Page last updated at 19:12 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 20:12 UK

Duchess of Cornwall champions British produce

Duchess of Cornwall speaking at event to launch British Food Fortnight
Camilla broke her leg hill-walking in Scotland earlier this month

The Duchess of Cornwall has championed "woefully under-rated" British produce and criticised major food companies for ignoring seasonal produce.

Speaking at an event to launch British Food Fortnight, the duchess said jokes about British food being "dull, turgid and over-boiled" were "utter rubbish".

Camilla said she loved food that "followed the seasons", not the "whims" of "multinational food conglomerates".

Free range chicken and "spanking fresh" mackerel were her favourites, she said.

In her first appearance since she broke her leg hill-walking in Scotland at the beginning of April, the duchess, who was in a wheelchair, told the industry it was wrong that British food was seen "as some sort of international culinary joke".

'Natural life'

She said: "I have always loved food and really enjoy cooking simple dishes with the best British ingredients.

"That, for me, is what British food is really about; a chicken, that has lived a natural life, pecking and scratching about in the yard, roasted until golden brown.

"Or a spanking fresh mackerel, grilled until the skin is crisp. The first British asparagus, just shooting up now.

"Food that follows the seasons, rather than the whims of some vast multinational food conglomerates."

The royal, who was speaking at Westminster Cathedral's grand hall, was joined by BBC celebrity cooks the Hairy Bikers - Si King and Dave Myers - and her son, Tom Parker Bowles, a food writer.

The event also marked the announcement that British Food Fortnight - normally celebrated in the autumn - would be held at the same time as the Olympics in 2012.

The Prince of Wales is also known for his views in support of locally grown, organic produce.

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