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10 foods you have to try at Holkham Hall's Festive Food Fair this weekend

PUBLISHED: 10:58 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:53 11 December 2017

Elaina Pitt of So Sweet. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Elaina Pitt of So Sweet. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

Holkham Hall hosts its Festive Food Fair on December 16 and 17 with lots of wonderful local food and drink to sample.

The festive food fair has started at Holkham Hall. Picture: Angela SharpeThe festive food fair has started at Holkham Hall. Picture: Angela Sharpe

Holkham Hall is undeniably one of the most jaw-dropping buildings in Norfolk. And no more so than at Christmas, when the stately rooms and grounds twinkle and shine.

This year the hall flings open its doors for its Festive Food Fair - a veritable buffet for the senses, bringing some of Norfolk’s most delectable food and drink products together in The Lady Elizabeth Wing where you can meet the makers and, the best part, sample their wares.

Taking place this weekend (December 16 and 17) from 10am to 5pm, entry is free (parking £3), and this is so much more than just a few stalls.

The scents of warm soup, chestnuts roasting and mulled wine will whirl through the grounds, emanating from Christmas food chalets.

There are workshops on both days for children, who can show off their decorating skills by icing gingerbread trees, or studding oranges with cloves to create pomanders (booking essential).

Then, Charlie’s Food Heroes, is hosting the It’s Not All About Turkey cookery theatre, with demonstrations on both days from local chefs including Eric Snaith, Roger Hickman and Arthur Howell and the Flying Kiwi.

Amongst the exhibitors are several craftspeople, but here are our top 10 foodie must-sees.

Bakeshack

In many households Boxing Day isn’t complete without a decent pie on the table. If pork pies aren’t your thing, Bakeshack offer several fascinating alternatives, all with an Oriental twist. Encased in goose fat hot water pastry, fillings range from venison with dried Mandarin oranges, to black truffle chicken with mushrooms.

Norfolk Charcuterie

Launched last year, this exciting brand transforms locally-sourced meat into products such as lomo, made by curing pork loin with orange zest, mixed spice, pepper and black sugar, and various salamis made with Holkham venison. Try venison, chilli and cocoa nib, venison, orange and juniper, and venison, fennel and black pepper.

Season’s Bounty

Ali must have the most aromatic kitchen in Norfolk. The stoves are always filled with pots bubbling away with her ingenious, award-winning jams and marmalades. From a simple but pure strawberry jam, to marmalades infused with exotic bergamot, she has something for everyone – even those who say they hate marmalade.

Blackbird Cottage

Ruth’s pates, terrines, parfaits and rillettes are inspired by time she spent working in Provence. Each recipe has been painstakingly researched for authenticity, and is made with the best local meats, without gluten, preservatives or egg. A must-buy is the smooth chicken liver parfait with black truffle.

Dann’s Ice Cream

Ice lollies and luxurious ice cream made in Norfolk. The ice cream is super creamy, made with free-range eggs and dairy from pedigree Holstein-Freisian cows. Flavours to serve up at the Christmas table could include rum and raisin, toffee and fudge, or coffee.

BON Bakery

We all like a dunking biscuit, and nothing withstands a swirl in coffee like a twice-baked biscotti. This bakery’s range of flavours includes salted caramel, coffee and hazelnut and lemon and poppyseed. There are gluten-free biscotti too.

So Sweet

Pretty handmade chocolates, truffles, novelties, fudges and brittles. The world-inspired bars are especially scrummy and daringly different. There’s A Taste of Copenhagen, for example, studded with dried apple and cinnamon. And A Taste of Mississippi is a white chocolate bar run through with Belgian chocolate sauce, chocolate buttons, brownie pies and chocolate sprinkles.

Candi’s Chutneys

Chef Candi loves thinking outside of the pot when it comes to her chutneys and preserves, all made with Norfolk ingredients. Her take on piccalilli (Norfolk Knobbly Chutney) is ideal alongside your Christmas cold cuts and (sigh of relief for some) is made without cauliflower.

Syms Pantry

It’s hard to describe this business’s bacon jam. Smoky, salty, umami, sweet. You’ll have to try it yourself. There’s bacon ketchup, mustard, mayo and brown sauce too.

The Fudge Company

Made in Cromer, all the artisanal fudges from The Fudge Company have a Belgian truffle fudge base. For Christmas, limited edition flavours to try will include Caribbean Christmas (with spiced rum), Mince Pie (with chunks of the pie) and Orange and Cranberry.

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