of the industry’s biggest growing markets, but it’s not one that easily lends itself to the English breakfast. The solution? Put the English breakfast in a sandwich! You’ll need something sturdier than fried bread or toast – a soft but doughy white bap like that used for a chip butty will be best, holding in all the juices and sauce whilst allowing the consumer to enjoy bacon, sausage, egg, mushrooms, tomato, black pudding and even beans all at once.
Pick your bacon wisely
Bacon, along with sausage, is generally seen as the star of an English breakfast – one of, if not the, best bits.
Back bacon is the traditional bacon for this dish, a meaty cut of bacon that includes some of the loin. It’s a great fail-safe choice, but if you really want to make your English breakfast stand out, you should choose your bacon to complement the other tweaks you have made. Putting it in a sandwich? Go for a streaky bacon that crisps right up so consumers can enjoy the salty crunch of the bacon against the soft buttery bread. Adding cheese to your eggs? Opt for an unsmoked bacon to let the cheddar flavours shine through. Having fried egg? Back bacon is the perfect spongy cut.