A celebration of all the best food and drink produced in North Norfolk drew large crowds to Holkham at the weekend.
It was the eighth North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival and attracted twelve thousand visitors over the two days.
It was the third time the event had been held in the estate’s large walled garden
Festival chairman chef Chris Coubrough said: “We used to be in the courtyard at Holkham. We moved here - the walled garden is a superb venue. We can get more people in here and it has got a very friendly feel to it.”
This year there were 60 exhibitors and the event is now so popular that each year some 40 exhibitors have to be turned away.
Pye Bakers,from Norwich, won the main £1,000 mentoring award, sponsored by Kettle Chips, but there was also awards for the keen amateur cook as well.
In the cookery theatre, Kate Barmby, known as the Creative Baker, a Great British Bake Off contestant from the 2016 series, judged two cake-baking competitions for adults and the under-14’s in an event supported by a new sponsor, Kinnerton’s Confectionery of Fakenham.
She also displayed her cookery skills alongside a succession of top Norfolk chef’s who produced mouth-watering food to a running commentary by host and cookery writer, Mary Kemp.
Other major sponsors included Arthur Howell Butchers of Wells, the Real Ale Shop, Flying Kiwi Inns, Creake Abbey, Big Green Egg and the North Norfolk Guide.
Amid the tasty smells of food being cooked were exhibitors who are producing more intoxicating aromas from new Norfolk tipples such as Founding Drinks of Beachamwell with their Nelson’s Gold, a liquor made from their Wild Knight vodka and caramelised sugar from Norfolk sugar beet.
The four-month-old Malt Coast Brewery, run by Max and Bruin Maufe and their wives, Andrea and Atessa, are based at Branthill Farm on the Holkham Estate. They are producing craft ales, a process developed in the United States and growing in popularity in this country.
The beer, unlike real ale, is carbonated and chilled in bottles and cans, and is the only craft beer brewed in North Norfolk.
The most interesting new drink on show was a gin-based liquor called King Harry, infused with orange and saffron.
It has been produced by Sally Francis, at Burnham Norton. It is a mellow gold in colour and has been named after the Norfolk dialect name for a Goldfinch.
Her main business is growing saffron and incorporating it into food ingredients such as her saffron flour which was a kitchen staple in Tudor times. Saffron, once a major crop in north Norfolk, was exported from the port of Wells to London and across the sea to the Low Countries more than 500 years ago.
Children were not forgotten when it came to exciting the taste buds.
On their stand Kettle Chips produced 10 flavours including char-grilled chicken, smokey bacon, mushroom and sticky BBQ.
Youngsters were invited to pick three to flavour a tub of plain crisps.
“This weekend has been all about sixty fantastic producers of the best food in North Norfolk,” said Mr Coubrough.
Holkham marketing manager, Laurane Herrieven, up to her elbows in Holkham-grown produce on the estate’s stand, said, “We are delighted to have again hosted such a poplar event.
“It is now well-established in the Holkham calendar.”