All you need to know about Holkham's Festive Food Fair
PUBLISHED: 22:31 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 22:31 22 November 2018
Holkham Hall's Festive Food Fair is coming up on December 15 and 16.
Following a very successful inaugural event last winter, north Norfolk’s Holkham Hall is once again flinging open its doors for a Festive Food Fair.
Taking place across the weekend of December 15 and 16 and with free entry, Holkham’s has become one of the region’s biggest Christmas foodie events. Where better to get into the holiday mood than here, in one of Norfolk’s most beautiful grand homes, set in mature parkland and looking out to the jaw-dropping nature reserve and beach? It truly is a magical location and is only enhanced at this time of year when every nook and cranny within the publicly open rooms is festooned with garlands, lights and decorations.
Raising money for Lady Leicester’s charity of choice, Heritage House, the fair opens from 10am to 4pm each day within the Lady Elizabeth Wing, spilling out onto the grounds, where continental-style chalets will run over with gift ideas from local craftspeople and producers – from Nordic inspired homeware to fused glass and ceramics.
However the highlight is the dozens of food and drink champions from Norfolk and beyond, who’ll be out in force offering lots of gourmand goodies for your Christmas table. Make time too to take a seat and watch the line-up of chefs on the cookery stage, brought together for one weekend only by Charlie’s Norfolk Food Heroes.
Here’s a flavour of what you can buy during the weekend:
Salamis and more
Award-winning expert Norfolk Charcuterie will be there selling delectable slowly air-dried, handmade salamis and cured meats, formed from the best free-range and wild local produce. The range includes punchy French-style saucisson with bags of red wine and black pepper, and venison, orange and juniper salami made with venison from the Holkham estate.
Artisan biscotti maker BON Bakery from Norwich will have a range of egg and dairy-free crispy biscotti for you to sample in flavours such as salted caramel and coffee and hazelnut. There are gluten-free versions too. All lovely dunked in a cuppa (or your favourite spirit).
Chutney for Boxing Day and beyond
Lovely Candi from award-winning Candi’s Chutney has all the condiments you need. From a traditional Bramley Apple and Norfolk Ale Chutney for the cheeseboard, to the Non Mango Mango Chutney, which is made to an authentic Indian recipe and wonderful with gammon.
You can’t have a cheeseboard this Christmas without one of the creamy specials from Norton’s Dairy (try the soft lavender cheese) or a spot of Norfolk Dapple from Ferndale Cheese. Ferndale’s Norfolk Tawny, washed with local ale is excellent too, and both producers will be at the fair.
Pates and terrines
All the meaty products from Blackbird Cottage are made carefully in small batches using the finest raw ingredients and lots of love and care from the owner, who’s business was inspired by time spent working in Provence during her youth. Everything is luscious, from the Black Magic chicken parfait infused with finest Italian black truffle oil, to the rustic rillettes.
Kate, from Norfolk’s Pudd’Eng makes her puds without any artificial flavours or preservatives, packing in free-range local eggs, sourdough breadcrumbs, organic flour, Baltic Trader beer from Green Jack, loads of citrus juice and zest, toasted almonds and tonnes of the best dried fruit. Just as good, if not better, than what you could make at home.
A good cuppa
If you love decent tea have a chat with Mark Richmond of Nelson and Norfolk Tea. As a long time qualified Tea Master, Mark only selects the very best and can help you find exactly the perfect brew for you. Look out for the Christmas Tea with baked apple, almond and cinnamon.
Panther Brewery is named for the legend local to Reepham that a mysterious beast lurks in the countryside. Now while that may be heresay, what’s definitely true is that the brewery’s beers are ace. Made with local barley and bottle conditioned, the range includes crisp, citrusy Golden Panther and a decent low alcohol beer – Hopsta, made with Citra, Cascade and Chinook hops.
What’s the line-up for the cookery stage?
Earlier this year chef Charlie Hodson spoke out about his struggles with mental health and talked about taking a step back from his commitments. But, he admits, he simply couldn’t miss Holkham’s Festive Food Festival so has returned to host the cookery stage, where he’s joined by a plethora of his cooking mates to showcase loads of ideas for your Christmas table and beyond.
“I love Holkham,” Charlie says. “What I love the most is it continues to be a family home. Lord and lady Leicester don’t have to open it up to the public but they consider themselves more custodians and without their foresight this place could have become another English Heritage or National Trust site. There’s something very very special about it and I feel really comfortable there. I can’t wait to be joined on stage by my pals. It really will be a who’s who of local chefs and I can’t think of anywhere better to celebrate Christmas.”
The cookery stage is supported by Cookery Live Stage Production, Walsingham Farm Shop, Aabelard Aprons, Crush Foods, Humble Pig Farmer, Crown Supplies and Norwich City College and every business taking part on stage is donating a prize for the grand raffle, raising money for Heritage House.
The line-up includes..
10.30am Scott Taylor and forager Simon Hunter-Marsh
11.30am Steve Thorpe with chef James Phillipo from Norwich City College
12.15pm Broadcaster, comedian and chef Hardeep Singh Kohli with Mark Poynton
1.15pm Eric Snaith of Titchwell Manor and Eric’s Fish and Chips
2.15pm Bakewell Bake-Off
3pm Raffle draw
3.15pm Scott and Kelly Dougal of Wells Crab House – winner of Eat Norfolk Best Restaurant 2018
10.30am Daniel Frear of Strattons of Swaffham
11.30am Andrew Jones of Farmyard, Norwich and The Dial House, Reepham
12.15pm Michael Chamberlain of The Victoria, Holkham
1.15pm Roger Hickman of Hickman’s Norwich
2.15pm Sam and Hannah from Walsingham Farm Shop with pig farmer Tim Allen
3.15pm Ade Piff and Simon Hunter-Marsh