February 28, 2024

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The View On Cooking

Traditional Norfolk food 2021 | Eastern Daily Press

Cromer crab – Norfolk is famous for the sweet-tasting crabs which live on the unique chalk reef stretching along the north coast just out to sea.  

Cromer crab is one of Norfolk's most famous delicacies.

Cromer crab is one of Norfolk’s most famous delicacies.

– Credit: Antony Kelly/Archant

Stiffkey cockles – known as Stewkey blues from the traditional pronunciation for Stiffkey and the blue colouring of their shells, can be eaten steamed or boiled, seasoned with and vinegar, or put in pies and soups.  

Stiffkey Marshes and Beach. Picture: Martin Sizeland

Stiffkey Marshes and Beach. Picture: Martin Sizeland

– Credit: Martin Sizeland

Norfolk black turkey – turkeys were brought back to Europe from America in the 16th century and  thrived in Norfolk, which developed its own breeds. Local farms still sell Norfolk blacks and many  people in the county, and much further afield too, consider them an essential part of Christmas – and delicious all year round.

Norfolk turkeys

Norfolk black turkeys.

– Credit: Matthew Usher

Asparagus – only another 10 months to wait for the next Norfolk asparagus season. The county is one of the best places in the country to grow asparagus. From April to June it is sold from roadside stalls as well as shops. Traditionally harvesting finishes on the longest day of the year, to allow the plants to soak up enough energy for next year’s crop. 

Asparagus. Picture: Matthew Usher.


– Credit: Matthew Usher

Samphire – the fleshy green plant thrives in tidal saltmarshes from June to September and its succulent stems can be boiled as the perfect accompaniment to fish. A true delicacy, it is often sold in fishmongers, and served in fine restaurants.  

Samphire growing in the marshes at Thornham harbour.

Samphire growing in the marshes at Thornham harbour.

– Credit: IAN BURT

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Cheese – a Norfolk cheeseboard would be lavishly laden with the many cheeses created in the county. Some, like Mrs Temple’s Binham Blue, Walsingham and Copy’s Cloud, are named for villages near the dairy. Others, like Norfolk Dapple and Norfolk Tawny from Ferndale Farm, Barningham, or Norfolk White Lady of Willow Farm, Deopham, are named for the county itself. Or how about a chat over some Norfolk Mardler or Wensum White goat cheese from Fielding Cottage, Honingham, named for the river and the dialect word for a good gossip? 

A variety of Norfolk cheeses at Nina Narramore's new shop in Downham Market, The Norfolk Cheese Co.

A variety of Norfolk cheeses.

– Credit: Denise Bradley

Game – venison, pheasant, partridge and pigeon are mainstays of some of the county’s finest restaurants, farm shops and butchers. The county’s history and many country estates, mean traditional game is still raised across Norfolk.



– Credit: Brian Shreeve

Norfolk dumplings – the county’s famous flour-and-water dumplings are said to be the lightest in Britain and were once known as ‘20 minute swimmers’ because they floated on top of a stew and took 20 minutes to cook. They can be made with self-raising flour and a pinch of salt, mixed with enough water to make a light dough. The word dumpling is said to have come from a Norfolk dialect word for lumpy and in recent years the World Dumpling Championships have taken place in Norwich. 

Norfolk Dumplings.

Norfolk Dumplings.

– Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mustard – it was Colman’s which originally made Norfolk famous for its mustard. Although Colman’s has moved away, the county’s mustard-making heritage is being continued with Montys’ range of Norfolk mustards made at Salle Moor Hall Farm, near Dereham. 

Sarah Savage, centre, owner of Essence Foods at Salle, with her team, son Edward, and cook Amanda Wi

Sarah Savage, centre, owner of Essence Foods at Salle, with her team, son Edward, and cook Amanda Winter, as they bottle english mustard. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Saffron – Centuries ago, fields of purple flowers bloomed in Norfolk coastal fields, and were harvested and trimmed to produce the world’s most precious spice. Today England’s leading commercial saffron producer is run by Sally Francis near Burnham Market. She first planted saffron on the family smallholding in 1997 and has grown a thriving business selling saffron threads, flour, and even a liqueur.  

Sally Francis has started her Saffron harvest in North Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

Sally Francis’ saffron harvest in North Norfolk.

– Credit: Ian Burt

Saffron harvest in North Norfolk. 

Saffron harvest in North Norfolk.

– Credit: Ian Burt