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Festival of tasty treats

PUBLISHED: 09:40 12 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

Alan Ross toasts the tasty delights of sarsaparilla at the Deepdale Food and Drink Festival.

Alan Ross toasts the tasty delights of sarsaparilla at the Deepdale Food and Drink Festival.

CHRIS BISHOP

Rare breed sausages, ribs or nachos..? Washed down with a sarsaparilla, or maybe a real ale brewed from Norfolk barley grown a few miles down the coast.

Briar Feek from The Farmhouse Food Company.

Rare breed sausages, ribs or nachos..? Washed down with a sarsaparilla, or maybe a real ale brewed from Norfolk barley grown a few miles down the coast..?

Norfolk's newest food festival offered an eclectic mix of tastes and treats, from the everyday to the downright indulgent.

Producers from near and far converged on the coast for the EDP-sponsored Deepdale Food and Drink Festival.

More than 2,000 people visited the two-day event - despite the fact day one coincided with England's World Cup debut.

Organiser Jason Borthwick, who has run a successful jazz festival at the Marsh Barn site for some time, decided to try something different this year.

With the coast fast becoming a foody destination and local producers enjoying a boom in popularity, the theme all but chose itself.

“There's so much food along the north Norfolk coast now, it's never ending,” Mr Borthwick said.

“There's lots more talk of new restaurants opening, it's developing quite nicely.”

Butcher Roger Human started specialising in meats from rare breeds 12 years ago, when he left the police force and set up shop in a former pub at Swafield, near North Walsham.

“The rare breed pig is a nice, docile animal which has a wonderful flavour and makes marvellous sausages,” he said. “When I tasted the first sausages, they took me back to Basil Crank who used to have a pork shop in Norwich.

“I used to go and queue up there for his sausages as a teenager.”

A steady stream of customers came to try out the samples of pork pie and sausage from traditional pig breeds like the Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Large Black.

Also popular were samples of Holkham venison being handed out by Julian Stoyel, the estate's deer manager. Fallow deer have a more subtle flavour than the larger red deer or the pint-sized muntjac, which have a more catholic diet.

“I'm passionate about educating people about venison,” he said. “They think it's unaffordable and a whole carcass would set you back £400 if you charge what the supermarkets charge for it.”

Bought locally the equivalent of a half carcass costs around £50. One cut which Mr Stoyel sells for £20 retails in city supermarkets for more than three times as much.

Horn of Plenty, Penny bun and Chanterelle are just three of the wild mushroom varieties Jenny Bale, from Mileham, imports from Hungary.

“They all have strong flavours and add a unique flavour to your cooking,” she said.

While the emphasis was very much on sampling titbits and trying new things, a cool, shaded bar offering the wares of Heacham's Fox Brewery was an obvious draw as temperatures on the coast soared into the 70s.

Visitors to the festival were asked to vote for their favourite food and drink. The winners were:

Food

Gold: Suffolk Larder. Friston-based producers of mustards and sauces from natural Suffolk ingredients. Each comes in a collectable decorative pot designed by East Anglian artists.

Silver: Tavern Tasty Meats. Traditionally-reared meats from Norfolk's only accredited rare breeds butcher. Based at Holt and North Walsham.

Bronze: KidHugs Hunny. The oldest food in the world in a rainbow of flavours.

Drink

Gold: Fox Brewery, Heacham. Range of beers produced at the Fox and Hounds pub, Heacham.

Silver: Pageant Wines. Framlingham-based supplier of organic wines from around the world.

Bronze: The Taste of Yesterday. Sarsaparilla and ginger beer.


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