Strawberries and cream is the iconic snack of Wimbledom. — Photo courtesy of Magnus D/Flickr
The granddaddy of all tennis tournaments, The Wimbledon Championships is not just a sports event – it's also a manifestation of British food and drink tradition. To the thousands of daily spectators, court-side nibbling is as important as cheering for top-notch tennis players and waving at Prince William. Tea sandwiches, Champagne, strawberries ... this is an outdoor public feast equipped with traditional foods once reserved only for the British upper crust.
Here are the four classic Wimbledon drinks and eats to look out for.
Strawberries and cream
The delightful dessert is the biggest star off the grass court. Vendors started to sell what they call “punnets” of strawberries in 1953 at Wimbledon and the gorgeous fruit has since become a symbol of the tennis event. If there is one fruit British farmers excel in growing, it is the strawberry. Top-quality strawberries are picked and selected in nearby county Kent one day before being served.
One punnet usually contains 10 of them, which are topped with a generous portion of cream. During the 2013 tournament, 486,898 visitors consumed some 28,000 kilograms of strawberries and 7,000 liters of fresh cream during two weeks. Around 8,615 punnets are sold daily.
Have you got pimmed at Wimbledon? — Photo courtesy of Whitney/Flickr
Winners of the tennis tournament get the Wimbledon Cup, but spectators needn't try hard to hold a Pimm's Cup. The fashionable gin-based summer cocktail is a signature drink at Wimbledon. It has been sold on-site since 1971.
Pimm's No. 1 is mixed with lemonade and fruit (mostly cucumber, strawberries and apple) to make this rainbow-hued concoction. Around 200,000 glasses of Pimm's Cup are downed by thirsty tennis fans every year. That's almost one glass for every other visitors.
No sports event is complete without this celebration bubbly. The 137-year-old Wimbledon tournament is old, but it's official Champagne supplier is even older. Reims-based Champagne house Lanson was established in 1760 – 27 years before the French Revolution broke out and Marie Antoinette was booed.
Having been associated with Wimbledon since 1977, the Champagne is sold by bottle at all nine bars and hospitality marquees. 25,000 bottles of it are uncorked every year during the game.
This doesn't sound posh but it's just so very tasty. Americans would call them hot dogs, but the Brits give it a classier name: Dutchees. Dutchees is one of the most popular food stalls at Wimbledon. The sausage-in-a-bun is Wimbledone's answer to a hot dog, except that the sausage is packed with hot spices and it will surely burn your mouth if you eat it at the speed of an Ace serve. Portable and flavorful, it's a perfect between-match filler. Every year, some 60,000 Dutchees are sold during the tournament.