Get set for tasty treats as Waveney festival returns

Bungay Castle Food & Drink Fair part of the Waveney Valley Food & Drink Festival.Official opening of

Bungay Castle Food & Drink Fair part of the Waveney Valley Food & Drink Festival.Official opening of the 2014 event by Peter Aldous MP with Keith Parker festival chairman the Mayor of Bungay, Bungay Town Crier and the Town Reeve.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

There'll be a welcome in the valley this weekend as the Waveney Valley Food and Drink Festival returns to help put the area's food on the culinary map. STACIA BRIGGS takes a cook's tour of the festival.

Bungay Castle Food & Drink Fair part of the Waveney Valley Food & Drink Festival.Picture: James Bass

Bungay Castle Food & Drink Fair part of the Waveney Valley Food & Drink Festival.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Whether you want to Disscover the food offer in Diss, go bonkers for conkers in Pulham St Mary or try your pie in the Eye Lids baking competition, there's something delicious in store for every food fan at the Waveney Valley Food and Drink Festival which begins on Friday.

Following the growing success of the festival, this year's programme begins on Friday and will run for 10 days with a host of fantastic events taking place across the Waveney Valley including the Taste of Harleston, on Saturday, a new event which will include a street market and the Sizzling Sausage Saturday Spectacular.

The beautiful Waveney Valley has so much to offer with its fertile pastures and arable land, forestry and rivers producing some fabulous food and drink – milk is turned into artisan cheese and ice cream, butchers' are filled with local meat, the area produces some of the finest malted barley and wheat which is turned into ale and beer, there's plentiful seasonal game, the famous Norfolk Black Turkey, vineyards and plenty of fruitful orchards.

Now in its fourth year, the Waveney Food and Drink Festival is based in and around the seven market towns of Beccles, Bungay, Diss, Eye, Halesworth, Harleston and Loddon and the surrounding countryside and villages.

Bungay Castle Food & Drink Fair part of the Waveney Valley Food & Drink Festival.Picture: James Bass

Bungay Castle Food & Drink Fair part of the Waveney Valley Food & Drink Festival.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Local growers, farmers, producers and retailers in addition to pubs, restaurants and cafes will come together to host their own events, from tastings to farm tours, demonstrations to special local menus, community events to open days, giving festival visitors the chance to try, buy, enjoy and learn about their products direct from producers and retailers.

The festival helps to raise the profile of Waveney Valley and runs in association with Norfolk Food and Drink.

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This year, there are plenty of new events for festival goers to get their teeth into, including the annual Eye Lids pie baking competition in Eye on October 10 and Disscover Food, Drink and Music, a 10-day festival-within-a-festival which includes a three-days food, beer and music event at The Boilerhouse in Norfolk House Yard which features tastings, local produce stalls and live music, headlined by the award-winning Grain Brewery.

The festival will end with the two-day Festival Fair at Bungay Castle, in association with Fosters Solicitors, where visitors will be able to browse an array of stands, taste and buy delicious goodies such as cakes, pastries, organic vegetables, meat and poultry products, preserves and chutneys, oils and sauces in addition to enjoying live music, a programme of demonstrations, foodie activities for the children and seeing the Made in Waveney Valley area, featuring the work of local craftsmen and women.

'The last few years have seen a shift in the way we view our food – food miles, traceability and provenance as well as the importance of shopping locally are now to the forefront for those of us who are passionate to ensure that what we eat and drink is healthy and delicious while at the same time sustaining the economic well-being of this beautiful valley,' said festival chairman, Keith Parker.

'With local producers, growers, restaurants, inns, cafes and food retailers firmly at its heart, the festival aims to showcase the incredible food, drink and hospitality on offer in the Waveney valley. We are confident that this year's festival will be even bigger and better, with 10 days of events being held along the valley.'

What's on in Waveney


-Evening Inn and Conker Contest: The Fifth Annual Conker Contest evening with local sausage and bacon baps on sale in addition to local ale, cocktails and even conker-themed cupcakes! Free entry, 6.30-11pm, Pennoyer Centre, Station Road, Pulham St Mary, 01379 676660.

-Browne's Banger Bonanza: Try more than 20 different flavoured sausages. DA Brown Butchers, 35 The Thoroughfare, Harleston, from 7am-5pm (also October 3).

-Diss Bumper Friday Market: Market Place/Market Hill, 8am-3pm (also October 9).


-A Taste of Harleston: A brand new event, the town will be brimming with food fun and entertainment all day. Visit The Country Kitchen Street Market from 9.30am-4pm and browse through stalls selling locally-made food and artisan products, try locally-reared Waveney Valley pork at the Sizzling Sausage Saturday Spectacular, enjoy cooking demonstrations from local chefs at The Swan Hotel, follow the sticker safari, take part in family craft fun at The Swan and look out for Chorizo and Cumberland, Harleston's life-sized, friendly sausages!

