Norfolk Horn Breeders Group

Sagra – Slow Food Event at Holkham

The Slow Food Sagra event held at Holkham Hall

Norfolk Horn hogget was on the menu at the Slow Food Anglia Sagra event held on the Holkham Estate on the 8th April 2017.

Slow Food Anglia held their first festival and Sagra at the historic Holkham Hall Estate, home of the Coke family and the Earls of Leicester located on the beautiful North Norfolk coast.

A Sagra is an Italian festival, normally dedicated to a specific local food (such as olive oil, meat, fish, pasta and other local produce), often specific to that village, town or particular area of an Italian region.

One of the aims of the Sagra is to promote and support less well known producers.

During the day, there was a market in the new Lady Elizabeth Wing, with small local producers from the East Anglia region with particular focus on Norfolk. There were also street food stands outside the main entrance in the courtyard. Producers were selected on the basis of Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair food and it was aimed to have a good range of different producers representing the whole Anglia Region.

The Norfolk Horn Breeders’ Group had a stand informing the public about the Norfolk Horn breed, it would have been more interesting to the public if there were some live sheep in a pen, to show the breed on the hoof (maybe next year?).  The Norfolk Horn (along with Norfolk Saffron), is named as one of the Slow Food Anglia ongoing projects to obtain Presida Status.  At present there are only four Presida granted in the UK – a Perry (an alcoholic drink made from the fermented juice of pears) from Herefordshire, two cheeses and the latest Presidia just granted in 2016, to the Colchester Native oyster.   http://www.slowfoodanglia.org/ark-of-taste-and-presidia.php

The Presidia is run by the Slow Food Foundation of Biodiversity, it is a project designed to sustain quality produce at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, help recover traditional methods of food production and also safeguard local animal breeds and plant varieties.

We purchased some cheese from ‘Mrs Temple’s Cheese’, some wonderful bread (see photo below), shared a huge sausage roll for lunch and finished with some very nice ice-cream from The Hunstanton Ice Cream Company.  There were also other stalls selling honey, wild boar products, chutneys, fudge etc and a cake stall selling speciality cakes.

In the evening a group of 16 of us attended a four course Italian Sagra Style dinner featuring lots of the producers that attended the market earlier in the day and many of the Slow Food Ark of Taste products for the East Anglia Region.  Approximately 150 tickets were sold.

The menu was prepared by Chef Mark Matless who recently joined the Slow Food Chef Alliance and became the first Slow Food Chef Alliance member for the Anglia region. His catering company, Bite the Bullit from Norwich, has been a supporter and member of the Slow Food Anglia Approved Business Scheme for several years.  Mark prepared a menu specifically dedicated to products from the Anglian region, including Norfolk Horn hogget from the Belsar flock from Cambridgeshire and other produce from small local East Anglian producers.

The food was served on wooden boards, brought to our tables.  We could help ourselves to as much as we wanted and we ate it off palm leaf plates.  It was amazing and we had great fun trying to match the food to the menu!  The Norfolk Horn hogget was served as the main course and was delicious (luckily for our Chairman, Ted and his wife Sarah, who were amongst our group).

Slow Food Anglia hope to hold a similar event again next year, so please come and join us, as I am sure we will all want to go again.