A Foodie’s Guide to the Suffolk Coast
Published: Sunday 23rd Feb 2014
Written by: Alice de Courcy-Wheeler
With 50 miles of shoreline and a vibrant farming community inland, the Suffolk coast is well known for the quality of its natural produce. Some of the county’s best restaurants, eateries and farm shops are found in this beautiful part of Suffolk. Here’s a list of some of the highlights guaranteed to get gourmets licking their lips.
The best place for any connoisseur of fine foods to start their tour of the Suffolk coast is the small village of Snape, just five miles inland from Aldeburgh on the River Alde. Here you will find Snape Maltings, a converted Victorian granary complex that now houses a cornucopia of gastronomic delights. Its farmers’ market on the first Saturday morning of each month is a showcase for all that is good about food and drink from Suffolk. You’ll find locally produced beef, honey, cheese, bacon and much more besides. The maltings is also home to a food hall, café and fresh food pantry, and plays host to the annual Aldeburgh Food Festival – a weekend of culinary pleasure that takes place during September.
Is there anything better than the taste of fish and chips eaten by the sea? The popular Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop on the town’s High Street and its nearby sister shop, the Golden Galleon, are widely regarded as some of the best in the country – the fish is caught off the east coast and the potatoes locally grown. The classic way to enjoy your fish meal is to sit on Aldeburgh sea wall and look across the beach, but there is the Upper Deck restaurant if you prefer to dine indoors. Stroll along the beach and you’ll see the Fish Shack, one of several fisherman’s huts selling the fruits of the latest catch. Fish does not come fresher than this.
A short 20 minute drive down the Suffolk coast is the picture postcard village of Orford. With a 12th century castle, a nearby nature reserve and picturesque cottage-lined lanes, Orford is a lovely place to walk around. This is good news because you’ll need the exercise to work off all the foodie treasures you’ll find in this gem of a destination. First port of call should be Pinney’s shop on the quay selling a host of smoked goods, fresh fish and other goodies such as potted crab. On the main square you’ll find The Butley Orford Oysterage restaurant which serves fresh oysters from nearby Butley Creek. Its menu is extensive and the fish pie a local classic. Also, don’t miss the breads and pastries at the Pump House Bakery, where they also make their own chocolate.
Woodbridge and environs
Another bakery worth visiting is the Cake Shop in Woodbridge, the riverside town’s oldest business that specialises in ornamental cake decorations. The British Larder restaurant in nearby Bromeswell has gained many plaudits for its use of local produce and the monthly cookery demonstrations it holds. A short journey inland and you’ll find the Suffolk Food Hall next to the River Orwell with its impressive farm shop and restaurant. Jimmy’s Farm down the road offers more local produce and a farm park for kids to run around. If you are heading into Ipswich, the French-style Mariners restaurant set on a boat on the town’s waterfront is hard to beat.