A trip to Brunel’s SS Great Britain always feels like a step back into the past, but rarely do our tastebuds come with us. This summer, however, visitors are being asked embark on a flavour voyage and taste historic recipes from around the world when they board, alongside all the usual trimmings of activities available.
Once the largest passenger ship in the world, the SS Great Britain ran at a time when mass tourism was experienced by very few and access to diverse foods was limited. Dishes of Discovery aims to give people a sense of what it might have felt like encountering these new and exotic flavour profiles for the first time.
Destinations the ship visited in the 19th century inspired many of the authentic foods on offer, including a melon and ginger jam from Cape Town, borsch from Crimea and a green coriander and coconut chutney from Mumbai. These are typical foods that passengers would have encountered on their journeys to far-flung places.
Travelling Kitchen, a Bristol-based social enterprise that works with schools and communities, rustled up these recipes by working with the ship’s archivists and studying historic diaries and documents. The ship’s surgeon, Samuel Archer, served as a source of inspiration behind one of the dishes. In his diary he described the food he experienced on a voyage to Mumbai in 1857 and from this the green coriander and coconut chutney was put together.
“These flavours would’ve been brand new and exotic, and for many, their first time encountering the likes of coconut, ginger and melon,” says Joanna Mathers, Head of Collections, at SS Great Britain.
Dishes of Discovery will be running from July 23 to September 4 and will available to all visitors. Grab your tickets here.
Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol BS1 6TY