10 of the best things to eat and drink at Hadleigh Show 2022

Jane Hadley will be at Hadleigh Show 2022 with her award-winning ice creams and sorbets

Jane Hadley will be at Hadleigh Show 2022 with her award-winning ice creams and sorbets - Credit: Gregg Brown

I’ve been attending Hadleigh Show, in my hometown, for as long as I can remember. As a tot I was fascinated by the animals. The bunny tent was a favourite for a long time. And if my uncle was showing Suffolk Punches, we’d pop over to stroke their shiny chestnut-coloured coats.

As a teen, naturally I spent ages in the fairground, psyching myself up to go on the ‘hamster wheel.  

And now, as an adult, and a self-confessed foodie, my day at the show is firmly fixed around eating. Hadleigh Show’s food hall and beer tent are pretty legendary in the town. 

After trying samples, and weighing yourself down with pies, cheese, cakes and all manner of other delights, it’s tradition (certainly in my friendship circle) to trudge over to the catering and bar area, seeing out the remainder of the afternoon with a few pints of cider and a bite to eat – hopefully in the sun. 

I’m delighted the show is back in 2022 (at Holbecks Park, this Saturday) – and my cupboards are ready and waiting to be filled. 

A range of local produce will be on offer at the popular Adnams Food Hall at the Suffolk Show Pictu

The Cheese and Pie Man stall is a regular at festivals and events in the area - Credit: Suffolk Agricultural Association

Brownies from Essex Bakery

Brownies from Essex Bakery - Credit: Essex Bakery

Mena from Mena's Indian Banquet Picture: Suffolk Market Events

Mena from Mena's Indian Banquet, which will be at Hadleigh Show. Mena is a regular at local farmers' markets - Credit: Suffolk Market Events

10 ‘best buys’ in the food hall 

Bob’s Knob, The Cheese and Pie Man: Once you’ve got past chuckling at the name (for a spell these cheeses were renamed ‘volcanoes’) do not go home without one of these green and red waxed beauties. Inside is the most tongue-tingling, savoury, almost meaty Lancashire cheese, aged for two years. It’s absolutely up there in my top 20 fromages. Serve with fresh, crisp apples or pears to cut through the richness. The stall also sells a range of local cheeses, truckles, and award-winning pies – as found at Harrods. 

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Spiced potato cakes, Mena’s Indian Banquet: Your nose will certainly lead you to Mena’s stall where she’s freshly cooking vegetarian Indian snacks throughout the day. Her spiced, fragrant, moreish potato cakes are divine – especially if you catch them fresh out of the pan. There are samosas and other treats to eat on the hoof at the show, and homemade, frozen Indian dishes, naans, rotis, dips, and curry packs. 

Suffolk Crunch granola, Good to Go:  Very tasty, gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free granola. This is one of my favourite blends from the company, bursting with almonds, cranberries, satsuma and cinnamon. It’s a hug in a bowl.  

Welsh Dragon sausages, The Giggly Pig Company: Leek and a hint of spice run through these bangers, which are a real treat thrown on the barbecue after the show. The Giggly Pig rears its own rare breed saddleback pigs in Essex, and makes up to 75 varieties of sausage, changing at each event – from cider apple, to Italian olive and herb, and honey and mustard. 

Double chocolate brownies, Essex Bakery: Nat’s brownies are gooey, chocolatey and moreish, with chewy, crunchy edges. The classic, original brownies are fabulous. Other flavours include pecan and chocolate, chocolate orange, and mint chocolate – all gluten-free. 

Green chilli oil, Casa De L’Oli: These guys press olives from their own groves in southern Catalonia, extracting fruity extra virgin oil, and cold-pressing a range of inclusions directly with the olives. I do have a penchant for their lemon olive oil, but the green chilli is my favourite. It brims with the unmistakable taste of fresh green chilli, and has a touch of heat. I drizzle it over pizzas, pasta dishes, aubergine parmigiana, salads. But it’s brilliant on its own with crusty bread for dipping too. Look out also for olive pastes, balsamic vinegars, and serving dishes made with olive wood. 

Monmouth Coffee ice cream, Hadley’s Dairy: Jane Hadley has racked up one of the biggest collections of Great Taste Awards stars in the east of England. Her ice creams and sorbets are luscious. Made with local eggs and dairy, the best coffee and chocolate, and locally-grown fresh fruits in season. Coffee ice cream is my go-to, and hers is simply wonderful. 

Limongino, The English Spirit Distillery: A vibrant, zingy little number to serve chilled from the freezer on a hot day, or to drizzle over ice cream, cakes, or strawberries. The company makes a huge range of award-winning spirits, from rum and vodka, to fruit liqueurs, sambuca and gin. 

Kashmir Chutney, The Jam Shed: I adore everything Ted makes, but this chutney has a special place in my heart – my number one order at Hadleigh’s Fergusen’s Deli is a splodge of this on top of Suffolk ham and Cheddar. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy. Just the perfect chutney in my eyes. Ted’s range is enormous and makes incredible use of the bounty of local farms, his own plot, and foraged ingredients. Other top jars include the rhubarb and vanilla jam, whisky marmalade and blueberry and lavender jam. 

54.5% dark chocolate with Dutch salted liquorice, Deepmills: I’m not a huge fan of liquorice, but was persuaded a few years ago to try this chocolate at Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, just after it had launched. Blimey it’s addictive. Dark, a little saline, with a lingering aniseedy backnote. Lovely stuff. Other bars include white chocolate pina colada, 33.6% coffee and walnut milk chocolate, and 70.5% dark chocolate with peppermint. 

Get your hands on some local fresh jams and chutneys from The Jam Shed next weekend Picture: Suffolk

The Jam Shed will be at Hadleigh Show with some stunning preserves - Credit: Suffolk Market Events

What can I eat on the day? 

There really is something for everyone, from simple jacket spuds and slices of cake, to smoked meats and freshly squeezed lemonade. 

Baytree Pizza are back, knocking up wood-fired pizzas right in front of your very eyes, rolling and topping each one to order, and cooking in less than two minutes. They sell everything from a classic margherita, to pepperoni, spicy meat and barbecue chicken. 

If it’s a burger you’re after, Lavenham Butchers are on site and usually have some really really tasty options available, as do Happy Herefords, who rear their own meadow-grazed Hereford cattle. 

Hoggies is an institution at Hadleigh Show, so expect to queue. But it’s worth it for that bun packed with tender slow-cooked, spit-roasted pork, stuffing, apple sauce and crackling. 

If barbecue’s your thing, Smokey Jones returns, preparing applewood smoked brisket, low and slow.