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10 of Norfolk’s best things to eat and drink

PUBLISHED: 15:51 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:51 23 July 2018

Sarah Pettegree of Bray's Cottage  Picture: Ian Burt

Sarah Pettegree of Bray's Cottage Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Celebrate Norfolk Day by indulging in something from one of these producers.

Jonathan Redding creator of Norfolk Gin Picture: Sonya DuncanJonathan Redding creator of Norfolk Gin Picture: Sonya Duncan

Woodforde’s Wherry

For more than 30 years this microbrewery on the Broads has been making waves with its fantastic brews. Named for Parson Woodforde, who liked good food and real ale, the brewery has honed its craft over the year, using water from its own spring, Norfolk barley and malt. The Pride of Norfolk award-winner has picked up CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain prize twice for Wherry – a classic found on pumps around East Anglia. The amber ale has a zesty, almost grapefruity taste, with sweet, floral notes. A lovely drop.

Archer’s sausages

Award-winning Archer’s Butchers in Norwich certainly knows a thing or two about making bangers. In fact, so adept are the team at crafting sausages, they’ve won Battle of the Bangers in the city a whopping seven times – taking both the judges’ and public prize this year in the final outing for the event. What makes their links so good? They’re made with the best cuts of Norfolk pork, have a high meat content, natural casings and no artificial colourings or flavours. The traditional Norfolk pork sausage is bestseller – crafted to a recipe handed down from owner Jamie’s grandfather, who started the butchery on Norwich provisions market in 1929.

Gnaw Chocolate

OK, so chocolate doesn’t grow in Norfolk. But this brand has certainly helped to put the fun factor into the local foodie scene with its creative packaging and quirky flavour combinations. The chocolate bars and buttons are made with some of the best chocolate from West Africa and Brazil. Flavours include Banoffee Pie, Caramel Rapids and Coffee and Mint. The caramel buttons are a bit heavenly.

Norfolk Saffron

Dr Sally Francis’ passion for saffron began when 20 years ago her mother Jill bought the botanist some corms as a birthday gift. Today Norfolk Saffron is one of the biggest commercial saffron producers in the UK, with the whole, unique threads likened to the highest quality Persian and Spanish varieties for their potency and colour – a little goes a long way.

Grown near Burnham Market, the saffron is fully traceable and will enhance anything from risottos to baking and desserts. Look at the Norfolk Saffron website for their recipe for saffron dingers – a local speciality bun.

Norfolk Gin

If you’re not a fan of juniper heavy gin, this one’s for you. Launched in 2014 it was one of the first of a wave of Norfolk-made gins and has remained one of the best loved. Botanicals used in its production include lime, coriander and cardamom, all of which give the finished product a bright, floral, citrusy flavour with a bit of a Scandi twist. It’s fabulous with a twist of orange and sprig of fresh thyme, and excellent sprinkled on a lemon drizzle cake as it comes out the oven.

Cromer Crab

Truly some of the very best in the UK. Fisherman John Davies (known to Michelin-starred Norfolk chef Galton Blackiston as John the Fish) is a notable figure on the crabbing scene. According to him it’s the shallow, flinty, chalky waters which impart that sweet, sweet, delicate flavour to Cromer crab. They’re revered across the country for their taste. John likes his crab with bread and butter, balsamic vinegar and salad cream in a roll.

Bray’s Cottage pies

Sarah’s biscuitty crusted, jelly-free pies are sold all over East Anglia and noted as some of the best in the country.

They’re made using prime cuts of north Norfolk pork in a converted barn overlooking Cley and Blakeney. Only the best pork and bacon, alongside other natural and foraged local ingredients, make it into Sarah’s pies, which are flavoured with a secret blend of spices and herbs. Flavours include Naked, Onion Marmalade, Chorizo and Chilli.

Mrs Temple’s cheeses

Catherine Temple has a deft touch when it comes to making cheeses at Copy’s Green Farm in Wighton. Amidst the flock of fromages are Wells Alpine (also known as Norfolk Alpine) a sweet, nutty semi-hard cheese made with milk from Swiss Brown cows and matured for six months. It’s not unlike a young gruyere.

Copy’s Cloud is a brie-style cheese, with a bloomy rind and complex, buttery, melting centre. And Binham Blue is formed from the milk of Swiss Brown and Holstein Friesian cows. It’s a luxuriously creamy blue with a gentle bite that should take pride of place on a Norfolk cheeseboard.

Winbirri Wine

A relatively young Norfolk business, but one that’s certainly making waves in the industry. The vineyard’s Bacchus 2015 won Best in Show in the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards. Produced with grapes grown and pressed at Surlingham near Norwich, the Bacchus is noted for its hints of spice, elderflower and citrus. The vineyard also produces a 2013 Sparking Vintage Reserve and Signature 2015 red.

Candi’s Chutney

Our Pride of Norfolk winner 2017, Candi’s Chutneys are Norfolk through and through, with the chef only using local produce to stir up pots of award-winning relishes and chutneys. There’s a relish made with the botanicals from Norfolk Gin. The Bramley Apple and Norfolk Ale Chutney is blended with ale from Panther Brewery at Reepham. Norfolk Knobbly is Candi’s take on picallili (but without the cauliflower). And her No Mango Mango Chutney uses bramley apples and spices them to a traditional Kashmiri mango chutney recipe.

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