Holkham holds a food fair

Fine food and drink, produced in North Norfolk, drew large crowds MLNF15PB09711 ANL-150709-112322001
Fine food and drink, produced in North Norfolk, drew large crowds MLNF15PB09711 ANL-150709-112322001

The annual North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham at the weekend moved from its traditional setting to a new home.

It was relocated to the shadow of a Walled Garden because of building work at the original site.

Emma Thornburn (left) and Marie Johnson were pirates for the day on their stall selling all kinds of tasty cakes MLNF15PB09714 ANL-150709-113448001

Emma Thornburn (left) and Marie Johnson were pirates for the day on their stall selling all kinds of tasty cakes MLNF15PB09714 ANL-150709-113448001

Mainly fine weather attracted over 8,000 visitors over the two days.

“It’s a fantastic venue,” said festival chairman, TV chef Chris Coubrough, who felt the new site brilliantly showcased the event.

“We’ve got 55 of the best North Norfolk producers of food and drink in one beautiful setting.”

“Of course, none of it would have been possible without Kettle Chips who have paid for all the overhead costs and again we have to thank Lord and Lady Leicester for letting us use Holkham.”

A taste of vintage Poacher cheese anyone?   Diana Brocklebank-Scott, the festival's marketing manager, tempting passers by. MLNF15PB09713 ANL-150709-112855001

A taste of vintage Poacher cheese anyone? Diana Brocklebank-Scott, the festival's marketing manager, tempting passers by. MLNF15PB09713 ANL-150709-112855001

The aroma of roasting meat, herbs and spices, strong cheeses and cream-filled, icing-topped naughty sugar-rich cakes wafted past the noses of visitors as they toured the stands.

There was every thing from gluten-free Indian meals to chillies, chutneys, mouth-watering chocolates, fudges, truffles, soups, ciders, artisan bread, micro-brewed beers, seafood, coffee, speciality teas and much more.

But the chance to buy good food was only part of the visitors experience.

In the Mary Kemp Cookery Theatre several local chefs including Chris Coubrough and Wells butcher Arthur Howell, Vanessa Scott of Strattons Hotel at Swaffham, Nik Hare (Nik Hare) of the Victoria at Holkham, Harry Kodagoda (Kodagoda) of the White Horse at Brancaster and Eric Staith of Titchwell Manor demonstrated the art of cooking fine food.

Pride of place at the show went to Candi Robertson, of Candi’s Chutney who, though only three years in the business, is already a Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste award winner with her Parsnip and Chilli chutney. She won Kettle Chips £1,000 Kettle mentoring award.

“They’ll guide me. A knowledge of how Kettle works is important because it will help me develop my business and enable met to be even more successful than it is now.”

Botanist, Sally Francis from Burnham Norton, has been developing her saffron growing business since 2009 and now grows over 20,000 crocus plants a year for the saffron threads, one of the most expensively spices in the world.

Unique to her business, alongside selling the saffron strands, she has developed Saffron flour and King Harry orange and saffron liquor. And to cap it all she has also written a book which details the history of the spice alongside a range of cookery recipes using saffron.

The Bread Source stand could not be passed by unnoticed.

They piled their bread, cakes and pastries high and sold out fast. “Our artisan bread uses no fat, sugar or chemicals,” said Sarah Latimer. Their Ciabatta bread won a gold at last year’s World Bread awards.

Nearby Catherine Temple from Wighton was displaying a food that would go well with the award-winning bread. Her wide range of hand-made cheeses from Mozzarella-style to Dutch Edam, blue cheeses and classic English cheeses are all made using the milk from Temple Farms’ herds. Her new Gurney’s Gold has just won a gold medal at the British Cheese awards,

Although it was a foodies paradise there was more. Entertainment for younger visitors was provided by pupils from Wells Alderman Peel high school. The Eastern Inshore fisheries and Inshore Conservation Authority allowed visitors a hands-on experience with live lobsters and crabs in a special sea-water tank.

A special space was also reserved for the East Anglian Children’s Hospice at Quidenham which has outgrown it present promises and is raising £10,000,000 for a new hospice to cope with demand.

There was simply was something for everyone.