Foragers, Chefs, Winemakers and an oysterman front new food and drink campaign
Foragers, Chefs, Winemakers and an Oysterman Front Visit Essex’s Food and Drink Campaign
Foragers, chefs, winemakers and an oysterman are fronting a new campaign from the county’s tourism organisation, Visit Essex to attract tourists to the region to enjoy the county’s rural landscape, fresh produce and fine dining.
Latest research revealed that visitors to the county spent more on food and drink (39% of visitor spend1) than anything else (30% on accommodation). Essex is world-renowned for food producers, such as Tiptree Jam, Maldon Sea Salt and Mersea oysters. With the growth of food and drink producers, award-winning pubs, restaurants and hotels, as well as the county’s stunning rural landscapes, Visit Essex is keen to promote the county’s assets this harvest time and help extend the visitor season.
Councillor Mark Durham, Chairman of Visit Essex, explains: “Essex has so much to offer, from the freshest fish and oysters to the finest award-winning vineyards, as well as a growing number of gastropubs, boutique hotels and top chefs. We’re also just a short drive away from London and have excellent transport connections, which makes us the ideal place to visit.”
He continued: “Essex is also blessed with mile after mile of stunning rural landscapes. You can watch the harvest being gathered, take walks in the countryside and enjoy a hearty meal in a cosy pub or restaurant. Visit food markets, buy wine at the cellar door or forage in the woods – there’s definitely something for everyone!”
Essex’s rural countryside makes for a perfect autumnal break, where visitors can enjoy short stays on a wide range of farms. There are Scandinavian-inspired pine cabins set between a wildflower meadow and a calming stream, which sleep four at Malting Farm Cabins in Little Bentley near Colchester. Or opt for life on a working farm; head to The Fieldbarns at Great Canfield and choose between three converted barns with modern interiors set in a quiet rural location.
For visitors looking for something unique, there are plenty of vineyards across the county that offer accommodation. Tuffon Hall’s six-bedroom converted farmhouse is conveniently located on-site and visitors can upgrade their stay with a vineyard tour and wine tasting experience. The Great Lodge at Bardfield Vineyard welcomes visitors for bed and breakfast or self-catering options, and its contemporary rustic design is perfect for those who want to escape the city and relax in the country.
While out and about, visitors are being encouraged to check out local farmers’ markets, fresh fish and oyster shacks, stores, country pubs and restaurants. A highlight is a visit to Blackwells Farm Shop, Coggeshall, where foodies will discover a variety of locally harvested produce. Try out the jam that the county is world-famous for, head to one of the nine Tiptree Tea Rooms across the county, where visitors can indulge in a tasty afternoon tea. Essex is also home to the Michelin-Star winning Galvin Brothers’ Galvin Green Man, near Chelmsford; head here for a delicious pub lunch after a morning of exploring. Or for a rustic, country-pub feel, choose between The Hoop in Stock, where you can enjoy real ales and locally sourced pub food, or The Mistley Thorn, which is perfectly located for views down the River Stour, and offers the best local seafood and seasonal ingredients.
A thriving winemaking sector has also emerged across Essex, due to the region’s geology and increasingly warm climate. Saffron Grange vineyard’s unique soil formation reflects the Champagne region of Northern France, and tours and tastings of its award-winning wine take place regularly. Or take a trip to Crouch Ridge vineyard, near Burnham on Crouch, to sip sparkling wine and experience the breath-taking views over the River Crouch.
As well as wines, Essex is becoming well-known for its distilleries. Brentwood Brewing Company is the perfect spot to try tasty craft beers, with a brewery open day happening every second Saturday of the month. If spirits are more your taste, East Coast Distillery, located just off the estuary in Landermere, produces fine gins with ingredients foraged from the vast Essex coastline.
Harvest is a great time to visit the Essex countryside this harvest season. To find out more about Essex food and drink, head to https://www.visitessex.com/food-and-drink/.
FOOD AND DRINK FILMS
Footage is available for broadcast and social media channels.
The Chef – Billy Grinstead, Executive Chef at Braxted Park Cookery School highlights cookery lessons for all abilities, the tasty local produce on offer in Essex and his passion for cooking.
The Forager – Chef Carl Shillingford from the Forager’s Retreat talks extraordinary plants that can be found along the Essex coastline.
The Landlady – Katie McKay, General Manager of the Galvin Green Man talks about her passion for using local produce, seasonal dishes on offer and the awards that the Galvin Green Man has won.
The Oysterman – Oysterman and owner of Belbin Native Seafoods, Dale Belbin, highlights when the oyster harvest takes place – any month with an ‘R’ in them! – and how the nutrients in the marshes give Mersea Oysters their unique, fresh taste.
The Winemaker – Winemaker and fourth-generation farmer, Angus Crowther, Tuffon Hall, talks all things wine, including how the chalky soil that Essex shares with the Champagne region of Northern France makes excellent grapes.
