8 Must Eat Norfolk Foods
Celebrate fabulous food in Norfolk. Here we feature our 8 ‘Must-Eat’ foods from Cromer Crab to Brancaster Mussels. From market town to farm shop, all can be found, in season all over Norfolk.
This isn’t a definitive list by any means as there is such a wonderful array of great food & drink to sample in Norfolk. These are just a few to consider while on your travels around the fabulous county of Norfolk.
It had to be in pole position – it’s as distinctively Norfolk as pasties are to Cornwall and champagne to northern France. The reason they’re so good is that Cromer crabs thrive on the chalk reef just off the coast and are known for their tender flesh and high proportion of white meat to dark.
Crabs were caught all along the coast but it was the expansion of Cromer as a Victorian seaside resort that made their name.
Available on just about every street corner in Cromer and a delicacy in cafes and restaurants throughout Norfolk.
A seasonal delicacy held in high regard since the Roman times. Labour intensive to grow, asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant and considered to be one of the delicacies of the vegetable world. The light soil of East Anglia creates the perfect growing conditions for this vegetable.
Driving around Norfolk you’ll find plenty of impromptu roadside stalls selling these delicious shoots however this popular vegetable is on many menus whether that be a small local café to some of the county’s top restaurants.
The clean harbour waters of Brancaster Staithe make it an ideal area for shellfish. Enjoyed during months with an ‘R’, so roughly from September to April depending on how warm early autumn and spring are.
Collected when they’re young, they are then moved to lays (beds) in the tidal creeks and left to mature nicely before harvesting.Fresh mussels can be enjoyed in pubs, restaurants and cafes all along the Norfolk coast.
Marsh samphire, otherwise known as “sea asparagus” thrives in our tidal salt marshes and creeks along the North Norfolk coast and is fabulous steamed and eaten with butter. It’s sometimes called sea asparagus or sea pickle, in Norfolk it is commonly called sampha [sam-fa].
It looks like a miniature cactus, but without the spines and has a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. It is a unique wild plant which tastes of the sea. We absolutely love it and had never tasted it until we moved to Norfolk.
Stiffkey cockles are generally thought to be the finest cockles available in Great Britain. They are also know locally as ‘Stewkey Blues’ because of their distinctive grey-blue colour which comes from the mud and the sand in which they live. Cockles, which were once a traditional British food, and treasured particularly in the East End of London, are now something of a seaside treat.
They are still harvested in the same way as they were traditionally, using broad rakes and nets, and are best enjoyed while fresh by the seaside.
Mrs Temple’s Cheese
Farmhouse cheeses, hand made in Norfolk from their own cows available in a wide range of flavours and textures. Made at Copys Green Farm at Wighton using milk from the Chalk Farm herd of Holstein Friesians and the Copys Green herd of Swiss Brown cows.
Handmade cheeses developed to offer a Norfolk cheeseboard. Walsingham and Hard Matured Cheese (also available smoked), Wells Alpine a supple mountain type cheese, Warham Cheese, a semi soft available in Mustard, Tomato and Herb or Cumin variants. Binham Blue, a soft blue veined cheese.
Yes! Norfolk Turkeys really are ‘bootiful’ and they’re not just for Christmas either. Lean, healthy and versatile, it’s a great food for any time of the year. Just ask Marco Pierre White, who is an ambassador for Bernard Matthews Farms and has concocted some fabulous recipes.
Believed to have come to the United Kingdom via Spain, the farmers of East Anglia quickly adopted the Black turkey as their breed of choice and now Norfolk has been synonymous with rearing great tasting turkeys and work very hard to keep that tradition going.
The great thing about game is that it’s all around us, which makes it very sustainable, particularly in a big rural county like Norfolk where edible game birds and mammals are plentiful.
Game is a great meat packed full of natural flavours, this a specialty of The Brecks – no wonder, with all those forests and high grass – and usually refers to wild animals and birds that are hunted and eaten.
Look out for venison, pheasants and pigeons on pub and restaurant menus, or buy locally from farm shops and deli’s and cook it for yourself.