All you need to know about the 2018 North Norfolk Food Festival at Holkham Hall
- Credit: North Norfolk Food Festival
Follow the food fans in the know to a corner of Norfolk where the very best of the county is being showcased at an annual show which is a must for those who love the very best produce from North Norfolk. Here's what you can look forward to at 2018's North Norfolk Food Festival.
From the honesty boxes on the roadside brimming with samphire to the extraordinary selection of incredible pubs and restaurants serving simply stunning food, the independent delicatessens which share the best of Norfolk's bounty with customers to the brewers turning malt into gold, the north of the county houses an embarrassment of gourmet riches.
The north boasts exceptional seafood and its fertile land provides incredible fruit and vegetables in addition to the pastures where cows and sheep are raised for milk to produce artisan cheese or for their superior meat.
And it's also home to one of the biggest events in Norfolk's food calendar, The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham Hall on September 1 and 2.
This year, the festival boasts more exhibitors, a brand new sponsor, a new award for a North Norfolk Food Hero, a chance to find out how to make the ultimate Great Norfolk Breakfast and the opportunity to help create a showstopping Biscuit Beach Hut with Norfolk's former Great British Bake Off contestant Kate Barmby.
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Now in its ninth year and one of the region's most popular local produce events, the festival has become a firm favourite in the Norfolk social calendar, attracting more than 50 stall holders and up to 12,000 visitors every year. And it's easy to see why.
Chris Coubrough, from The Crown Hotel, Wells, is Festival Chairman: 'We are so proud of the festival, which has grown and grown over the years and is now an event which is a real highlight of the year. It's not just a celebration of our rich, culinary heritage and a chance to showcase outstanding field-to-fork produce to a wider audience, it's also a fantastic weekend to enjoy food and drink with friends and family in a stunning, iconic location. It's a feast for all the senses!
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'It's a fantastic event to take part in and grows year on year, demonstrating just how popular and, thanks to a wealth of growers, brewers, producers, farmers, chefs and bakers, diverse and thriving Norfolk's food and drink scene is.'
Testament to the quality of provenance of local food and drink, all exhibitors' products must be grown, reared, caught, produced or sold in North Norfolk.
As with previous years, stall holders, food concessions and sponsors can be found in the historic Walled Garden with the range of sweet and savoury produce including: real ales and fresh juices; fresh meat and poultry; local seafood; cheese; vegetables; local honey, cakes, fruit, ice-cream, puddings and tarts.
The food court area, just outside the Walled Garden, will provide attendees with a tantalising range of food and drink for consumption on site, from concessions including Arthur Howell and his famous hog roast, the Fruit Pig Company with its award-winning sausages and Morston Mud Inns with seafood.
For those inspired by what they see and taste around them, there's the opportunity to learn from the experts in the ever-popular Cookery Theatre, organised and hosted by Mary Kemp, where leading chefs and bakers demonstrate their skills.
In addition to Chris, who will be cooking up a storm using locally sourced produce, will be Fran Hartsthorne (The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe), Eric Snaith (Titchwell Manor), Vanessa Scott (Strattons, Swaffham) and Michael Chamberlain (The Victoria Inn, Holkham). Richard Bainbridge (Benedicts, Norwich) will also be joining the Cookery Theatre for the first time.
Breakfast (or second breakfast) lovers will enjoy getting tips from Wells-based butcher, Arthur Howell, Chris Coubrough and Kate Barmby, a former contestant on The Great British Bake Off, creating their version of The Great Norfolk Breakfast.
Kate,will also be showcasing her cooking skills in what looks set to become one of the main talking points of the festival: creating a beach hut scene made of biscuits in the Children's Baking Tent. Attending children will be welcome to get their hands sticky by decorating biscuits as sea creatures which will then be added to the Biscuit Beach Hut.
She will also join the judging panel for the baking competition hosted by Kinnerton's Chocolate along with some of the festival committee, including Mary Kemp, Sarah Hardy and Lucy Downing, brand manager for sponsors SALT, the county's boutique, coastal holiday retreat company.
Children will be kept well entertained when not filling up on delicious goodies. Tilly the Talespinner, a Norfolk-based storyteller will be weaving her magic and captivating children and adults alike, with stories providing nourishment for the soul throughout the festival.
There will also be a food-related treasure hunt.
New for this year, the festival committee has decided to honour a local food hero, Teddy Maufe, specialist barley grower and brewer from Holkham Estate's Branthill Farm and the original founder of the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.
Teddy said: 'The North Norfolk Food Hero Award means a lot to me as promoting North Norfolk food and drink has always been a goal of mine. Being a farmer here near Wells-next-the-Sea, closely allied to the food and drink chain, sowed the seed of the idea to start a North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival. This, I am so pleased to say has grown and grown helped by a great committed committee and a lovely venue courtesy of the Holkham Estate in their Walled Gardens.'
Kettle Foods, which uses potatoes mainly grown in North Norfolk, will once again be the festival's headline sponsor.
As headline sponsor, Kettle Foods will once again be offering a £1,000 mentoring prize to help start-ups and small producers. Commenting on what such a prize means to smaller producers, 2017 winner, John Watt a.k.a. Grimsby from Pyebaker says: 'Our year at Pyebaker has been difficult to say the least. Many companies have suffered in this past year and our High Streets are changing and many of the big names have disappeared.
'With the help of Ashley Hicks and his team at Kettle Foods I personally have taken a lot of advice about how I look at Pyebaker, our team and the internal structure of the company. The prize is not just about winning it's about how and why it can help. I thank Kettle Foods for this opportunity my only regret is that I didn't have more time to spare with Ashley and his team.'
The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is organised by a Festival Committee. Festivals such as this are supported by a county wide organisation: Norfolk Food and Drink Ltd.
* Festival gates open at 10am and close at 4pm. Holkham Hall is open on the Sunday from 12 noon until 4pm (last entry). Holkham Park is open both days from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free of charge. A car parking charge of £3 applies in Holkham Park.
* For more information about the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, please visit www.northnorfolkfoodfestival.co.uk