1 Visit Essex Visitor Impact Research for Essex, 2020.
PLACES TO STAY
These beautiful Scandinavian-inspired cabins are made of natural pine, with white painted and reclaimed wood interiors. The main bedroom has a secluded deck area with a private electric hot tub and each cabin also has a separate room with bunk beds for up to four children/adults. Situated between a wildflower meadow and stream, it’s the perfect place to relax. Minimum stays are for three nights and pricing starts at £510.
Set in the countryside on the outskirts of a working farm, the Fieldbarns are just three miles away from the M11, making them perfectly placed and easy to get to. There are three barns, each sleeping up to four people in two bedrooms, and accommodation comes with a log burning fire. Nearby, there is a wildflower meadow for visitors to relax in, and all three barns can be hired for a special occasion, sleeping up to twelve people. With modern interiors and a quiet rural setting, they are the perfect escape for the bustling city. Minimum overnight stay is three nights, and three-night prices start at £555 this autumn.
Tuffon Hall has a six-bedroom converted farmhouse on-site. There is accommodation for up to 12 guests, and the house contains 3 large bathrooms, a bright and spacious country kitchen and a cosy sitting room with a log burner. Visitors can upgrade their stay to include a vineyard tour and wine tasting experience. Prices vary depending on when guests visit, and there is a minimum of a 2-night stay at this exquisite farmhouse. Stays start from £1051.
The luxurious Great Lodge at Bardfield Vineyard has three converted barns, where visitors can choose from bed and breakfast or self-catering options. Relax in your cosy room with comfy double beds, stunning wooden floorboards and a contemporary rustic design, with floor-to-ceiling windows, or enjoy a tour of the vineyard and wine tasting, either with a self-guided trail or for groups by appointment. There are three accommodation options: the Rose Barn, the Cart Lodges and the Stables. Overnight prices start at £80.
WHERE TO EAT
The Michelin Star-winning Galvin Brothers own the Galvin Green Man in Chelmsford. Set in a riverside meadow, the pub is perfect to drop in for a bite to eat for lunch before resuming activities in Chelmsford. It is one of the oldest pubs in Essex and provides classic pub dishes and craft ales.
The Mistley Thorn, Mistley
Located in the historic coastal village of Mistley, The Mistley Thorn Restaurant & Rooms offers award-winning dining and accommodation opposite the River Stour. Their menus offer the best local and seasonal ingredients wherever possible, highlighting the region’s delicious range of seafood, with a friendly service and relaxed atmosphere.
With an award-winning selection of real ales and gastro pub food, this country pub offers a fine dining experience in its upstairs restaurant, with an a la carte menu and a boutique wine list.
Take a break when visiting Saffron Walden and sample the delightful Tiptree jam at The Courtyard Tea Room in Saffron Walden with a spectacular afternoon tea.
Filled with tasty local produce, fresh from harvest, Blackwells is the perfect place to pick up food to take home and be creative! From the high-quality meat at the butchery counter to the delicious cakes and pastries, Blackwells has something for everyone.
WHAT TO DRINK
Saffron Grange is a spectacular vineyard located in Saffron Walden and sits on the same chalk that runs through Northern France. Its unique soil formation combines with the climate and topography to make the perfect conditions to make grapes, and tours and tastings of its award-winning sparkling wine take place regularly. Tickets are priced from £20 per person and are now available for the 2022 season. Tours run on Thursdays and Saturdays from April to October.
Tours and tastings take place at Crouch Ridge vineyard on select days of the month from May to October. All tours commence at 11am, and you will be taken around the vineyard, hear about Crouch Ridge’s history and get to sample its excellent wines. You’ll also be able to pair these wines with sumptuous food. Tours and tastings are only available by booking. For £50, you can enjoy the ‘All the Bubbles’ package, where you can learn about the differences between champagne, prosecco and cava and sample great English sparkling wine and champagne. Private tours start from £30pp and for a special treat, why not enjoy a private vineyard buggy tour and sparkling picnic for £250, including 2 souvenir glasses.
With a tap room that always has five different draught beers on the bar, Brentwood Brewing Company is the perfect spot to enjoy some tasty beer. The brewing company is open Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 4pm and Saturdays from 11am to 4pm, where experience days cost £119 per person. Or why not visit on 24th September from 10am to 5pm to celebrate Oktoberfest?
Located just off the estuary in Landermere, East Coast Distilleries produces delicious gins that are available for purchase in their shop. From the Tide’s Fortune Essex Dry Gin to the Afternoon Tea Gin with Two Lumps, East Coast Distilleries offers something for all tastes. They offer short free tours on Saturdays, as well as free gin tastings.
Visit Essex is the official tourism organisation and the only body specifically marketing the whole of the county to the visitor market. We work with visitor attractions, leisure/activity providers, accommodation establishments and other tourism related businesses (including the travel trade, media and wider partners), to ensure that the county remains a leading visitor destination.
Our work encompasses major marketing campaigns, high profile PR work, business support, and the management and promotion of the official Visit Essex brand. Visit Essex will ensure that the county gets the recognition it deserves as a desirable place to visit in the 21st century. We will work closely with partners to develop a sustainable tourism offering for the future, identify new markets and harness visitors at the county’s major gateways of Stansted, Harwich, Southend and Tilbury.