It's easy to think of contemporary London as a cornucopia of great produce; a hive that's buzzing with activity from new and exciting minds creating delicious food and drink products that challenge the way things have been done. Want a British take on Mexican cheese? Try Peckham's Gringa Dairy. Fancy some smoked salmon? London Fields' Secret Smokehouse is hellbent on bringing the heart of smoking back to its spiritual home in the East End.

But in all the excitement of London's food start-ups, it's important not to forget where it all began. British cuisine may not be celebrated like that of France and Italy, but its history runs deep. That's why we've selected eight different traditional British food and drink products, and talked not only about the upstart Londoners making them, but also the companies that have been there and done it – and are still doing it today.

In these pages, you'll read about cider (or cyder) that's been brewed since 1728; the jam brand that's been shaping the way we preserve in Britain for 140 years; and you'll finally find out the answer to the burning question: who invented the scotch egg? British food culture is in a golden age, but it's one that's built on centuries of tradition. Read about some of the best of it here…