The Christmas countdown has officially begun… and, as always, the message is to “shop local” wherever you can.
If you’re stocking the pantry with treats, a good place to make a dent is next weekend’s Christmas Suffolk Farmers’ Market, which returns to the Cow Sheds in Trinity Park on Saturday, December 10.
Free to enter, with free parking and all indoors, the event has become a popular annual attraction in the home of the Suffolk Show, and this year it really is bigger than ever, welcoming over 60 food, drink and crafts.
Market founder Justine Paul says she’s looking forward to seeing the sheds come alive with visitors once again: “The Suffolk Christmas Farmers’ Market is just a market full of merriment. It’s like the culmination of the year, with all our favorite growers from all our markets in Suffolk under one roof. It really gets the spirit of the season going for me – I know Christmas has really started when we have this market and I know how popular it has become.”
For the first time, fresh Christmas trees will be available to purchase that day (which is open from 10 am to 2 pm).
And plenty of artisans will be on hand, selling small batches of thoughtful gifts to put under those trees. They include Seascape jewelry, Country Creations dinnerware, Apothokelly skin care products, Floral in Equilibrium dried flowers, and candles made by Boho & Rose and The White Candle Company.
If you get hungry, there are also plenty of options to satisfy all appetites. Feast on burgers or bacon buns from BurgerJam, delicious curries and samosas from Tikkatonic, fries and loaded churros from Tuk Tuk Cantina, and stuffed beigels from Bagel or Beigel.
Crumb & Brew and Coffee Station will be available with a plethora of hot beverages.
“And don’t forget to bring your four-legged friends,” adds Justine. “We have a special area with products and treats for them!”
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Baked by Humphries: Sisters Jessie and Gina put a smile on customers’ faces every Saturday at the Sudbury Market, arriving in their cheery yellow van loaded with almost gravity-defying cakes, often drenched in chocolate!
They just announced their Christmas collection that you can order at the market for pickup in Sudbury. It includes the traditional and classic frozen fruit cake, a chocolate cake with reindeer design and lots of fun too. Who can resist the 1kg Lover’s Chocolate Orange Christmas Pud? You see a whole chocolate orange encased in its gooey chocolate brownie, dipped in chocolate, topped with Maltesers, double dipped in chocolate, and finished with glazed cherries.
East Coast Chili Company: Put some fire in your stomach with a bottle of something from Great Taste winners Tim and Leanne.
All the sauces in the range are made, bottled and labeled by them, and run the full spiciness spectrum, from fruity and mild…to devilishly spicy.
A good starter option is the Extra Mild Mango Chili Sauce, made with carrots, garlic, lime, fresh mango and a hint of chili.
Or step it up with Habanero and Lime Essence, which is packed with tomatoes, lime, garlic, onion, chile, and extra virgin olive oil. Try a sprinkle on tacos or use it to marinate pork.
Bring to a simmer and dinner will be on the table in no time.
If you’re looking for an easy way to use up leftover turkey on Boxing Day, you really won’t go wrong with one of these pots. They come in Goan, Sri Lankan, and Rendang varieties. If you’re looking to cook now, rendang paste is wonderful cooked slow and slow with venison.
Niche Cocktails: Niche prides itself on serving some of the most premium canned cocktails on the market. Made with the best spirits and without preservatives or artificial flavorings, each one is pure, as if you walked into a bar.
Winter favorites include the Mocha Martini (cold-brewed coffee, vodka, and cocoa extract) and the Blood Orange Old Fashioned (Italian blood orange, bourbon, and a dash of bitters).
Tempered Chocolate: Fun, thick chocolate bars made, as they say, with ‘No Bull’. Each of the 14 bars has a Rainforest Alliance accredited sustainable chocolate base. And there’s no single-use plastic involved in the packaging. Flavors to try range from dark espresso and walnut to gingerbread S’Mores, sea salt and Maldon caramel, dark honeycomb and coconut caramel crunch.
Artifact Crafting: What started as a home-based nanobrewery has now grown into a thriving small business for husband and wife James and Kat, who have garnered a few awards along their journey over the past few years.
A stalwart favorite is their classic Ixworth Blonde, a light ale with a hint of citrus borrowed from the use of Mandarina Bavaria hops.
If you like going to the dark side in winter, check out Dark Mild, with its notes of sweet coffee, malt, and chocolate.
Wooster Bakery: Wooster’s makes some swoon-worthy bread. Delicious sourdoughs (the toasted seed one is wonderful with a hint of blue cheese and chutney), irresistibly plump baked white batch (if you can get your hands on a loaf from the middle of the batch you’ve won a lifetime), and beautiful cakes. Don’t go home without a malt loaf in your bag. His are the stickiest, densest and most glorious there is.
The man with the cake and cheese: A mainstay in many of the markets and fairs in the region. Drop by to grab some cakes or empanadas for dinner (or to stash in the freezer between Christmas) and stock up on those holiday cheeses. They sell a lot of trucks, which will be around for quite some time. One of the best recommendations is Bob’s Knobs (also known as Volcano). Pyramid-shaped green and red waxed Lancashire cheese is crumbly and pointy, the kind of cheese that makes the roof of your mouth tingle. Wonderful.
Stokes Sauces: Only the best ingredients and tastiest recipes end up in Stokes’ jars and bottles, which is why they remain one of the most trusted sauce and preserve makers in East Anglia.
If you haven’t tried it before, a good product to get started with the brand is Tomato Ketchup. It is packed with toms and has much less sugar than supermarket sauces. Instead, there’s a rich, silky, flavorful bite to this one. Even Tommy K’s staunchest enemies have been converted.
New arrivals to the range include a Christmas coronation sauce, cranberry Christmas sauce, ale chutney, spiced mango chutney, Rendlesham jam and Sicilian lemon dill mayonnaise. All worthy of a place in the pantry.
The English Liqueur Distillery: This time of year calls for a shot of something to warm up the cockles, and this company has all the bases covered with their rums, vodkas, whiskeys, and liqueurs.
A must try, if you can get your hands on it, is the Christmas spirit spiced rum liqueur, which is said to taste like the essence of Christmas. Their own rum is distilled using English oak and walnut, then enhanced with notes of vanilla, orange, cinnamon and star anise. Lovely on its own, warmed up in apple juice or even drizzled over a pudding.