13 of the best things to buy at Snape Maltings Christmas Farmers’ Market
- Credit: Archant
The ‘mini Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival’ brings together dozens of the county’s finest artisan producers.
It's been likened to a mini version of Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival - and it will certainly get you in the yuletide spirit.
Yes, the Snape Maltings Christmas Farmers' Market is back. Held in a marquee on the grounds of the famous concert hall this Saturday, December 21, from 9.30am to 1.30pm, the event is one of the final opportunities you'll have in 2019 to come face to face with dozens of producers.
Find out more about some of the county's best-loved artisanal goodies. Meet the makers. Pick up cooking tips. Sample handmade fare. And, of course, stock your larder ready for the celebrations of the coming weeks.
Afterwards, take the opportunity to pick up last minute gifts in the Maltings' shops, spanning food, homeware, art, books, fashion and antiques.
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Here are just some of the treats you can bring home from the market with you.
1. Honey and Sea Salt Caramels, B Chocolates
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These award-winning chocolates are pure indulgence. Soft yet chewy, filled with the rich, golden tones of Suffolk honey, covered in single origin 70% dark chocolate, and finished with pure sea salt, they are just heaven in a mouthful. Look out too for their seasonal truffles, honey pralines, and honeycomb chocolate thins.
2. Orange and passion fruit marmalade, Quince Tree
Just the thing to luxe-up your Christmas morning toast, croissants or panettone. This sweet, tart preserve is made in small batches to a unique recipe. Other flavours to look out for are lime and gin and orange and bergamot, plus mince pie fudge and peanut butter cups.
3. Fishers Gin
This intriguing spirit is crafted with botanicals found along the East Anglian shoreline, such as spignel. With tonic and a twist of orange zest it's a sophisticated party tipple. Great for gifting.
4. Newlands Cheese Straws
There are cheese straws and then there are cheese straws. These ones are short and crumbly without being dry. They are absolutely rammed with savoury, strong cheddar and one is never enough. The range of flavours include original, pesto, chilli, fennel and more.
5. Nonsuch Shrubs
Refreshing, gently bubbling non-alcoholic drinks made with apple cider vinegar and natural fruit extracts. A great alternative for anyone avoiding the booze this Christmas. Peach and basil is a particularly wonderful combination.
6. Warm venison sausage rolls, Truly Traceable
Award-winning husband and wife team Lynn and Steve make exquisite pastries- in fact Michelin-starred chef Galton Blackiston says Lynn's pastry is some of the best he's ever had. Get to the event early for their warm sausage rolls as they will definitely sell out if previous events are anything to go by. Other flavours include pheasant and wild boar. And the couple will premiere their new pie - venison and chestnut with Adnams Blackshore stout.
7. Free-range chicken, Sutton Hoo
These chickens are truly free-range, having loads of space to flap about in on the farm just a short drive away. There is a real flavour difference - the birds being gamier and tastier due to their higher welfare upbringing. A lovely alternative to turkey if you're not entertaining a crowd this Christmas. They usually have chicken sausages and burgers too.
8. Dutch Salted Liquorice Chocolate, Deepmills Chocolate
Salted liquorice is huge in northern Europe, sweet and mouth-watering it pairs beautifully in this bar with 54.5% dark chocolate. It's mysterious…and moreish. Try and buy lots of different flavours at the market, from dark chocolate with Szechuan peppercorn and smoked sea salt, to white lemon chocolate with lemon zest.
9. Ice Cider, Harleston Cider Co
Ooh this stuff is good. Designed to be served chilled, and at 8% ABV, it's a lower alcohol alternative to traditional dessert wines, being alive with notes of honey, tropical and stone fruits. Just brilliant with blue cheese and mature cheddars.
10. St Jude
Julie Cheyney's raw milk cheese, inspired by St Marcellin and made on the same farm as Baron Bigod, should be brought to room temperature before serving with delicate slivers of ripe pear. Creamy, melting and almost moussy, it is one of Suffolk's most luxurious fromages.
11. Stokes Chilli Jam
This sweet/savoury/sticky relish goes with everything and has the ideal balance of heat meaning pretty much the whole family can appreciate it. Slather over cheese on toast. Stir into a little leftover Christmas turkey and grill until bubbling before slathering into a baguette. And dollop onto those Boxing Day buffet platters. Our other Christmas favourites include the Real Ale Chutney, Coronation Sauce, and Cider and Horseradish Mustard - great with glazed ham and baked with sausages.
12. Chicken Liver Pate with Port and Brandy, Suffolk Pate Company
For many, pate is an indulgent Christmas purchase. If this is you, give this Suffolk-made variety a try before you put it on your supermarket hit list. Smooth, rich and exploding with flavour, it will put your usual brand to shame. The range also includes Duck and Truffle with Garlic and Brandy, and Blue Cheese with Lemon and Parsley.
13. Blackcurrant Brandy Liqueur, The Tiny Tipple Co
Made in small batches with allotment blackcurrants and French brandy there's nothing finer to drizzle into your sparkling wine for an easy, delicious aperitif this Christmas or New Year. In addition to large bottles, there are miniatures which make fantastic gifts. Every infused gin, vodka, whisky and brandy in the range is made with East Anglian produce (apart from the Ginger Whisky). Some other popular bottles include Strawberry and Vanilla Rum Liqueur and Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur.