As I’ve got older, I have realised that food is a really important part of being on holiday. Of course you want some great places to eat out (see my blog on eating out recommendations), but cooking and eating quality local food really makes holidays memorable. It’s also a great way to make sure your pounds really get into the local economy, an opportunity to experience something new and meet the locals.
Norfolk is famous for its Cromer Crab, Asparagus, Samphire and of course Colman’s mustard which has its home in Norwich. Since moving here in 2013, I have tried to seek out some great local food that I would definitely put on the menu if I were staying in one of our self-catering barns.
We have an allotment on site for guests, which Grandad Terry regularly tends. Guests are invited to pick whatever is in season. It won’t be enough to sustain you during your stay though, unless you come in July in which case you can feast every day on courgettes, potatoes and raspberries. Once we get some more chickens and we can figure out how to keep Mr Fox at bay, we should be able to pop some of our own gorgeous eggs in your basket too. For now the girls on the farm down the road are supplying us!
Off site, first on my local food list would be The Tacons. It’s a little farm shop run by friends in the nearby village of Rollesby. They sell most seasonal veg, as well as local milk, Norton’s Dairy soft cheese; eggs; honey; quality charcuterie; cakes and fruit. If you are coming for Christmas this would be a great place to stock up on some fresh Christmas vegetables. Come in April and May and they grow the most delicious Norfolk Asparagus – they even have an open day in May to celebrate all things asparagus. The Tacons open all the time and doesn’t seem to ever get busy or sell out. They also run pick your own in the summer months for fruit like strawberries, which is always lovely for the kids.
Slightly further afield is Truly Local in Stalham. This shop is a real success story for Norfolk food and local produce. They only stock food that is from a 35 mile radius of the store and still manage to keep going, even though there is a Tesco’s pretty much on its doorstep. It’s bigger than the Tacons and sells a wider range of produce, but less veg. Bread, preserves, beer and meat can be found here as well as local crafts – ideal gifts and souvenirs.
For meat, I’d recommend Chapman’s butchers. I always order one of their reasonably priced ‘Norfolk black free range turkeys’ for Christmas. This family butcher is in the neighbouring village in Martham and sells a nice range of local meats, including venison and free range Blythburgh pork, from Suffolk. Their sausages are pretty good too. Some of their meat is now on sale in Winterton’s Post Office. Welcome to the countryside.
For fresh fish and shell fish we head a few miles south to Dabs n Crabs in Scratby. Here you can also arrange sea fishing trips on the Sea Quest, which depart from Great Yarmouth harbour. Neil went on a trip earlier this year for a friend’s birthday and caught a large Thornback ray.
For local beer you can try local Norfolk Brewery, Woodfords. They deliver via mail order or you can arrange a brewery tour and stock up in the shop. Or for a day out Wroxam Barns is a good option for beer, condiments and local fudge. Its cafe and ‘junior farm’ are also worth a visit. For lovely local apple juice you can try the East Norfolk Trading Company which is available locally. They also press our apples every year.
If you are staying with us Blakes Bakes, Artisan baker, Andrew, makes your arrival cake. You can always contact him directly if you’d like to order any more cakes during your stay – or to take home. 07748664739
You could also try the wonderful Norfolk Gin, available in our local post office.
The great news is that the local food scene here is definitely on the up and it’s always lovely when our guests tell us about places we don’t know about. On the list to discover is the road side fudge seller or a chap that sells fish from one of the little cottages, also in the same little fishing village, Sea Palling. I am a keen baker (and often put fresh bread in our welcome basket) so I am keen to check out Norwich’s secret baker under the coloured market too.