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Tasting Norfolk

Food and drink is an expression of culture, history and landscape, nowhere more so than in Norfolk where fertile farms, wild woods and tidal mudflats are surrounded on three sides by the sea. Take a mouth-watering culinary journey of discovery around winding roads where ancient heritage mingles with a cosmopolitan vibe. You will meet artisan makers, producers, farmers and distillers who’ll share their passion for sustainability and encyclopaedic knowledge of the county they love. Find out how Norfolk’s past shapes its gastronomic present and taste the region’s rich natural bounty at a dazzling array of foodie hotspots.

Day 1
Brancaster Oysters & Mussels

Brancaster Oysters & Mussels

Show us your mussels! Norfolk’s seafood is amongst the finest in Britain so buy local and tuck into some of the most nutritious delicacies around. The succulent mussel is a jewel in Norfolk’s culinary crown, sweet, chewy orange treasures sheathed in sleek blue-black shells.

Mussels are sustainably farmed, cultivated on ropes hanging from rafts where they plump up on plankton. Harvested only when mature, they filter sea water helping stabilise banks of sediment. This makes them environmentally benign, key to good sea-stewardship supporting marine ecosystems.

Seafood is part of a rich gastronomic heritage. Norfolk’s ancient Romans were big fans of a tasty mussel, evidenced by shells found during archaeological excavations at the 230AD fort of ‘Branodunum’, east of Brancaster. Centuries later, local fishermen still work the shallow creeks, willing ‘slaves to the tides’.

Here’s the science bit: this impressive shellfish boosts your brain and immune system. They’re anti-inflammatory and packed with zinc, vitamins and levels of folic acid and iron to rival red meat. Best of all, they’re inexpensive and ridiculously easy to prepare. If you fancy a super satisfying supper with a delectable ocean taste, companies like Brancaster Bay Shellfish sell fresh mussels for home cooking. Try switching a wine broth for one made with Norfolk beer. Delicious!

Or dine out! The Mussel Pod, The White Horse, The Jolly Sailors or Salthouse Dun Cow are just some of the fantastic Norfolk restaurants for seafood feasts. Prefer oysters? Family run Brancaster Oysters home deliver. Sorted!

Cocktail Master Class

Cocktail Master Class

Take happy hour to a whole new level with an evening of cocktail making at WhataHoot, after all vodka might not make the world go round but it’s worth a shot…

This fine distillery has been converted from a 17th century warehouse in the heart of historic King’s Lynn. As well as the distilling and bottling suite, WhataHoot is home to a bespoke Gin School & Spirit Lounge where visitors can play around experimenting at a cocktail masterclass with a leading Norfolk mixologist.

You’ll be set up at an elegant bar station with mixology kit, spirits, liquors, juices and ingredients to add intriguing dimensions to your own bespoke creation. All you need to provide is a fabulous name!

Kick off with a champagne cocktail, then it’s time to get stuck in to mixing, muddling, and shaking – learning the skills to build some world-famous cocktails. There’s no rush, it’s all about perfecting your drink’s flavour and presentation with a twist of creative flair. You’ll also try out cool bar flaring skills like free-pouring, shaker spinning and bottle juggling. Eat your heart out Tom Cruise.

You’ll try 4 contrasting cocktails, make 2 and drink 2. Staying sober? Good decision – there are delectable mocktails available too! Then show off your bar flaring skills in a fun mix-off.

All guests receive a special certificate and everyone in the winning group gets a stainless-steel Manhattan cocktail shaker. The evening ends with vodka-based tipple. Who knew school could be this much fun?

Day 2
Cheesemaking at Fielding Cottage

Cheesemaking at Fielding Cottage

Calling all cheesy lovers! Discover a new passion making delectable artisan goat’s cheese on a day course at a farm in the pretty Norfolk countryside. Only 20 minutes from Norwich, Fielding Cottage is home to award-winning goat’s cheeses sought by restaurants and delis across the UK and beyond. In 2009, founder Sam Steggles bought ten goats on a family holiday in Cumbria and started making cheese in the kitchen sink. Now you can learn his legend-dairy secrets! You’ll tour the eco-friendly state-of-the-art factory for the science bit. Then get hands-on practical experience learning how to make your very own goat’s cheese. These experts are as serious about having fun as they are about cheese.

Kick off at 9.15am and finish around 3pm with a mid morning coffee break and lunch in The Goat Shed Kitchen, where you’ll tuck into a delicious grazing board of cheese, crackers and salad. At the end of the day, you’ll take home a certificate, handbook covering everything you’ve learned and box of tangy goat’s cheese to mature at home.

Wherever you are in the world cheesemakers transform local nature into a proud expression of regional identity. So stock up on foodie treats right next door at The Goat Shed farm shop. Look out for Fielding Cottage’s own Norfolk Mardler cheese, named after the word for having a good old gossip. Dipped in sunshine yellow wax it’s a stylish choice for brightening up your festive cheese board!

