A popular British idiom talks of "taking coals to Newcastle". It pokes fun at the foolhardy act of transporting coal to an area of England once famed for producing coal from its mines. It led to similar enterprising practices, like selling ice to Icelanders.
Now the focus has switched from Newcastle, Britain to China, eaters' paradise, with statistics showing nearly two billion pounds worth of food and drink was exported from Britain to Asia in the past year.
Soya Sauce, a condiment originating in China in the 2nd century BCE, has proved to be a popular export from the Britain to China in the past year, according to the British Government's overseas trade arm, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
The China and Asia food connection was highlighted at a Food and Drink Summit on the evening of July 3, hosted by UKTI in the splendor of one of England's stately homes, Knowsley Hall.
International celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey was VIP guest at the event, organized to encourage British food producers to export even more to China and the surrounding region.
Ramsey, who runs 12 restaurants in London, told diners at the event: "I am extremely passionate about supporting British suppliers on a global scale and I will be working with a number of UK suppliers as we expand into Asia this September."
China and Asia is the top focus in UKTI's 'Food of GREAT Britain' campaign, described as the most ambitious international marketing initiative ever in Britain.