Saffron grower’s appeal to discover origin of coastal ‘dinger” Easter cakes

Sally Francis and her Saffron harvest in morth Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

Sally Francis and her Saffron harvest in morth Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A businesswoman is hoping to discover more about a link between the spice saffron and the coastal communities in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

Sally Francis has started her saffron harvest in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

Sally Francis has started her saffron harvest in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Sally Francis, who runs an award-winning business growing saffron on the north Norfolk coast, said: 'I've discovered a fascinating link between Lowestoft and saffron – the 'Lowestoft saffron dinger' which was a traditional kind of cake like a rock cake, cooked in the town for Easter.

'I learned about saffron dingers from customers with a Lowestoft connection on three separate occasions now, usually from conversations at food fairs. I haven't seen anything like this recipe in any regional cookbooks of traditional recipes.'

Saffron dingers were made at one or more Lowestoft bakers within living memory, but probably not anymore.

Added Sally: 'They are an important part of local food history, but like a lot of traditional foods, are in danger of being forgotten and lost. One very kind lady told me the recipe. I've tried them out and they're lovely.'


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Saffron dingers seem to be part of a wider tradition of baking with saffron to make celebratory Easter cakes/buns all over the UK.

In east Norfolk something similar was made –described as being like a rock cake, but the name 'dinger' seems Lowestoft-specific.

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Sally said she gets a spike in saffron and saffron flour mail orders from customers with postcodes in the Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas in the run up to Easter.

'I'd love to learn more about saffron dingers. Is anyone making them nowadays? Did they make dingers in Great Yarmouth too?

Wouldn't it be great to work together and celebrate this tradition by holding a Saffron Dinger Day?'

Sally is hoping to take her saffron stall to the coast and possibly make some dingers to sell, and also hopefully collect peoples' recollections of Lowestoft saffron dingers to learn about their social history.'

Norfolk Saffron grows the world's most precious spice within sight and sound of the sea at the family's smallholding.

If anyone remembers saffron dingers, email Sally at www.norfolksaffron.co.uk. You could also email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk or write to the Lowestoft Journal, London Road North, Lowestoft.

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