Day 3
Black Shuck Distillery Visit and Tasting

Black Shuck Distillery Visit and Tasting

Thanks to family run independents, Norfolk’s reputation for fabulous gin production keeps going from strength to strength. And who could fail to be intrigued by Black Shuck? A legendary spirit in more ways than one! Naming a gin after Norfolk’s favourite phantom hound is inspired. After all, some say Black Shuck was a tale conjured up by wily booze smugglers. And others have seen him on the way home from a riotous night in the pub…just saying!

Whatever you think of ghost stories, Black Shuck Gin is definitely the real deal. Whether you’re into negronis, gimlets or a classic G&T, a trip to Black Shuck is a total delight. Come and meet Sarah, Patrick and their team who will guide you through Black Shuck’s superb range of artisanal products.

Over 90 fascinating minutes, you’ll find out about distilling and see the Black Shuck still. Home bartenders will love the botanical tasting notes and tips for stylish serves whilst sampling some delectable locally made gins, rums and liqueurs.

Black Shuck distillery uses the finest natural ingredients, sourced on family outings foraging for hedgerow sloes. They also work with local producers like Norfolk Lavender and Sharrington strawberries only a few miles from the still – you can’t get fresher than that!

Gin lovers will want to bag some treats at the shop – Cacao and Pistachio Gin? Delicious! But before heading home, you’ll hear the tale of Norfolk’s Legendary Spirit – terrifying Black Shuck. No wonder you’ll need a stiff drink!

Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market

Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market

Named by Diana Henry in the Daily Telegraph as one of ‘Britain’s 20 Finest Farmers’ Markets’, award-winning Creake Abbey makes food shopping an absolute pleasure. Held on the first Saturday of every month (except January) there are over 50 stalls of delicious fresh local produce including meat, vegetables, seasonal fruit and flowers, cheese, cakes, savoury and sweet tarts, pies, fudge, artisan breads, pickles, oils, vinegars, preserves, local ales and wines, juices and plants plus much more.

Set up in picturesque brick and flint barns complete with pond, the 50 core stall holders are joined by guest producers, so there’s always something new to try. Fresh, flavoursome and connected to the year’s turning seasons, it’s a delightfully eco friendly way to stock up year round, boost the local economy and strengthen community. Directly supporting farms gives you more bang for your nutritional buck too, nourishing body and soul with lovingly produced food picked at its peak.

Chat directly to the people who’ve grown, caught, brewed, pickled, smoked and baked the treats you’re popping in your basket. There’s no better way to get great advice on prepping mouth-watering ingredients and tasting samples is very much encouraged!

The market runs from 9.30am to 1pm. Perfect timing for a picnic lunch near the ruins of the nearby beautiful Augustinian Abbey (dating from 1206). In addition, six independent shops and the Creake Abbey Café and Food Hall stay open throughout the year from 10am to 4pm.

Day 4
Bullard’s Gin Experience

Bullard’s Gin Experience

The Bullards name is synonymous with the heritage of Norwich. Across six generations the fortunes of Norfolk’s esteemed drinks producer have risen, fallen and revived again in line with the curious vagaries of history. The story of this iconic Norwich company is one of hard work, reinvention, evolution and the strength of family. And it’s best heard from Bullards themselves.

Ideal for G&T lovers, a Bullards gin journey distils generations of knowledge into a rich sensory experience. You’ll discover tasting techniques whilst enjoying the botanical flavours and aromas that give gin its essence, rounding things off with a refreshing Gin and Tonic. Cheers!

Bullards’ fascinating heritage is woven through its drinks, from the names of the gin to the shape of the bottle, modelled on the Bullards chimney, a famous Norfolk landmark. The company is now leading the way in innovative environmental practices such as eco-pouches delivered by good old Royal Mail. This is a local business that’s truly earned its trademarked strapline ‘the spirit of Norwich’.

30-40 botanicals are used across the five Bullards gins, each botanical telling its own story of Norfolk’s nature, spirit and variety. Yet perhaps a sense of place is most poetically expressed by the Coastal Gin, flavoured with sustainably foraged local seasonal ingredients such as samphire, wild fennel, sea purslane, sea aster and Douglas fir pine. Its delicate salty tang is alight with bright citrus like sunshine dancing on the water – and on the palate! Truly the taste of Norfolk.

Build your own itinerary

If you fancy creating your own itinerary for a day trip to Norfolk or a longer visit, it couldn’t be simpler. Just go to Search Activities and select from our wide range of free and paid-for experiences, saving any that capture your imagination with the click of a button.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll find all the information stored in My Favourite, where you can drag and drop activities to create your own day-by-day itinerary! You can download this to a calendar and even share it with friends.

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