Sourcing fresh, local food daily and knowing where your food came from is a challenge many households face these days. Buying freshly baked sourdough bread and beef from animals that have been ethically raised just metres away from the counter sounds like some sort of utopia, but it’s an absolute reality in Suffolk. Suffolk Food Hall is located just south of Ipswich and offers the best of Suffolk’s local food produce.
Last week we visited Ipswich and stayed at the magnificent Salthouse Harbour Hotel located in the centre of the Ipswich Marina. After a night of delicious seafood and lots of bubble baths, we made our way to Suffolk Food Hall, which is just a 10 min drive away. I am always on the hunt for amazing food finds and there was lots to explore there. Here is what you can expect to find when you visit this food kingdom.
Best of Suffolk’s food
Imagine an 8000 square ft. food venue that has a selection of the best food produced by local Suffolk businesses and farmers. Suffolk’s food industry comes together as one big family in this food hall to display the best of their produce, the majority of which you will not be able to find in the supermarkets.
Meat & Fish
Suffolk Food Hall is famous for its traditional butchery, offering a wide range of meat cuts, as well as fresh burgers, sausages and meatballs prepared in house using their own recipes. They work with local farmers in Suffolk to source high-quality, fresh meat, but the best thing is that their beef is actually raised in their farm, just behind the venue. The cows literally roam the grass fields behind the food hall and they look like happy, well looked after animals. We bought some of the fresh beef burgers and my other half said they were some of the best he has ever tried, nothing like the ones you will find in the supermarkets.
There is a fantastic selection of fish and seafood, some of which was caught not far from the food hall. From lobsters and crabs to haddock and swordfish, the variety of choices is amazing.
I might not be a big meat fan, but I am definitely a cheese fan and I was literally drooling when I was standing in front of the impressive selection of cheese. Some of it mild, some more mature. The most popular ones seem to be local of course, but you can find some excellent Swiss and French cheese as well. The Delicatessen counter also offers a great choice of fresh, ready meals like pastries and quiches, cooked from scratch by the in house chefs.
The bakery has an impressive range of baked goods, prepared from scratch. The fresh sourdough bread is of course the star of the show, but you will find other delicious breads, pastries and focaccia.
Fruit & Veg
This food heaven would not be complete without the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, most sourced from local farmers and some from a bit further away, like the citrus fruits.
Suffolk food hall aims to provide everything that is available locally, but there are certain foods that we look for on a daily basis, that can’t be sourced locally of course. However you will be surprised by the abundance of local produce that you can buy. Did you know there are British quinoa producers?
Minimising food waste
Something I found very impressive about their operation is that they do their best to minimise food waste and the food just seems to circulate. If there is food that is close to expiring, it might be given to the cows in the farm if suitable or it’s used by the chefs in the in house kitchens. They prepare lovely meals like antipasti, tarts and pies for the Delicatessen counter, which are ready for you to take home straight to the table. Unlike the big supermarket chains, they do their best not to waste any food.
Suffolk Food Hall seems to be a popular destination amongst families, not just because of the great food, but also because of the playground that’s just on the side of the building. Parents can enjoy cakes and coffee while the kids go crazy on the giant bouncy pillow. If you are in the mood for more than just cakes, their restaurant is ideal for a family weekend meal.
Suffolk Food Hall is also home of the Cookhouse restaurant. The on farm restaurant is very bright and airy, with a great view of the surrounding fields and the cows from the farm. The atmosphere is very inviting and family-friendly and the chefs here have the same commitment of sourcing local, fresh food for their creative menu.
They serve popular classics like Fish & chips and Steak and chips, as well as more unique dishes like the Chef’s hummus below.
We wanted to try some of their specials for the day and we were delighted by the food that arrived to our table. This sweet potato & chilli soup was the perfect combination of sweet and mildly hot flavours.
I also ordered the Red snapper fillet with lettuce, potato and pomegranate salad, which I absolutely loved! It was a very filling, healthy and fresh meal.
The Cookhouse is more than just a restaurant though, as soon as you enter its building you are going to pass by several open kitchens, which are used by different local business. They make different things there from cakes to gin (which is then sold in the Suffolk Food Hall). The Cookhouse also hosts a cookery school if you are interested in expanding your skills.
Sadly Suffolk Food Hall is not close to my home, but if I was living in the area, I would love to make this my go-to food shop. How about you, have you visited Suffolk Food Hall? Tell me in the comments below!
This post was created in collaboration with Suffolk Food Hall. All opinions are my own.