Birmingham will be officially recognised as the home of the world-famous balti dish which will rank it alongside champagne, Parma Ham and the Cornish pasty in a new gourmet guide listing Europe’s best regional produces. The balti is due to be included in the EU Protected Food Name scheme, which highlights traditional foods, protecting them against being copied anywhere within the European Union, and such status will means that the Birmingham balti can be produced only in named parts of the world.
The city’s renowned balti-lover Andy Munro has been driving the bid for recognition on behalf of the Birmingham Balti Restaurant Association. He said previously: “I’ve always been very keen on the genuine balti but we’ve now got to the stage where everybody’s calling any sort of curry a balti.
“That makes me think it’s time we defined the real thing, which Birmingham is famous for. I was in a supermarket looking at the curry sauces from a well known spice firm, and the ingredients for the balti sauce and the jalfrezi were exactly the same except for the jalfrezi having peppers.
That is a complete and utter scam, and you can’t have a balti from a cold display cabinet anyway. The whole thing has become a generic name and that’s why we want to define the difference with the ‘Birmingham Balti’ mark.
If people want to sport that mark they would have to cook it in the proper way.”
Also set to clear the final regulatory hurdles over the next few weeks are Welsh laverbread – a Welsh delicacy made from cooked laver, or seaweed, and Carmarthen ham, an air-dried ham similar to serrano, which has been produced to a recipe by five generations of the same Welsh family. The drive to boost the number of UK protected foods to 200 – to similar levels as our gastronomic neighbours in France – has been led by the environment secretary, Elizabeth Truss, as part of her ongoing campaign to champion regional produce, including English wine.