Watch our fab food and drink film...
While you're here, you might come across our county biscuits, Fair Buttons or Norfolk Gingers. You might find a bakery that does a Norfolk treacle tart, made with black treacle and flavoured with lemon, or Norfolk bread pudding, otherwise known as Nelson slices, which has dried fruit, lemon rind, marmalade and, of course, rum mixed in with the bread. You might even find a restaurant serving Norfolk 'dumplins'. But those things are as rare as an unhappy child on a sunny Norfolk beach in summer.
Here are some ingredients more readily available, just as traditional to the county, and which are a must-have if you're spending any time here if you want to say you've truly eaten Norfolk food…
Cromer crab: It had to be in pole position – it's as distinctively Norfolk as pasties are to Cornwall and champagne to northern France. The reason they're so good is that Cromer crabs thrive in the shallow waters of the unique chalk reef just off the coast, producing the sweetest, meatiest crustaceans.
Theoretically Cromer crabs are the same brown crabs that are caught all around the coast of Britain. In practice everyone knows they are unique. The special nature of a Cromer crab isn't a matter of opinion, it's recognised in law. The minimum legal shell span of Cromer crab (115mm) is smaller than any other UK crab – Cromer crabs, with their 'pie crust' shells, really are little bombs of flavour!
Cromer crab is revered by foodies, brimming as it is with a high proportion of white meat. It's also very healthy, full of brain-boosting Omega-3 and low in fat. Eat with a little black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of smoked paprika on buttered brown bread, with mayo, cucumber or avocado. They're usually available from around April.
Take a look at the film on the left. There's also a Crab and Lobster festival each May in Cromer and Sheringham. Oh yes, did we mention the lobsters...
Samphire: Otherwise known as 'sea asparagus', it thrives in our tidal salt marshes, and is FAB-UUUU-LOUS steamed and eaten with butter. If you're here in Spring, the asparagus is simply stunning too and you can often find it sold from trailers in countryside lay-bys. Both are usually best in May.
Brancaster mussels: They're big blighters, tender and juicy. Collected when they're young, they're then moved to lays (beds) in the tidal creeks and left to mature nicely before harvesting. You think the French have the monopoly on cracking moules et frites? Don’t you believe it.
Stiffkey cockles: Also known as Stewkey Blues on account of their colour, a pale lavender to dark grey-blue, that comes from their habitat a few inches under the mud and sand. They're still harvested with short-handled, broad rakes and nets. Traditionally the cockles are steamed, put in soups and pies, or boiled and eaten with vinegar and pepper.
Cheese: Nothing like a Binham Blue, a soft blue veined cheese made by the redoubtable Mrs Temple of Copys Green Farm at Wighton using milk from the Chalk Farm herd of Holstein Friesians and the Copys Green herd of Swiss Browns. Once you get a taste for that (and you will), move on to her Copys Cloud, with a fluffy white rind and melting centre; Wighton, a fresh curd cheese; the hard, matured Walsingham; a supple mountain-type called Wells Alpine; or Warham, a semi-soft available in mustard, tomato and herb, or cumin flavours.
Norfolk turkey: Yes, it really is 'bootiful', and it's not just for Christmas either. Lean, healthy and versatile, it's a great food for any time of the year. Just ask Marco Pierre White, who is an ambassador for Bernard Matthews Farms and has concocted recipes such as fruity turkey kebabs, Thai-style bites, turkey red pepper burgers and rigatoni and turkey meatballs.
Game: This is a specialty of the Brecks - no wonder, with all those forests and high grass - and usually refers to wild animals and birds that are hunted and eaten. Look out for venison, pheasants and pigeon on pub and restaurant menus, or cook it for yourselves.
Mustard: If you're here in Spring you'll see fields swathed in yellow. Much of it will be rape, grown for oil, but a lot of it will also be mustard. Norfolk is, as everyone knows, the home of Colman's Mustard and you can see its story at the Mustard Shop in Norwich.
Mint: The vast majority of mint grown agriculturally in the UK is done in Norfolk and a lot of it is taken by Colman's. To ensure it's fresh the farms are no more than seven miles away from the Carrow Road works.
Beer: Norfolk produces the best malting barley in the country and that is turned into gorgeous, thirst-quenching real ale. Norfolk also has the most microbreweries of any county in the country - bet you didn't know that. Order a foaming flagon and toast those wonderful brewers!
And let's not forget...
Whisky: St George's Distillery at East Harling was the first whisky distillery in England for 100 years and since 2006 has been producing award-winning whisky that has gained a worldwide reputation!
Read more about Norfolk food and drink.
Norfolk Food & Drink Festival.