A Norwich hotel has resolved to fly the flag for Norfolk in re-launching its menu with locally sourced ingredients.

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The Maids Head in Tombland has struck deals with a range of local suppliers to ensure nearly all the ingredients in its Wine Press at Wensum restaurant have only a few miles to travel.

Customers who care about air miles can even order excellent white, rose and red wines produced at Winbirri Vineyards in nearby Surlingham.

Daniel Hawkie, the hotel’s operations manager, said: “Becoming an independent hotel, owned by David Chaplin, has given us this opportunity to deal with local rather than big national suppliers.

“We are helping the local economy as well as reducing our carbon footprint - and the feedback from customers in the first three weeks has been amazing.

“We hope the initiative will help us achieve our second AA Rosette which takes account of such factors as seasonality and the provenance of the menu.”

As well as Winbirri Vineyards, the new local line-up of suppliers includes Tavern Tasty Meats at North Walsham, Barsby Produce at King’s Lynn, Howard’s fishmonger in Norwich and Woodfordes brewery in Woodbastwick.

Jim Hastie, deputy manager at Tavern Tasty Meats, which has its own farm, said: “There is certainly growing demand for local produce and it has helped us grow as a company. We have taken on an extra couple of people over the past year.”

Gary Howard, who represents the fourth generation of a fishmonger’s that started in 1889, said the Maids Head’s decision to go local “has everything going for it”.

Supplying the hotel with Cromer crab and samphire among other local produce, he said: “There is growing public awareness of where food comes from and what they are getting.

“The horse meat scandal played its part in opening people’s eyes.”

Lee Dyer, 35, who runs Winbirri Vineyards with his father Stephen, said: “East Anglia is a couple of degrees colder than the south coast but it gets a lot of sunshine which makes it perfect for grapes.”

From planting 200 vines six years ago, they have built up their business to 40,000 vines over 25 acres.

“It’s just about getting people to try it and make them realise local wine is available and of a high quality,” he said.




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