Despite their huge popularity in Britain, the history of the sausage roll is uncertain. Wrapping meat in pastry dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, but the modern sausage roll is thought to have originated in 19th Century France.
They grew in popularity in London in the early 1800's as a cheap street food, and became known as a quintessentially British snack. They were originally made using shortcrust pastry, but today you will almost exclusively find them made with deliciously flaky puff pastry. Puff pastry was developed in the early 1600's in Spain, an adaptation of the Middle Eastern filo pastry used in baklava. It quickly spread across Europe, and became a staple in French baking by the 1650's.
More recently, in 2012 there was a huge outcry when the British government tried to introduce a "Pasty Tax" on hot takeaway food that included sausage rolls. The response from the British public was so negative that the government was forced to abandon this plan.
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