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Cuisine

The Isle of Man is famed for many traditional dishes - particularly various seafood and bonnag recipes.

Historically, the national dish of the Isle of Man island has been Spuds and Herrin, or Priddhas an' Herrin', which consists of boiled potatoes and herring. This dish was popular due to the its role supporting the subsistence farmers and fishermen of the island.

In recent times, if you asked a passer-by in the street to name the national dish you would probably be told "chips, cheese and gravy". Found in many fast food outlets and popular with late night revellers it consists, as you would expect, of chips covered in grated cheese and topped with a thick gravy.

Seafood has traditionally accounted for a large proportion of the local diet. Although commercial fishing has declined in recent years, local delicacies include Manx kippers (smoked herring) which are produced by the smokeries in Peel. They also produce other specialities including smoked salmon and bacon.

Crab, lobster and scallops are all commercially fished, and the Queen Scallops (Queenies) are regarded as a particular delicacy, with a light, sweet flavour. Cod, ling and mackerel are often angled for the table, and freshwater trout and salmon can be taken from the local rivers and lakes, supported by the Government fish hatchery at Cornaa.

Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are all commercially farmed; Manx lamb from the hill-farms being a popular dish. Loaghtan, the indigenous breed of Manx sheep, has a rich, dark meat that has found favour with chefs - featuring in dishes on the BBC's MasterChef series.

Our cheese has also been a particular success, with smoked and herb-flavoured varieties stocked by many of the UK's supermarket chains. Manx cheese took bronze medals in the 2005 British Cheese Awards, and sold 578 tonnes over the year.

There are not many unique desserts, although the Peel flapjack is popular one.

Beer is brewed on a commercial scale by Okell's Brewery (established in 1850) and Bushy's Brewery. Manx Spirit is a clear spirit distilled by Kella Distillers, offering a range of blended and pure malt whiskeys.

Another local favourite is the Manx Bonnag, a flat cake which in recent times have evolved into a rich fruit cake.