Norwich Food and Drink Festival dates to get your teeth into

Afternoon tea at the Assembly House. Picture: Denise Bradley Afternoon tea at the Assembly House. Picture: Denise Bradley

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
4:32 PM

It’s the largest event of its kind in the country and it’s right here in our fine county – the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 celebrates a delicious decade this year and has a programme of events guaranteed to whet every appetite. STACIA BRIGGS reveals some of the highlights of the first half of the festival.

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The Battle of the Bangers. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Battle of the Bangers. Picture: Denise Bradley

The festival is a unique opportunity for producers, consumers, restaurateurs and businesses in Norfolk to get together to highlight the incredible food and drink offer in the county and encourage as many people as possible to take part in the celebration which this year runs from August 30 to October 12.

This year’s Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 includes events such as the Battle of the Bangers, the Moveable Feast, Dining in the Dark and new events such as the Pop-Up Producers Weekend and Picnic and Norwich Restaurant Week.

Today we whet your appetite with some of the tempting treats on offer up until September 15.

Battle of the butchers, Tony Perkins, left, and Jamie Archer at the Battle of the Bangers. Picture: Denise BradleyBattle of the butchers, Tony Perkins, left, and Jamie Archer at the Battle of the Bangers. Picture: Denise Bradley

August 30 to August 31: North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, Holkham Hall:

The fifth North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival supported by Kettle Chips is packed with the best of the best from one of the jewels in Norfolk’s crown. More than 60 of North Norfolk’s finest food and drink producers are set to attend, showcasing everything from venison to real ale and there will be children’s activities such as cupcake decorating and face painting. A programme of exciting cookery demonstrations will include appearances by Richard Bainbridge from Morston Hall and festival patron Chris Coubrough. The festival, which also boasts a food courtyard with plenty of delicious meals and drinks for sale, takes place from 10am to 5pm within and around the historic courtyard of Holkham Hall.

August 30: A Taste of Northrepps:

Scenes from the Breck Food and Drink food festival Farmers Marketl - Jack Firman of Jack's Norfolk Hampers. Picture: Matthew Usher.Scenes from the Breck Food and Drink food festival Farmers Marketl - Jack Firman of Jack's Norfolk Hampers. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Northrepps Cottage Country Hotel in Cromer will be hosting a taster day for friends – old and new – to sample a taste of Northrepps. Between 3pm and 4pm, new chef Jonathan Gardiner will be serving complimentary canapés for visitors to sample tasters from the new menu and enjoy local produce. From 4pm, Jonathan will be serving a hog roast until 6pm and there will be music on the lawn.

• August 30 to October 11: Norfolk-themed Afternoon Tea at The Assembly House:

Enjoy a Norfolk-themed afternoon tea in the opulent dining rooms at one of Norwich’s most splendid buildings. On the menu between noon and 5pm, Monday to Saturday, will be sandwiches of creamed Binham Blue, free-range egg and cress, Cley Smokehouse salmon, Norfolk ham and Colman’s Mustard mayonnaise, cheese and fruit scones, Grain stout chocolate brownies, honey and mustard cheesecake, raspberry and green tea tipsy trifle and canary macaroons with a choice of loose leaf teas from Wilkinsons of Norwich. The menu has been designed by pastry chef Mark Mitson, who has previously worked as a pastry chef at Claridges. £29.95 for two or £16 for one.

• September 1 to September 7: Norwich Restaurant Week:

A new event for 2014, Norwich Restaurant Week - sponsored by Norse and supported by the Norwich BID – is a celebration of the city’s eateries. There will be all kinds of special menus, dishes, offers, activities and events which focus on the best local food and drink. For more information, and to find out which restaurants are participating, visit www.norfolkfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

• September 4 to September 5: Feast on the Street:

Feast on the Street will be outside the Forum in Norwich to showcase a wide range of delicious street food served from an eclectic array of tents, caravans, trucks and stalls. From pulled pork to polenta cakes, gumbo to chilli, the feast will start at 12 noon each day.

