Pies to pan-fried beetroot: the poshest half-time food in English football
The pie might be the perennial favourite, but as football becomes more expensive and upmarket, so do the half-time snacks.
Following the news that Tottenham Hotspur’s innovative new stadium will include a “cheese room” for “clients” (formerly known as fans) to select their favourite fromages, here are some of the most upmarket snacks you can now sample at English football grounds.
Arsenal: macaroni & cheese bites with jalapeño dip
While the minds of Gunners fans may be more focused on closing the current gap between themselves and league leaders Chelsea over the next few games, those in the executive box (where tickets start at £5,400) will no doubt be distracted by the lavish food on offer.
OK, macaroni & cheese bites with jalapeño dip doesn’t seem excessively posh, but the mild heat will probably be all you can handle after gorging yourself on “Aubergine caviar with paprika houmous, stuffed vine leaves & warm pitta bread” and “Pan fried beetroot & goats cheese gnocchi with herb cream sauce & rocket dressing”.
Tottenham Hotspur: specially sourced half-time cheeses
Spurs are in the midst of building a brand new stadium, currently scheduled to be completed in time for the 2018-19 season.
Fans are catered for with a 17,000-seat single-tier home end – an attempt to replicate Borussia Dortmund’s atmospheric “Yellow Wall” of supporters – but those with enough money will be able to get even closer to the action.
Costing £15,000 to sign up (and you have to buy in pairs) and dubbed “the Tunnel Club”, 104 fans per game will get the chance for an exclusive match experience.
Half-time sees those fans led to a “cheese room”, which includes one-way glass panels lining the tunnel, where they will be able to sample the finest of specially sourced cheeses as Premier League footballers head to the changing rooms for a tongue lashing.
Chelsea: Hand Rolled Truffle and Ricotta Tortellini
Retaining an impressive lead over your Premier League competition is hungry work, but thankfully Chelsea’s hospitality suite offers up sumptuous meals. If you have the money.
Working with executive chef Chris Garrett (who has served up food for the Royal family and visiting Heads of State in his time as a Royal Air Force VIP chef), the club serves up an exclusive menu depending on which team is visiting Stamford Bridge on that particular weekend.
As an example, the sample menu for last weekend’s game against Hull had “Firecracker Chicken and Pepper Pie” available at half-time, with “Hand Rolled Truffle and Ricotta Tortellini” elsewhere on the menu.
Norwich City: Entrecôte Grillée servi avec Sauce Béarnaise et Frites Fait Maison
Norwich City may be having a tough time as of late, but they’ve famously got the backing of celebrity chef Delia Smith.
Joint majority shareholder of the club, Smith also runs her own restaurant from the team’s Carrow Road ground, and while there are no specific half-time snacks provided by the restaurant, the same team is behind the match day hospitality.
Whether you’re picking “Entrecôte Grillée servi avec Sauce Béarnaise et Frites Fait Maison” or “Confit de Canard à la Sauce Cerise Aigre” from the upcoming February French menu, by the time the second half kicks off, chances are you’ll have a full stomach.
Manchester City: Cropwell bishop cheese & pulled beef pasty
The words “Manchester City” and “money” now go hand in hand.
While Pep Guardiola’s men might not be occupying the top four as of writing, their match-day hospitality is still predictably elite.
Pay a visit to the Etihad Stadium’s Chairman’s Club (tickets starting at £349 for the cheaper games), and you can expect a five-course fine dining experience to keep you going during the game.
At least the half-time snack is an upmarket take on an old football favourite.
Newcastle United: Cheeseboard with NUFC Cheddar
The Magpies were only relegated to the Championship last season, so it stands to reason that their hospitality packages are still top class.
They like to keep it local, with a half-time snack of the club’s own NUFC Cheddar, as well as other local cheeses.
Elsewhere on the menus you can find “Roasted Demi Sirloin of Northumbrian Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Roasted Root Vegetables, Goose Fat Potato, Cauliflower Cheese”.
Fulham: Selection of mini pies including beef & ale
Fulham FC’s half-time snack selection sounds relatively modest next to some of the bigger clubs on this list, but these aren’t your usual pies.
With a seasonal price guide of £3,395 pp (or £149 per match), the club’s George Cohen Lounge serves up a four-course menu for you to enjoy of the course of the game, complete with a champagne and canapé reception with Mr Cohen (a Fulham legend) himself, as well as a visit from a player at the end of the game to deliver you your post-match cheese board.
Forest Green Rovers
Top-flight English football fans will have to wait a few more years before they get to sample the Q-Pie on a Saturday.
The National League’s Forest Green Rovers became the world’s first all-vegan football club back in 2015.
Half-time delights on sale at the team’s ground in Nailsworth, in Gloucestershire, include “chicken” nuggets made with vegan Quorn, juicy veggie burgers with chips, or the spicy Mexican vegetable fajitas - all guaranteed animal-free.
However, with the side narrowly missing out on promotion last season (losing in the Wembley play-off final to Grimsby Town) it could be that even more unconventional food could soon be on the nation’s football menus.