Simply the best - culinary delights in Essex
PUBLISHED: 13:03 26 February 2013 | UPDATED: 21:16 26 February 2013
Offering such culinary delights from the famous Tiptree jam and world-renowned Maldon sea salt to gourmet ice cream and sparkling wine, Essex is a gastronome's paradise...
Find out more
Ashlyns Farm Shop
Blackwells Farm Shop
Calcott Hall Farm Shop
The Company Shed
The Coast Inn
The Cricketers Arms
Crouch Vale Brewery
Crowne Plaza Resort Colchester
The Eight Bells
Essex Rose Tea House
Fairfields Farm Crisps
The Food Company
Fryers Farm Shop
Handmade by Hadleys
Margarets Frozen Luxuries
Mersea Island Vineyard
New Hall Vineyards
Park Fruit Farm
Pitfield's Organic Brewery
Poppy's Tea Room
Priors Hall Farm
Pyes Farm Pies
The Red Cow
Red Fox Brewery
Rossi Ice Cream
Steeple Gate Lamb and Beef
Stop The World
The Sun Inn
The Tea Tree Cafe
Tony Lanes Pie and Mash Shop
The Whalebone Inn
WH Marriage & Sons
Wilkin & Sons
Taken from Visit Essex 2013.
For more information please visitwww.visitessex.com
Offering such culinary delights from the famous Tiptree jam and world-renowned Maldon sea salt to gourmet ice cream and sparkling wine, Essex is a gastronomes paradise
From Great Yeldham right down to Canvey Island, the whole of Essex is studded with specialist food producers, while an array of pubs, cafes and restaurants ensures that you can enjoy this excellent local produce close to source. Whether youre planning to search out the finest six-course tasting menu, or good old pie and mash exactly the way it should be, youve come to the right place.
Several of Essexs famed food products come from the area along its 350 miles of coastline and where better to enjoy them than close to source, by the seaside? Head to The Company Shed on Mersea Island for the freshest Colchester oysters and other delicious fruits of the sea this simple seafood shack has been given rave reviews by food experts from Rick Stein to Jay Rayner or experience the old-fashioned charm of Leigh-on-Seas famed Cockle Row, and sample what have been described as the UKs best cockles.
For a more refined experience, there are plenty of more sophisticated dining options, including The Pier, in Harwich, and Alecs restaurant near Brentwood all offering elegant menus, boasting some of the best fish and seafood on offer in the county. But, of course, no trip to the seaside would be complete without fish and chips, so do make time to sample this thoroughly British delicacy. Coast Inn in West Mersea, Scooby Snax in Brightlingsea and Fishermans Wharf in Southend all come highly recommended.
Head inland and the landscape changes, so too do the types of food producers that can be found within the boundaries of our fine county. The lush green pastures of our rural areas are the perfect location for raising livestock, so were lucky enough in Essex to have a wealth of premier meat and poultry producers on our doorstep. Check out the tasty bacon and other pork products from Great Garnetts near Great Dunmow, lamb and beef from Steeple Gate in Southminster, venison and game from Howletts Hall near Brentwood, and, of course, the famous Bronze bird from Kelly Turkeys near Danbury. You might also want to nip over the border into Suffolk to visit Jimmys Farm, to sample the delicious delicacies made from his Essex Pig pork.
As you might imagine, we also have a thriving dairy industry in Essex, and were particularly strong when it comes to that holiday snack essential, ice cream! Choose from the myriad of award-winning classic flavours produced by Rossi in Southend-on-Sea, goats milk ice cream made by Caprilatte in Abberton (also awardwinning), a more traditional option in the form of Handmade by Hadleys luxurious flavours (which have also won a crop of awards), or low-fat frozen yoghurt made by Margarets Frozen Luxuries (and yes, theyre award-winning too!). If you dont fancy an iced dessert, then why not indulge in a creamy Shaken Udder milkshake, also made within Essex borders?
The same fertile land also enables our countys farmers to produce the finest cereal, fruit and vegetable crops. For a great range of local produce, visit a farmers market details can be found on www.essexfarmersmarkets.com or pop in to one of our regions fantastic food shops, such as The Food Company at Marks Tey, Ashlyns Farm Shop at Epping, Blackwells Farm Shop near Coggeshall, or Calcott Hall Farm Shop in Brentwood. Look out for Wilkin & Sons jam (though their factory and museum is worth a visit in its own right), Fairfields Farm crisps, WH Marriage & Sons flour, Pyes Farm pies and Thorogoods asparagus, among other locally produced goodies.
