Foodie finds along the Norfolk Coast Path
Back in December, family festive duties beckoned me to North Norfolk, and it wasn’t just the usual traditional leftovers that were a foodie’s delight… The Norfolk Coast Path tour is a hop, skip, and a jump from the relatives – a perfect excuse to stretch the legs and blow away the cobwebs. Norfolk’s coast really is spectacular in all weathers – although we were blessed with warming sunshine and bright blue skies on this occasion. What a breath of fresh air, passing by windmills and expansive stretches of beautiful white sand and moody sea, framed against a landscape that really is flat as a pancake. I was struck by the incredibly good food on offer in the pretty villages; restaurants take pride in offering local game, fresh crayfish, rare breed pork, blueberries and poultry from the Brecks. And as you’d expect from a coastal county, a basket of goodies from the sea – samphire, seabass, mussels, cod and the famous Cromer crab. And for those who like a tipple or two – Norfolk barley’s malty goodness is apparently much-prized by American boutique brewers, whilst the county even boasts a whisky distillery! Living in Glasgow myself, I’m not sure what the Scots would say to that! If you’ve never tried fishing for your supper, then you can have a go at crabbing at pretty Blakeney Harbour, where you can also take a boat trip out to see the resident seal colony at Blakeney Point. Although catching the little Gilly crabs is just a bit of fun and they appreciate being returned to their watery homes. We didn’t have time on this occasion, so it’s on the list for a return visit. The Norfolk Coast Path offers more culinary delights as it continues through pretty village of Cley-Next-the-Sea, with its clutch of shops, including the eponymous George Hotel. If you’re into your picnics, then you’ll want to stock up at the incredible ‘Picnic Fayre’ delicatessen, located on the main street. This quaint little shop is an Aladin’s Cave of delectable treats which will keep you going as you stride out along the coastal path. I can personally vouch for the baked-that-morning Norfolk pork pies and home-made scotch eggs being absolutely top notch. Make sure you leave some room in your rucksack for a bottle or two of cider or apple juice, some of Norfolk’s wonderful cheese (the ‘Binham blue’ is just the right side of pungent) or a slice of good old Victoria sponge cake to sustain you along your final day’s walk to Cromer. Oh, and don’t forget to stop in at the Smokehouse at Cley too. Pick up something fishy for your lunch on the trail - smoked mackerel and haddock, trout with orange, prawns and crevettes, or if you’re brave enough, try asking for a ‘bloater’ or ‘smoked buckling’. Discovering local delicacies is all part and parcel of throwing yourself into the local culture. And arriving at Cromer, well, even in the chill of December, an obligatory seaside icecream cornet is the done thing, wouldn’t you say?
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