As a North Easterner, there are certain foods you miss when you leave the kingdom, products that even if successfully sourced elsewhere never seem to taste quite the same and others that you just can’t find south of Middlesbrough, ever. Even with the spread of the almighty Greggs, which is now seemingly perched on the corner of every third street in all northern towns, if you drive too far South down the A1 you can’t get a stottie for love nor money. Which is, of course, exactly why you should stock up on some of the very best things to eat that the North East has to offer when you pay us a visit. I truly believe there are native foods available round these parts that are worth booking a trip just to taste, though as a Geordie raised on homemade pease pudding and broth, I may be a little bit biased!
Recently, Haven Holidays got in touch and asked me for tips on where visitors to the region could find the best local delicacies, so in this post I’ve gathered together a few places where you can pick up some of the foods my beloved North East is best known for. If you’re visiting the Haven holiday park at Berwick or staying elsewhere in Northumberland, you’ll find some true tastes of the north by paying the establishments below a visit. And, whether if a Geordie by birth or visiting for a break, you can test your knowledge of local delicacies from this region and others in the Haven’s local delicacy quiz.
You should find pease pudding plentiful when you’re out and about in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Most sandwich shops (including the Greggs of almost every high street) will invariably have it on their menu accompanied by ham and possibly on a lovely stodgy white stottie to boot (truly a hangover saviour). You can also buy this delicious spread (made by boiling split peas with ham) at many delis and even the local supermarkets. If you’re taking a trip to the lovely market town of Alnwick (and you should because it’s a pretty place with great pubs and isn’t just about the castle that was featured in Harry Potter) you should pop into Turnbull’s on Market Street. This butchers sells lots of locally sourced meats including its very own dry cured bacon range and award-winning pies and pastries too. It also sells pease pudding to takeaway, so you can pick some up to pack in a future picnic should you choose. While you’re in town, call in at the Bari Tea Brewery for a cuppa.
Hinnies, Whitley Bay
A sort of scone-cum-muffin Singin’ Hinnies are not so easy to come by at bakers in the North East nowadays, though they are fairly easy to make yourself. Take a trip to the coastal town of Whitley Bay though and you can enjoy them at a dining establishment that celebrates them with its name and boasts other Geordie-influenced crowd pleasers on the menu too. The Singin’ Hinnies (named after the noise they make when cooking) are served up with strawberry jam and clotted cream on the pudding menu, while you can enjoy comforting Pan Haggerty (a delicious potato bake) as part of their main course menu or enjoy pease pudding served up on one of their affordable sharing boards.
Northumberland Cheese Farm, Blagdon
You may not yet associate the North East with cheese production but let me assure you, we do it rather well. Along with Doddingtons in the far north, which concentrates on cheese and ice cream production, the Northumberland Cheese Farm excellently demonstrates our skills in the area of dairy food production. I’m a tad biased because I used to work at the Cheese Loft, where you can sit in for a Ploughman’s or cheese scone or buy some of the farm’s cheeses to take away. My favourites are the Blagdon Blue – best described as a soft, delicious creamy blue brie type cheese and the Nettle, a cheddar that it’s impossible to eat just one small piece of (I recommend just caving in and cutting large chunks to eat with a crisp, sweet apple and a few digestive biscuits – it’s not a gourmet supper but it’s one I enjoy best).
L Robson & Sons, Craster
I was fairly young when I first tried smoked kippers for breakfast and must admit I wasn’t sold on them after the first few attempts at eating them. That said, I did always enjoy the fact that buying them from where they were made meant a trip to some really breath-taking beaches. L Robson & Sons in Craster still smoke their kippers the traditional way and you can buy them at their shop and order online so you can re-live a summer on the Northumberland coast once you’re back home. When in Rome (or Craster), visit the restaurant with views over Craster harbour.
If you’re a seafood fan (like me) The Old Boat House at Amble is another great spot on the coast to sample the wares of the North Sea and as an added bonus they also serve great bread. They’ve recently opened up The Fish Shack at the Sea Quest aimed at walkers, which we’ve not quite made it along to yet as it would be too much of a tease while I can’t eat fresh seafood. It does however seem to be a similar concept to Riley’s Fish Shack over at gorgeous Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth – so expect informal dining/streetfood. We’ll definitely be aiming to try the Shack soon .I know we’ll be heading to the Boat House to celebrate just soon as baby has landed. After 9 months of pregnancy enforced abstinence, melted brie, local lobster and a crisp glass of wine is exactly what I fancy and It’s an added bonus that Ruby the dog can come along with us too.
If you’re visiting the area and would like some local food recommendations, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Twitter or Instagram.