Tuesday, 22 September 2020 11:43

    Great Taste Awards 2020

    Well done to the East Anglian producers who have scooped 272 Great Taste accolades at this year's awards. Among the Great Taste 3-star winners are a number of products that pack a serious punch, including; Le Rêve Organic Molecular Absinthe from Linden Leaf Botanicals in Cambridge, described as “virtually the perfect expression of absinthe” as the judges enjoyed “pure aniseed-balls on the palate, but backed up by woody, herbal, citrus-noted, warm and spiritous notes”; a coffee and chocolate lover’s dream in the form of 70% Tumaco Colombia Dark Chocolate with Colombian Coffee from Tosier ChocolateMaker in Ipswich, applauded for its ““silky smooth” texture and “wild fruitiness, subtle tobacco hints and perfectly pitched bitter notes”; and the “vibrant and exciting” Blackcurrant Fruit Cream Ice from Alder Tree in Needham Market, declared to be “the essence of blackcurrant”, as one judge said, “the shackles are definitely off with this one… brilliant!” Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers, check out all the 2020 winners here and the wide range of award winning products which are available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.

    That's French for my birthday (part 2.) This time up North at Flint Vineyard in Earsham. Owner Ben Witchell took us on his two hour Winemaker's Tour which was bloomin' brilliant. If you want to learn how to make wine then this is as good as it gets on an English vineyard tour (and I've done a few.) Ben shared his story of giving up his day job in order to study Oenology and Viticulture at Plumpton College from where he travelled to Beaujolais to take up his first winemaking post. Hannah his wife has accompanied him on his journey and together they now run this cutting edge vineyard. The tour started at 10am with a welcome glass of Charmat Rose, the best time of the day for your tastebuds apparently. Ben walked and talked with us to the vineyard and then on to the winery, which was followed by a tutored tasting of their Silex Blanc, Bacchus and Pinot Noir. We stayed on for the 15 mile lunch (an additional £19.50) but worth every penny and included plates of Baron Bigod and St Jude cheeses, Marsh Pig charcuterie, Hempnall Village bakery bread and Eastgate Larder medlar jelly; all produced a corks pop away from the vineyard. Oh! ... and the lunch includes another glass of wine.

    Published in Abroad

    His name is Ben Hutton. His restaurant is called Ben's. He has just opened in Bury St Edmunds and here is the link to his story. The food is all locally sourced, with pork reared by Ben himself to create his own recipe Ben's Bangers. The bangers come served on pancetta mash with shredded cabbage, buttered carrots and onion gravy. They were very good indeed. You can't beat bangers and mash on a cold winters night. We also tried the Trio of Jacob lamb prime cuts, which were shoulder, a lamb cutlet and liver. I would argue that liver is not a prime cut and is in fact offal, but I like offal and was happy to order it. It was served with boulangere potatoes, rosemary jus, root veg and savoy cabbage. The lamb was sourced from the local Culford flock and was tender, with plenty of it. I would have liked more gravy. Yes, I call it gravy. Puddings we tried included a selection of the local Alder Carr ice creams ...heaven.. and a cheesecake of the day which was stem ginger and honey. Light, not cloying and very well flavoured. A homemade tuile biscuit perched on the top, some lovely citrussy honey sauce drizzled over and unnecessary squeezy chocolate sauce garnish on the plate. It is good to see a new independent restaurant open in a town which is over run with chains.


    Published in Restaurant foodie
    Monday, 27 October 2014 19:46

    Keep your pound local!

    Shortlisted in the Farming Partnership of the Year category at the British Farming Awards is the East of England Co-operative Society "Sourced Locally" initiative.  Since launching in 2007 Sourced Locally has been helping local farmers and rural businesses build a more sustainable future. Check out our Dish of the Day to meet the producers. Check out one of the 250 Co-op stores in the regional centres of Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester to buy the goods.

    Published in Shopping
    Sunday, 14 September 2014 10:32

    The Leaping Hare

    Quail, grouse, venison, lambs kidneys, wild mushrooms, blackberries, damsons and figs...there's all sorts of delicious Autumn Gameyness on this menu. It declares its honourable local intentions by highlighting the relevant items with two stars for Wyken produced food and one star for those from either Norfolk or Suffolk. We had a friendly, interested and well-informed waitress to help us get to the nitty-gritty of the provenance and anyway we saw the fantastic fig trees on the way in and we know it's true; Wyken has a long and proven reputation. The hits of the meal were the grouse (not starred) served off the bone and as tender as any we have ever had, and the damson trifle (two stars). The meat eaters seemed more favoured tham vegetarians with bigger portions (we didn't all have the grouse - we shared...) and red cabbage on two of the dishes is a bit of a short cut in the kitchen. But for just under £50 a head for three courses, including an on-trend aperitif - Prosecco with Campari and bitters - and a glass of their excellent and award-winning wine, we were happy. As the farmer among us pointed out, why not provide that unctious, golden Hillfarm rapeseed oil to dip the bread in, instead of importing the olive, and then we will send all our Suffolk visitors here.

    Published in Restaurant foodie

    You can't get any more money through the lottery Local Food Grants but there are lots of interesting food projects going on around the country that are not food banks giving away pot noodles and instant mashed potato. There's a community vineyard, primary school allotments, a food circus and have a look at the size of the saucepans they have in Manchester in their Feeding 5000 project.


    Published in Home Grown
    Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:12

    A message for suffolk foodie traders

    We were sent a message, we are passing it on -

    Seeking traders of quality food and drink and related products for our World and Medieval Markets to be held as part of the Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August 2012. We are seeking quality hot and cold foods and drinks including cheeses, meats, bakery products, olives and cooked speciality foods. I wondered if you could perhaps give this a mention on your website or in a newsletter if you have one so food producers in Suffolk can have the opportunity of being involved. More information is available at www.marketsquaregroup.com

    Published in Fetes and Festivals
    Monday, 26 March 2012 13:43

    Another food festival...

    We have been asked to give this a mention, so here it is. This is the first food and drink festival of its kind to be held at Henham Park Nr Southwold, in the lovely setting of the historic walled garden. Over the two days of the Festival, the aim is to celebrate and publicise the amazing variety of food and drink available in East Anglia. Local, regional and national firms will exhibit and there will be a special children’s activity area. Cookery demonstrations and talks will be held throughout both days and those purchasing food will be able to store their shopping in a chilled store. Day entry is £6 for adults and £3 for children aged 12 – 16, under 12’s are free. For more details and to buy tickets please visit www.flavoursof2012.co.uk.

    Published in Fetes and Festivals
    Sunday, 22 May 2011 20:23

    Real Beer and Food Festival

    This was full of people on Saturday and ice creams were selling fast. I tried gooseberry and elderflower (Aldercarr) and double cream vanilla (Criterion) Both were fab. I came home with a mutton curry from Jimmy's Farm, eating it now - very spicy and soon to feature on our Dish of the Day. Also tried guessing the four ingredients of the smoothie - I got carrot, ginger, apple, mango - how did I do?

    Published in Fetes and Festivals