The Best of Norfolk Christmas Food and Drink: Part 2

Norfolk's Best Pub - The Fox at Lyng

Norfolk's Best Pub - The Fox at Lyng - Credit: Angela Sharpe

In the second part of our guide, discover the best drinks, seafood and a great alternative to turkey to serve up on the big day

Chef of the year - Marcin Pomierny at The Wine Press at the Maids Head Hotel - serves his perfect Ch

Chef of the year - Marcin Pomierny at The Wine Press at the Maids Head Hotel - serves his perfect Christmas roast dinner - Credit: Angela Sharpe

The winner of Norfolk’s Best Pub, sponsored by Makro and Booker Wholesale, was The Fox at Lyng, and here the landlords share some of their festive traditions and top tips from the bar. As well as The Fox, Gavin and Victoria Hunt also run the Tuddenham Lodge.

“We open both of our pubs on Christmas Day and I can honestly say it is one of my favourite days of the year,” says Victoria. “My own two children have grown up knowing that Christmas is an important day in the trade, and for the past few years have worked alongside us, which creates a great family feeling for the day.

“We asked our customers which drinks reminded them of Christmas and there were two drinks which won out - Baileys and advocaat, so we have created two seasonal cocktails using these as a base.

“The first was inspired by a visit to the Gin Festival in Norwich - the “rhubarb and custard” gin cocktail. Simply mix a double rhubarb gin, a double advocaat, a dash of lemon juice, a dash rhubarb bitters and top up with apple juice.

“The second is an experimental drink created by our manageress Sophie at The Tuddenham Lodge who has a love of chocolate and Baileys. She has created the Mars bar bomb using homemade Mars vodka! To make the vodka, chop seven Mars bars into small pieces and placed into a half-litre bottle of vodka, then place into the fridge and shake daily until the Mars has dissolved and created a thick milk shake consistency. Pour one double of Baileys over ice and add a single shot of the Mars bar vodka with a shot of crème de cacao. It’s delicious.”

The Fox, The Street, Lyng, NR9 5AL;, 01603 872316;

Cromer fisherman John Davies with a catch of fresh crabs.

Cromer fisherman John Davies with a catch of fresh crabs. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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In recognition of his extraordinary service, John was given the Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers.

The unsocial hours, tough conditions and changing nature of the industry has never dampened his love of the sea – in fact, he and his crew will be out on the boat right up until Christmas Eve, and while the rest of us put our feet up on Christmas Day, he will be on call for the lifeboat.

“Weather permitting, we will have fresh crab and lobster available right up until Christmas Day. Catching crabs is very much dependent on sea temperatures and weather conditions, so you have to go out when you can,” he says. “Crab and lobster are fantastic for a Christmas feast. More and more people are enjoying fish as part of their festive celebrations, but where possible I would always advise to buy it locally from your fishmonger to ensure it is as fresh as possible. I am always proud to tell customers that what they are eating has travelled no food miles – just sea miles, here off our coastline. Nothing beats the taste of freshly caught crab or lobster.

“Make sure you order well in advance as there is always a big demand at Christmas, and for something a little different, we make our own potted lobster as well as potted shrimp, which is a real treat.

“If you love Cromer crab but aren’t sure how to serve it at Christmas – I love to scoop out the meat, mix it with a little onion and chive, place it back in the cleaned out shell and sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Then place it under the grill and melt - it is delicious as a warm starter or with some crusty bread.”

Davies Fish Shop,7 Garden Street, Cromer, NR27 9HN;, 01263 512727

Christmas Day is all about the big roast dinner with all the trimmings – but if you fancy a change from turkey, how about trying goose?

Marcin Pomierny, chef at The WinePress at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, was winner of the Chef of the Year award, sponsored by City College Norwich. Here, he shares his favourite Christmas dish - roast goose breast and braised leg, roasted goose fat potatoes, sauté Brussels sprouts, pickled carrots and a red wine sauce.

“Marinate four goose breasts for 48 hours with rosemary, a head of garlic and rapeseed oil. Needle-prick the skin to make it crispier. Cook for eight to 12 minutes in the oven at around 180C.

“Sear the goose legs in the pan, place into a deep roasting tray with a stick of celery, six carrots, two shallots, two cloves of garlic, two bay leaves, rosemary, 300ml red wine and two litres of water. Cover with foil and cook at 160C for two to three hours. When cooked, pull the meat off the bones. Take the liquid from the tray and reduce. Mix the meat with a small amount of the reduction, add salt and pepper, roll into balls and wrap in blanched Savoy cabbage leaves. Use the remaining reduction as a red wine sauce to serve.

“Always cook the potatoes the day before and keep them in the fridge ready to roast as they will be crunchier. Heat 300g of goose fat and 300g rapeseed oil in a roasting tin, when hot add the potatoes, along with rosemary, garlic cloves and a sprinkling of salt. Mix every 10 minutes.

“For the Brussels sprouts, dice up a shallot and a carrot, and sauté in a pan with butter, add the Brussels sprouts finely sliced. Finish with 2g truffle oil and 1tsp wholegrain mustard. To make the pickled carrots, add the smalled peeled, whole carrots to a pan with all the pickling liquid in it – 150 ml white wine vinegar, 100g sugar, 200ml water, one cardamom pod, one star anise, one garlic clove, half a cinnamon stick, half a teaspoon each of mustard seeds, ginger and chilli. Cook until the carrots are soft.”

The WinePress, Maids Head Hotel, Tombland, Norwich, NR3 1LB; 01603 209955;

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