One of the high points in the month-long Norfolk Food Festival took place in Swaffham last weekend, with the enthusiastic participation of practically all the local folk, plus thousands of visitors from as far off as London and Cambridge. The Brecks Food and Drink Festival was a huge success in its first year and the sponsors were determined to make this one even better. From all reports they succeeded very well indeed.
As its website proclaims, the Brecks, located on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, is one of the UK’s biggest ‘wildlife hotspots’ and hosts about 13,000 species, more than 1,200 of national conservation concern. The festival is a great way for residents and businesses to get involved and learn more about the diversity in their own back yards, and for visitors to experience the ‘special landscape’ and enjoy some fabulous food in the bargain.
The Brecks festival was officially opened on 13 September at the pop-up Unthank Supper Club in Swaffham by Elizabeth Truss, SW Norfolk MP. Guests of honour were London chefs Henry and John from the Leon group taking pictures of the fare for their website. From then on through the 16th of September visitors were treated to an in-depth look and taste of the products grown, raised and manufactured in the Brecks.
Amongst the featured events there was a traditional Saturday market in Swaffham and a big Food Festival Farmers Market at Swaffham Market Place on Sunday that included a cookery theatre where local chefs demonstrated their art. Throughout the festival a host of businesses put on all sorts of events, some educational and all enjoyable and/or delicious. A hog roast, a harvest festival at St. Peter and Paul’s Church and other celebrations of food, drink and the bountiful local resources were enjoyed.
Scott Ness, Brecks festival chairman, said of the event that it’s all about the Brecks and what the area has to offer, but also about what’s good for the Brecks. He said, “The place where we are, namely the Brecks, holds the key to our geography, our geology, our history and most importantly, our food.” It’s fairly certain that everyone who attended learned a least a little about all of those things.