Group of Suffolk Co-op Juniors treated to tasting menu with a difference

Tasters Caitlyn Youngs, 8, Halo Browne, 7, CJ Mann, 9, Evie Wright, 9, and Sophie Kirk, 9. Picture:

Tasters Caitlyn Youngs, 8, Halo Browne, 7, CJ Mann, 9, Evie Wright, 9, and Sophie Kirk, 9. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP - Credit: Archant

A group of Suffolk primary school children from theatre company the Co-op Juniors were treated to a special new year menu as they blind tasted award-nominated food from the region.

Halo Browne finishes off a fresh omelette made with Havensfield Eggs. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP

Halo Browne finishes off a fresh omelette made with Havensfield Eggs. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP - Credit: Archant

The five tasters were brought together by the East of England Co-op to sample food shortlisted in the Producer of the Year Awards, which celebrates farmers and producers in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.

With blindfolds on, the team of Co-op Juniors sampled a six-course menu and gave their honest opinions about the food, which included toad in the hole, roast potatoes, omelettes, pesto pasta, fish pie and fruit dipped in melted chocolate.

The tasters were Sophie Kirk, 9, from Trimley St Mary Primary School, Halo Browne, 7, from Springfield Junior School, CJ Mann, 9, from Broke Hall Community Primary School, Evie Wright, 9, from Rushmere Hall Primary School, and Caitlyn Youngs, 8, from Heath Primary School.

Sophie Kirk votes for omelette made with Havensfield Eggs to win. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP

Sophie Kirk votes for omelette made with Havensfield Eggs to win. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP - Credit: Archant

The children tried food from Producer of the Year finalists Purely Pesto and Havensfield Eggs from Suffolk, Gnaw Chocolate and Buxton Potatoes from Norfolk, and Wicks Manor Pork and Ken Green Fish Merchants from Essex.

Sophie said: “My favourite was the omelette. It had a nice texture and it was so yummy. I have eggs for breakfast and I would like my parents to make them even more.”

Evie said: “My favourite was everything except the chocolate dipped grapes – that is not a good combination.”

Caitlyn Youngs enjoys her grapes dipped in Gnaw chocolate. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP

Caitlyn Youngs enjoys her grapes dipped in Gnaw chocolate. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP - Credit: Archant

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Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op said: “We are really proud to once again be celebrating our region’s finest food with our Producer of the Year Awards.

“The kids had fun trying great tasting food made right on their doorsteps. It was the ideal opportunity for them to enjoy different flavours while learning more about where their food comes from.”

The public are invited to vote for their favourite producer in each county, and at the end of January the producers with most votes from each county will make up the three county champions.

Evie Wright shows off her delicious pasta with pesto sauce from Purely Pesto. Picture: EAST OF ENGLA

Evie Wright shows off her delicious pasta with pesto sauce from Purely Pesto. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP - Credit: Archant

The final three will then go before a panel of food and farming experts to decide who will be crowned the East of England’s Co-op Producer of the Year 2018 in March.

Great Tilkey Honey, based in Coggeshall, Essex, took last year’s coveted crown.

To vote, visit www.eastofengland.coop/food/sourced-locally/producer-of-the-year-awards

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