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Christmas tastes better when it's local

PUBLISHED: 11:16 30 October 2019

With such a wealth of amazing local food producers, make your Christmas dinner a celebration of Norfolk this year. Picture: Getty Images

With such a wealth of amazing local food producers, make your Christmas dinner a celebration of Norfolk this year. Picture: Getty Images

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A wise man once said, 'the roast is the king of dinners, and the Christmas dinner is the king of the roasts' - okay, it was Ricky Gervais, but we still think he's spot on.

James Graham from Peele's with an original Norfolk black turkey. Picture: Claire SimsJames Graham from Peele's with an original Norfolk black turkey. Picture: Claire Sims

Among the countless reasons to be excited for the festive season, tucking 
into a plate stacked high with an assortment of mouth-watering food 
is surely at the very top.

In Norfolk we are fortunate enough to have some of the finest producers of meat, vegetables and preserves in the country, so why not make your Christmas lunch a celebration of this fine county?

TURKEY FROM… PEELE'S NORFOLK BLACK TURKEYS

The Monty range from Essence Foods offers a variety of festival themed preserves. Picture: Essence FoodsThe Monty range from Essence Foods offers a variety of festival themed preserves. Picture: Essence Foods

If there's one element of a Christmas dinner that has to be perfect, it's the turkey. It's the main event, after all.

Peele's Norfolk Black Turkeys has been producing corn-reared and free-range birds since 1880, so look no further for your perfect turkey this Christmas.

"We hand pluck and also dress to order, which allows for a longer shelf life than a supermarket can offer," explains James Graham, owner of Peele's.

A traditional Norfolk black turkey from Peele's has the added benefit of zero food miles as well, so you're getting some of the freshest fowl around.

Fresh veg always tastes best, so make sure you shop local for your sprouts, carrots and parsnips. Picture: NORFOLK VEG BOXFresh veg always tastes best, so make sure you shop local for your sprouts, carrots and parsnips. Picture: NORFOLK VEG BOX

VEGETABLES FROM… 
NOFOLK VEG BOX

A Christmas feast without veg just wouldn't be complete.

"Sprouts and parsnips are by far the most sought-after festive vegetables," says Richard Ewin, owner of Norfolk Veg Box, a local vegetable supplier and delivery company.

Tim Briscoe (far left) and his team at Buxton potatoes really know their spuds. Picture: Buxton Potato CompanyTim Briscoe (far left) and his team at Buxton potatoes really know their spuds. Picture: Buxton Potato Company

The infamous Brussels sprout may 
split opinion but they're a must for any proper Christmas dinner. Richard's top tip for the perfect sprouts is simple: "Parboil them before roasting them in butter in 
the oven."

Less food miles always makes veg taste better, so make sure you shop local this Christmas to benefit from the fresh flavour.

STUFFING FROM... SWANNINGTON FARM TO FORK

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Whether you like it in your turkey or just on your plate, everyone loves a heaped portion of stuffing at Christmas.

Forget buying a generic supermarket mix, Norfolk is home to some of the finest homemade stuffing producers around.

Throughout the festive period, Swannington Farm to Fork, a farm shop based on Woodlands Farm, offer a foursome of delectable stuffing products.

Varieties include cranberry, apricot, chestnut and sausage meat. They're each 
so good you just might have to sample them all.

POTATOES FROM… 
BUXTON POTATO COMPANY

The secret to the perfect roast potatoes is a culinary debate that has raged for generations.

Starting with a good quality potato is key, and Norfolk produced potatoes are some of the finest around, explains Tim Briscoe of Buxton Potato Company.

"Parboil for 10 minutes, drain and leave to cool. Get your oven nice and hot and add a few spoonfuls of groundnut oil to a tray.

"Once your potatoes have cooled, give them a strong shake so that they break up slightly, opening up lots of crevices for the hot oil to seep into.

"Pop them in the oven and patiently wait while they roast up a treat."

CRANBERRY SAUCE FROM… ESSENCE FOODS

The perfect Norfolk turkey demands an equally tasty cranberry sauce. Thankfully the county's plentiful farm shops are on hand to deliver homemade sauces bursting with flavour.

The Monty range at Essence Food in Reepham offers a selection of festive preserves, including a cranberry sauce with port, and orange and mustard with a festive twist.

"We make all our products in open pans using traditional methods, using only high-quality ingredients and with nothing artificial added," says Sarah Savage of Essence Foods.

The locally-produced offerings don't stop after the big day, Monty's Boxing Day chutney will see you through to the New Year and then some. u

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