Gluten-free & the Earsham Street Deli
I am home! The sun is shining, I have four days off, a rare treat, and while working on Your Gluten Freedom, The Delicate Diner and creative projects, I also have some time to just enjoy being back home. Indeed, I have already been out and done my shopping for the weekend ahead – and when I am home, it’s never a supermarket but always the local shops. I would much rather put my money their way than to some big conglomerate that doesn’t care about the individual as much as the profit in their pockets.
So, with that in mind, whenever I am home, I like to head to Bungay. There, on Earsham Street, are two of my favourite local food shops: Earsham Street Delicatessen and Giddens & Thompson Greengrocers. Both do wonderful fresh and local produce – and Earsham Street Deli keeps on improving its gluten-free range. So you can imagine my delight when I walked in early this morning and was presented with this:
A whole batch of gluten-free hot cross buns, made by a local lady. Michelle Steele, who owns and runs the Deli, is always looking for new ranges to be added and this was a lovely surprise this morning! Of course, I had to buy some (okay – several…) and they have already been duly sampled by myself and my mother. Naturally, these hot cross buns are heavier than those sans gluten but my word – they were delicious! Toasted under the grill and lavishly slavered with butter, they were wonderfully crisp, spicy and fruity. Michelle told me that are well as raisins and peel, these hot cross buns have added apple to keep them moist, and they are truly delicious. The only others that I have founded and enjoyed regularly are those from Waitrose but I hope that Earsham Street Deli will be home to these for many years to come!
Earsham Street Deli is also now a stockist of Voakes pies and tarts – the best gluten-free pork pies that you can find are made by this Yorkshire-based company, and Michelle has a fresh delivery once a week. It makes a huge difference to know that you can pop into a store such as this and grab a salad and a gluten-free sausage roll to go, rather than the usual cardboard sandwiches you find in so many other places. While I mention their salads – at £4.95, they are a bargain! A deep tub filled with mixed leaves, spring onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, and then whatever you wish for on top – chicken and avocado, goat cheese, ham, the list is endless. And you can leave out anything that you don’t like before the whole thing is drenched with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Their salads are my definite ‘go to’ if I am out and about and now, with a range of the vast Voakes selection on offer as well, Earsham Street Deli is more than a worth pit stop.
If you are after something sweeter, Michelle always has a polenta cake on the go – cherry and almond or apricot and pistachio are my favourites, and they are packaged up into lovely little boxes, ready to enjoy later with a cup of your favourite herbal tea.
The Deli also sells delicious gluten-free individual chocolate and pear cakes, made with ground almonds and with a decadent chocolate swirl on top. I can guarantee that if you are having a bad day, these are totally delicious!
There are plenty of other delights there too – from Kent&Fraser Criscuits, which are gluten-free savoury cheese biscuits (I’ve just purchased cracked black pepper & smoked sea salt for the long weekend) to Cocoa Libre dairy-free chocolates (Christmas was dark mint chocolate penguins, for Easter we have dark chocolate bears and ‘milk’ chocolate chicks!), there really is something for everyone. The cheese selection is full of sheep and goat cheese choices, the fresh pesto is amazing, the fresh antipasto selection includes a vast range of olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and a variety of dried meats as well as fresh pates and terrines. Local bacon is also available from a Suffolk farm – in fact, the Deli is a showcase of some of Suffolk & Norfolk’s finest products. Low-sugar jams are also available – preferred by so many of us that prefer the cleaner way of eating – and for those that can tolerate it, fresh spelt bread is delivered twice a week. They even sell local raw milk, raw butter and raw cheese – sometimes those that cannot tolerate lactose can tolerate this. I have to say that the butter is amazing, even if I can’t bring myself to try the milk – sorry!
So next time you are in Bungay, make sure you visit Earsham Street Deli to top up your fridge or freezer. Staples when I visit are: Voakes, pesto, antipasto selections – for using with pasta or on top of homemade gluten-free pizza – and Fine Cheese Co gluten-free water biscuits. Anything else is a bonus – a salad if it’s that time of the day, a cake for a rainy day, and for those really wintery days, I will buy some black risotto rice from the Deli and then pop over to see Simon at Giddens & Thompson to get an array of fresh veg to make a winter warmer with.
Above you, you are guaranteed a warm welcome by Michelle and her team. You can find out more about the Deli at Earsham Street Deli. It is well worth a visit, and make sure you pop over the road to Giddens & Thompson too, for a great and wide range of colourful fruit & veg. They are the best in town and well worth the extra drive to get them! I will blog later about some of the meals I make with their delicious wares.
For now, I wish you all a lovely long weekend – until next time, Samantha xx