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Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey get exclusive access to some of the largest food factories in Britain to reveal the secrets behind food production on an epic scale.
Gregg Wallace is in London at Europe's largest biscuit factory, where they produce 80 million biscuits every day. He follows the production of chocolate digestives, from the arrival of 28 tonnes of flour right through to dispatch. Along the way, he discovers that the biscuits are shaped by a bronze roller costing up to ten thousand pounds, and that the chocolate is added to the bottom not the top of the biscuits, meaning we are all eating them the wrong way up.
Meanwhile, Cherry Healey is on the trail of that chocolate. At the refinery in Manchester, she learns that it is transported in heated lorries kept at 50C to stop it solidifying on its way to the factory. She also discovers that this is the most expensive ingredient, at around £2,000 per tonne. And she is in Nottingham University's sensory lab, where she finds scientific proof that dunking your biscuit improves its flavour and that tea is the best liquid to dunk in. Cherry takes to the streets to see if that stacks up in the real world.
Historian Ruth Goodman investigates the link between biscuits and digestion. She finds references in Samuel Pepys's diary to biscuits being a cure for flatulence and digestive discomfort and discovers that in Victorian times it was thought that biscuits could cure everything from typhoid to scarlet fever. She also takes a look at an antique biscuit baked at the beginning of the 20th century - one of Huntley and Palmer's notorious army biscuits. These dry hard biscuits were supplied as rations to five million British soldiers on the front line in the First World War.
Gregg Wallace explores the Grimsby factory that processes 165 tonnes of fish a week and produces 80,000 cod fish fingers every day. Meanwhile, Cherry Healey travels to Grindavik in Iceland where they land up to 50 tonnes of cod a day. She follows the fish through the processing factory, even trying her hand at gutting the fish. Historian Ruth Goodman is investigating the origins of cod fish fingers. She finds that Bird's Eye were the first to introduce them to the UK, basing them on a US product called fish sticks.
Gregg Wallace is in the Netherlands at one of the world's biggest sauce factories. Its annual output is a quarter of a million tonnes of condiments, and more than 50 per cent of this heads to the UK. Cherry Healey is on the trail of another of our favourite sauces - soy - not in Japan, but south Wales, where a factory churns out bottles and sachets of organic sauce to a 2,000-year-old recipe. Ruth Goodman investigates the origin of Worcestershire sauce, as told by Mr Lea and Mr Perrins.
Gregg Wallace explores Ribena's Gloucestershire factory. Meanwhile, Cherry Healey is in the lab figuring out why fizzy drinks are so appealing, and historian Ruth Goodman is working out why we associate barley water with the Great British summertime. The connection dates back to 1934, when the marketing team from Robinson's made up a batch to rehydrate the players at Wimbledon.
Gregg Wallace(Gregg Wallace)
Ruth Goodman(Ruth Goodman)
Cherry Healey(Cherry Healey)
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