Visit Essex take us on a tour of the county to highlight where can tuck into the best of the autumn harvest
The seasons are changing, the Essex countryside will soon be dotted with orange and yellow hues as the leaves change colour, and farmers are out collecting their crops. Visit Essex, the county’s tourism body, provides an insider’s guide on the best places to enjoy the freshest food this autumn.
The Taste of Local Essex
Essex is known for its agricultural prowess, and local eateries take advantage of fresh local produce at their disposal. Seaside shacks in Leigh-on-Sea offer fresh fishermen’s catches and delicious cockles, while the Samphire Restaurant at the County Hotel in Chelmsford serves up delectable seasonal dishes with locally sourced ingredients.
For a fine dining treat, Greyfriars in Colchester offers a range of yummy food, with Mersea Rock oysters available all year round, and Colchester Native oysters served from October to March. Or, if you head down to the Galvin Green Man, owned by the Michelin Star-winning Galvin brothers, you will find a menu that consists of tasty, seasonally sourced dishes.
Scrumptious strawberry jam is always on the afternoon tea menu at the Tiptree Tea Room in Saffron Walden, with fresh strawberries harvested from the Tiptree fruit farm.
Fruit is bountiful in rural Essex, and as grapes are harvested, you can sample the delectable sparkling wines on offer from the Saffron Grange vineyard. Or if you head over to Crouch Ridge vineyard, you can make use of their large decking area and experience stunning views of the River Crouch. Relax while sipping on a glass of award-winning wine, made from cool climate grape varieties.
If beer is more your flavour, grains are harvested each autumn and Billericay Brewing provides two-hour brewery tours and tasting, which involve a full explanation of the brewing process and all ingredients involved.. Or take a trip to Brentwood Brewing Company, where the tap room always has five different draught beers on the bar. The brewery also offers tours that include beer tasting, or experience days, where you can spend the whole day at the brewery!
For those who enjoy a crisp gin, East Coast Distillery, Walton-on-the-Naze, makes the most of Essex’s vast coastline by foraging local coastal botanicals to create their tasty gin. Free tours are on offer on Saturdays, where the makers will introduce you to their botanicals and allow you to taste some fine gin. Or enjoy a wide selection of spirits made from scratch in a nearly-200-year-old barn at the English Spirit Distillery in Great Yeldham.
Spruce up your meals with local produce
Foodies love the seasonal produce on offer at the county’s growing number of farmers’ markets and farm shops. All over Essex, farmers’ markets showcase the very best of local produce, and this autumn, look out for freshly picked apples, pears, potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli.
A great place to visit is Blackwells Farm Shop in Coggeshall, which offers a range of traditionally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables, high-quality meat and cakes from their in-house bakers.
The expansive Essex countryside is full of wonderful, natural bounty. While walking through the woodlands, you could pick up some fresh, tasty blackberries to take home and bake in a pie or eat along the way! Also, look out for nutritious beech nuts, rosehips, damsons and sloes which are in abundance on the hedgerows, so why not try your hand at homemade gin!
To discover more, go to visitessex.com/food-and-drink