• September 4: The Norfolk Showcase, sponsored by Stonesthrow Food:

A new event which aims to highlight the exceptional quality of the food and drink produced in Norfolk. Hosted by BBC Radio Norfolk’s David Clayton and featuring cookery demonstrations from festival patron Richard Hughes, the night-time event will include an arrival drink, a two-course dinner (cider roast pork belly, roasted cauliflower, Norfolk Peer potato salad, orchard spiced pudding cake with locally-brewed beer ice-cream) with coffee, a cookery demonstration, a question and answer session and recipe sheets to take home. Tickets cost £25 each (£200 for a table of 10) and everyone who books will receive a £10 grocery pack worth £10 (subject to delivery restrictions) which will in turn showcase the best produce from the area. For more details and to book a place at the events, call The Assembly House on 01603 626402. For more information, visit www.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk and www.stonesthrow.co.uk.

• September 5: Café Culture sponsored by Spire Solicitors LLP:

New to the festival, the Café Culture event at the Forum in Norwich will celebrate everything from a hot steaming mug of coffee on the market to a brew in one of the small independent cafes, restaurants and bistros in the city while not forgetting the larger establishments, both independent and national. There will be the first NNFF Regional Barista Competition, cake demonstrations, competitions and much more. From 10am to 4pm.

• September 6: Norwich Food and Drink Festival, sponsored by The Maid’s Head Hotel:

Battle of the Bangers: The famous Battle of the Bangers competition brings visitors from around the county to the centre of Norwich to sample a wonderful variety of sausages from Norfolk butchers who then vote for their favourite banger. Expert judges also make their own choice – this year, judges are Paul Pearce and Richard Larner from Brewin Dolphin (which is sponsoring the event), The Sausage King, Stephen Briggs from Jarrolds, Anthony Isaacs from BBC Radio Norfolk and Jamie Archer from Archers Butchers, last year’s double winner. The event is free for the public and begins at 9.30am outside the Forum. Butchers who have signed up include The Beefsmith from Starston, FL Edge and Son Ltd from East Harling, Tasty Tavern Meats from Swafield, Bradwell Butchery, Bakery and Delicatessen, The Fruit Pig Company and Icarus Hines from Cromer.

The Norfolk Producers’ Market: Almost 30 stalls of locally-produced food and drink will be showcasing their wares at the Forum.

City Farm: At the City Farm stand, sponsored by Ben Burgess, visitors can learn about food and its origins from the farmers who grow it. Sit in a modern tractor, find out about farming apprentice schemes and meet Norfolk Young Farmers.

• September 6 to September 14: Brecks Food and Drink Festival:

The Brecks Food and Drink Festival, sponsored by Waitrose, is a celebration of the food and drink produced in this incredible corner of Norfolk, with its mixed landscape of tranquil forest, open heathland and agricultural land. The festival will include the Elveden Big Onion Festival on September 6 and 7 at the Elveden Estate, a main weekend of events in and around Swaffham on September 12 to 14, an art trail, a shop window competition, a farmers’ market, an international food day, a butchery demonstration and a pop-up restaurant.

• September 9: Brasted’s Fish and Chip Supper in aid of The Caister Lifeboat:

A chance to celebrate the heroic efforts of the local fishermen who crew the Caister Lifeboat and to enjoy a great meal at the same time. There will be tales from the sea, shanties and the fish cooked will be sourced by the crew themselves. Posh fish and chips with dessert and coffee, £20 per person. For more details, call 01508 491112 or visit www.brasteds.co.uk.

• September 13 to September 14: Great Taste Food Festival, intu Chapelfield:

There will be a professional cookery theatre on Chapelfield Plain where shoppers can watch live cookery demonstrations and take away samples and recipe cards. There will also be foodie workshops for children, mocktail making sessions, comedy chefs and restaurants inside the centre have been encouraged to create something special for the festival.

• September 15: EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2014, in association with the East of England Co-op, Norfolk Showground:

Celebrating the very best of Norfolk’s food and drink and the people who stand out from the rest, these awards are sponsored by some of the most respected names in the county’s food, drink and hospitality industry and are valued for the recognition they bring to the winners, their peers and their customers. The finalists will be at this gala awards ceremony and there will be full coverage in the EDP.

The Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, sponsored by Spire Solicitors and Adnams, runs from August 30 to October 12 and includes a host of events across the county.

• For more details and to access the full calendar of events, visit www.norfolkfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

• Look out for the next set of festival highlights in the EDP on September 11.

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