Many of our countys eateries like to focus on local produce wherever they can, so look out for specific mentions on their menus for example, you might come across Dedham Vale beef, Priors Hall Farm pork, or Colne Valley lamb. For a gastropub experience, youll be spoilt for choice try The Pheasant at Gestingthorpe, The Ducane in Great Braxted, The Red Cow in Chrishall, The Bull at Great Totham, The Cricketers Arms at Rickling Green, The Eight Bells at Saffron Walden, or The Compasses at Pattiswick. You might also like to make a foodie pilgrimage to The Cricketers at Clavering, where Jamie Oliver grew up and first started working in a kitchen.
As you might expect, we also have a crop of excellent restaurants offering a variety of dining experiences, from fine to family. At the top end of the scale, we have a clutch of establishments boasting more than one AA Rosette, including Le Talbooth Restaurant in Dedham, Catch 22 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Tolleshunt Knights, and The Tudors at Marygreen Manor in Brentwood. Families might like to try Lucca in Manningtree for superb authentic Italian food, the Clocktower Restaurant in Epping for a great brasserie menu, or the The Sun Inn at Dedham for Mediterranean-influenced food.
Of course, not every day is a slap-up meal day, so you might also want to consider some of the best informal dining options cafs, takeaways and snack shops. Traditional tea rooms abound in our region, but counted among the best are the Essex Rose Tea House in Dedham and Poppys Tea Room in Thaxted. Alternatively, for a light bite, our countys caf culture is admirably represented by Stop The World in Leigh-on-Sea and the Tea Tree Caf in Great Dunmow, among others. Finally, if you want to experience some good old-fashioned Essex fare, get yourself down to Tony Lanes Pie and Mash Shop in Waltham Abbey (so beloved by David Beckham).
No review of our regions foodie delights would be complete without a little something to wash them down with locally produced, of course. Fruit juices are pressed from locally grown fruit by Fryers in Lawford and Park Fruit Farm near Frinton-on-Sea, while wine lovers will be intrigued to hear we have several vineyards within the county, including New Hall Vineyards in Purleigh, Carters Vineyards in Boxted and Mersea Island Vineyard. If, however, you prefer your beverage brewed rather than fermented, then youll be spoilt for choice a good selection to start with would be Crouch Vale Brewery in South Woodham Ferrers, Red Fox Brewery in Coggeshall, Farmers Ales in Maldon or Pitfields Organic Brewery in Epping.
As you can see, whether food tourism is your main reason for visiting Essex, or you simply like to grab something delicious between activities, theres something for everyone!
Yearning for learning?
Enhance your skills in the kitchen by attending one of our countys fantastic cookery schools...
The Mistley Kitchen
Situated in the northernmost part of Essex, on the banks of the Stour Estuary, this cookery school offers workshops on all sorts of cuisines, from mezze to Mexican, via French, Indian and Italian food. Find out more by visiting www.mistleykitchen.com
Braxted Park Cookery School
Run by award-winning chefs, this cookery school offers day courses ideal for everyone, from beginners to budding master chefs. Learn exotic cuisines from Thai to Indian, or focus on the best of British dishes. For further information visit www.braxtedparkcookery.co.uk
Learn the tricks of the trade from local TV chef and author Mark Baumann in fun but informative cookery classes which are held at our very own working kitchen here at Baumanns Brasserie.
Mayfield Farm Bakery & School
Offering courses suitable for absolute beginners and more experienced bakers, this is the cookery school to come to if you would like to unravel the mysteries of bread baking. Visit www.mayfieldfarmbakery.co.uk if you would like to know more.
The Smart School of Cookery
Located near Danbury, this school runs classes lasting from between one hour to a full day. Whether you fancy learning how to make sushi or to prepare a five-course gourmet meal, theres a suitable course here.
Visit www.thesmartschoolofcookery.com for details.
This cookery school near Billericay offers day and evening courses in this popular European cuisine, covering favourites from pasta and pizza, soups and pies, to slow cookery techniques and regional specialities. To find out more, visit www.taste-italia.com