Friday, 17 June 2011

Aldeburgh - food and shopping

Only in Aldeburgh will you find a clothes shop called Butchers, a butcher called Salters and a chemist called Shooter. But each of these local landmarks make visits to Aldeburgh a pleasure.

Salters The Family Butchers is a must for craftsman quality cuts of locally sourced meat. Know exactly what you're eating, and where it comes from - and delicious, too. Even if you don't do meat, go to Salters because they have excellent picnic supplies - quiches and cakes baked by farmer's families, regional cheeses, Suffolk apple juices etc. at reasonable prices. The Salters really are a traditional family butchers, incredibly friendly service. They greet me each year - they remember! It's wonderful. They've now got a website where you can order all kinds of meat, though how far they deliver I don't know. In theory you could fill a freezer box.

Butcher the clothes shop is like stepping back into another world. Top brands like Barbour, Betty Barclay, Fitflops etc but displayed in a shop fittings straight out of the 1950's. Was this where Britten and Pears bought their socks?

Barry Shooter the Chemist is another place of pilgrimage. I wait all year to stock up.  Again, traditional shop with unusual and really useful stocks. L'occitane, Dr Hauschka, treats and the best range of Dr Scholl's outside a specialist shop. Big chains don't do nearly so much variety or such good quality. At Shooters, shopping is fun, unlike the impersonal deserts you get in the city. Shooters also carries a good range of holday items, like tan creams and toys for the kids. I used to have a photo of the shop in high summer, festooned with nets, floats, buckets and spades.

Also make a point of visiting Lawson's the Delicatessen. (stylish website) Exceptionally good salads, pies, breads. This is the place that convinced me Coronation Chicken could be real food. Lawson's won Deli of the Year last year and you can see why. Esoteric and superlative quality. This is where you go if you're self catering and want easy meals that wouldn't shame Mayfair. They cater and do hampers, too. You pay for what you get but it's exqusite and you can feast in style.

Restaurants in the Aldeburgh area aren't too good apart from Fish and Chips places - some have queues of 30 or more at opening time.  Otherwise, stick to farm pubs like the Crown at Snape where you can watch the pigs and eat the pork inside. Also Anglo-Nubian goats whose cheese you can enjoy. I also have a thing for The Ship at Dunwich but you may need to book. Excellent beach and so quiet at night it's spooky. Also hugely recommended is Aldeburgh Market in the High Street. It was started by an ex-City couple who've now moved on but still very hgh standards. Mostly fish menu, though supplies come from Billingsgate. It's the seaside! But you often see vegetables delivered so fresh the mud is still on them. Great for lazy breakfasts. And don't forget, tucked away near the Jubilee Hall, a tiny tea shop with home made cakes, run by a group of sisters, lovely rose filled patio.

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