-Passionate about Venison: Hosted by The Thoroughfare Deli, meet the team from Truly Traceable Venison and Game Pies. The Thoroughfare Deli, 4 The Thoroughfare, Halesworth, 10.30am-4pm.

-Farm Tours: Guided tours of two farms – Hill Farm, Redenhall Road, Harleston from 10am-2pm for beef, sheep and egg production and Shotford Hall Farm, Mendham Low Road, Harleston, from 10am-3pm for calves, dairy and beef cows. A vintage bus will run from the Harleston Country Street Market to the farms.

-Beccles Farmers' Market: Around 30 stalls offering meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables, baked goods, chocolate, eggs, pickles, preserves, plants, herbs and ales. Beccles Heliport, Ellough Airfield, 9am-1pm.

-Farm walk: Tour a working dairy, see the cows, learn about raw milk and watch a cheese-making demonstration. Free, but booking is essential – email Fen Farm Dairy, Fen Lane, Ditchingham, noon to 2pm.


-A Celebration of Our Local Food and Drink at Earsham Street Deli, 39a Earsham Street, Bungay, 10am-4pm

Thursday October 8:

-15-Mile Meal: Enjoy a three-course meal with the best seasonal ingredients sourced within 15 miles. Menu available online, or pick up from Earsham Street Café, 11-13 Earsham Street, Bungay, 01986 893103. Tickets cost £19 per person, the event starts at 6pm (also on October 9).

-10-Mile Food and Wine Dinner: Enjoy a four-course menu with wine to match entirely sourced within a 10-mile radius at the Fox and Goose, Church Road, Fressingfield, 01379 586247, £40 per person, book in advance.

-Apple Festival at Bungay Country Market: The Honeypot Centre, Upper Olland Street, Bungay, 9.15-11am.

-Fredricks Fine Foods Deli Tastings: Try Crispy Diss Triangles and Diss Bread. Fredricks Fine Food, Norfolk House Courtyard, Diss, 01379 562594.

Friday October 9:

-Delicious demonstrations: The Boilerhouse hosts a local produce show and cooking demonstrations on Friday and Saturday with a Brunch Day on Sunday with food provided by Fredericks Fine Food from 11am-3pm. The Boilerhouse, 3 Cobbs Yard, Diss.

-The Sixth Corn Hall Beer Festival: Diss Corn Hall is 'on tour' at The Boilerhouse with its Beer Festival, headlined by Grain Brewery, winners of Champion Beer for Norfolk. From noon until 10pm with live music after 5pm on Friday (also on October 10 from noon).

-Country Market: The Town Hall, Eye, 10-11am.

-Country Market: Steeple End, Halesworth, 10-11.15am.

-Country Market: The Quaker Hall, Newgate, Beccles, 9.15-11am.

-Cheese and Wine Quiz Evening Hosted by Adnams: A quiz night hosted by Adnams of Harleston with cheese tasting. Pennoyer Centre, Station Road, Pulham St Mary, 01379 676660, booking essential, 6.30pm start. Saturday October 10:

-Food and Drink Fair at Bungay Castle: From 10am-5pm, there will be the chance to buy delicious local food from Waveney Valley plus a programme of demonstrations, live music, children's pizza making and the all-new Made in Waveney Valley section featuring local craftspeople. There will be a hog roast, waffles and turkey burgers and sausages from Banyard's Hall Turkeys. Fair supporters, the East of England Co-Op, will be showcasing their Sourced Locally range of products to try and buy and Vegucation will be at the castle to help children make their own apple pies to take away and bake at home.

-The Eye Lids Pie Baking Competition: With two age categories (children aged 15 and under and adults aged 16 and over), there are five classes available in this popular competition – entry fees are 30p per class with no more than five entries per person. Eye Town Hall, Church Street, from 10.30am.

-Loddon Farmers' Market: More than 20 food and drink stalls plus craft stalls, all from local producers. Jubilee Hall, George Lane, Loddon, 01508 520522.

-A Fishy Tasting and Demonstration Day: Learn how to fillet and prepare fish. Earsham Street Fish Company, 39a Earsham Street, Bungay, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Sunday October 11:

-Food and Drink Fair at Bungay Castle: From 10am-4pm, as above.

-Even More Raw and Delicious: Raw food experimentalist Mark Watson demonstrates delicious, healthy dishes. Tickets are £5 per person, booking is essential, demonstrations will be at 10am and 12.30pm, Giddens and Thompson Greengrocer, 36b Earsham Street, Bungay, 01986 897944.

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