National Trust adds extra class to food festival

Sarah BrealeySome of Norfolk's grandest and most historic properties will be putting on special events to help us appreciate the county's glorious food this autumn.Sarah Brealey

Some of Norfolk's grandest and most historic properties will be putting on special events to help us appreciate the county's glorious food this autumn.

The National Trust has teamed up with the EDP and Bidwells to join the Norfolk Food Festival, a two-week celebration of all that is best about local food from September 19 to October 4. There will be events at Blickling Hall, Felbrigg Hall and Oxburgh Hall.

Claire Graves, National Trust communications officer for the East of England, said: 'We are delighted to be part of Norfolk Food Festival, celebrating all that is wonderful about local, seasonal food.

'Sourcing food that is fresh, local and seasonal is at the heart of the National Trust's tea rooms, cafes and restaurants. We invest hundreds of thousands of pounds into Norfolk's food producers each year, and support our tenant farmers and local fishing communities with advice and support.

'We hope to inspire people to discover the delights of growing your own food, and the wonderful taste and satisfaction that 'plot to plate' can bring. The contribution to a reduction in food miles is also a priority. We are delighted to share the same aspirations as Norfolk Food Festival and play our part in this well-established foodie extravaganza.'

Food festival chairman Richard Woolliams said: 'The National Trust are really enthus-iastic, and it is fantastic to have them on board. It fits really well with their Food Glorious Food campaign. They are opening the doors of their three properties across Norfolk for the events that link with the festival.'

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EDP editor Pete Waters said: 'It's great news that the National Trust are getting involved with the EDP Bidwells Food Festival. Their initiatives, particularly the drive to encourage people to grow their own vegetables and the use of their own produce in their restaurants, have a huge impact on educating people about the importance of locally grown food and its environmental benefits.'

The special events include a harvest fair at Felbrigg Hall on Saturday, October 3, a free event with local and seasonal food on sale from some of the area's best producers. Across that weekend Felbrigg's walled garden will be used to provide fruit and vegetables, including historic apple and pear varieties, to decorate the kitchen.

At Oxburgh Hall in Oxborough, near King's Lynn, you can help bring in the harvest from the garden on Wednesday, September 30. Places cost �22.50, including coffee and a light lunch. You can try local cheeses and English wines there at a cheese and wine evening on Saturday, October 3, for �24.

At Blickling Hall, near Aylsham, there is a garden tour and talk called 'mists and mellow fruitfulness' on Sunday, September 27, at 11am. Tickets are �14 including a soup and pudding lunch. There is a 1940s evening on September 3 - eat a wholesome three-course 1940s menu and come in period costume, tickets �26.50.

Another event is an Edwardian afternoon tea with local produce served in Lord Lothian's study, and a tour around Blicking's attics with a chance to view rarely seen items. This event runs daily from Wednesday, September 30, to Sunday, October 4, at 1.30pm and 3pm, tickets �12 including tea.

Booking is essential for the Blickling and Oxburgh events - call 0844 800 4308 for Blickling and 01366 328258 for Oxburgh.

Visit www.norfolkfoodfestival. for more details of these and other food festival events.


These are just a few of the other Norfolk Food Festival events.

t Cooking with Chocolate: September 21, 6pm. Demonstration and tasting of hand-made chocolates and chocolate puddings with Julia Hetherton from Lavender House Restaurant, at the Hotel School at City College Norwich. Tickets �10 from 01603 773227.

t Tallest Jelly Competition: October 2, 11am-1pm. Fun family-friendly competition at the Forum - use edible materials only to create the tallest jelly. Free entry.

t Battle of the Bangers: October 3, 9.30am-4.30pm. Free tasting of local sausages and a chance to vote for your favourite at the Forum, Norwich.