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Norwich City: An Outsider’s view – Part Two.

Saturday: today brought the early morning opportunity to take pictures of the river, now the rain had ceased, and Prince of Wales Road was bustling with activity once again. I met up with my friend/tour guide on the bridge opposite the train station. We headed towards the cathedral, Norwich cathedral is stunning, the detail in the architecture is incredible, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys exploring and appreciating old buildings Norwich is definitely a must visit, with a few to choose from, the cathedral grounds aren’t small and unfortunately it was early so we didn’t get to see inside, the fact is that despite this it was still worth doing as it is a stunning building and one I am sure I will return to several times in the future.

The next stop on our little tour was a small café called ‘That Café’, having skipped breakfast I was grateful we stopped at this lovely hidden gem, greeted by a lovely and friendly woman, who after welcoming me to Norwich took our order, the range of food available for a small café was great and little free American sweets were also a nice touch. After sitting down, our food was quickly brought over with the coffee I opted for the traditional bacon roll and latte, while my friend had some kind of sausage roll that was made with chorizo, I remembered because I don’t like Chorizo and during our welcome the lovely lady had announced they had just finished cooking. My Bacon roll was lovely I would even say perfect; the latte was great too, I am normally fussy with coffee, but this was just right not to strong, not to creamy. The atmosphere at That Café is very relaxed, I could have stayed all day, but with only one day for sightseeing and plans to go out that night it was soon time to head off again.

We walked to Norwich City Hall, which is a beautiful Art Deco building which dates to around 1938: I believe, the thing that most impressed me was the long balcony one of the longest balconies I have seen to date. Not far from City Hall is the BBC building, which is stunning and one of the most creative as the BBC buildings I have seen tend to be towers.

But the one in Norwich is set back and up on steps and is lit up at night which is quite a sight. From here we headed to the Castle Quarter (previously Castle Mall) re-branding event, we entered from the side where the first thing to hit me was the mural walls two of which are lit up, The main long one as you walk in is a children’s mural of the city which is lovely, The two smaller ones opposite are decorated with lights and have seating in front of them. Castle Quarter is lively, creative and a fun place to be and shop, but if you continue just past the mural you come to Retro Replay, an Arcade and gaming lounge with all your favourite arcade games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man etc, I love that they have a deal where you pay £10.00 and play all day, a deal we didn’t explore as I feared I would lose my friend for the rest of my trip and I am very good at getting lost. Castle Quarter had lots of fun activities planned that day but being a huge Pac-Man fan, I was most impressed with the inflatable Pac-Man maze game, I had never seen one and it was exciting. I was learning rather quickly just what a creative, innovative and exciting place Norwich can be.

After a short trip to see the exterior of The Assembly House, you can stay here or book a table for a meal too, The Assembly House (Assembly Rooms: as I call it) it a georgian gem of a building designed in 1754 by Thomas Ivory. We popped into the Sir Garnet Public house, which a lovely little place thankfully a little peaceful too, they have little tables by a window up a couple of steps the perfect place to rest and enjoy a drink.

By this point we decided to head back and get changed and just in time as that rain was back again. I resurfaced a couple of hours later ready for the evening. We headed straight for Norwich City Football Stadium, Carrow Road home to the ‘Canaries’. Now firstly yes I do like football and secondly there are two things that made the stadium stand out that I really liked: number one it’s actually a lot smaller than it looks, my first thought was ‘oh my god, he’s going to make me walk around that and my feet are still recovering’ (sorry, but’s true!) but it really wasn’t that bad. The second was you could see in although it was locked up, it was an away game week, I think! But you could see right into the seats and everything it was great, normally you can only see the higher levels of stadiums from the outside.

Finally, it was dinner time and I was craving a cheeseburger, there are lots of options as we were close to the Riverside complex, we decided on Fatso’s restaurant, Bar and Grill – a 1920’s-1930’s themed American diner. I am so glad we did this place was great, I had a ice-cream float made with Cola (a childhood favourite of mine) with a cheese and bacon burger with fries, there was so much food I couldn’t finish it but what there was lovely cooked perfectly delivered promptly which was lucky as we had about an hour before we were due to meet friends in town. My friend had a pulled pork hotdog which looked amazing my one regret is that I didn’t get that without cheese sauce, I don’t like cheese sauce I mean it’s not proper cheese.

So, feeling rather full and very contented, we headed to the Gin temple: now I must be honest, I had no idea what to expect but I was intrigued at the prospect of a passion-fruit Gin.

It’s located above Rabbit coffee shop in Pottergate, in the heart of town, upon arrival and another friendly greeting from bar staff and meeting friends we ordered the passion-fruit gin cocktail and sat down, one of the things that makes this place so great is the amount of care, effort and craftsmanship they pour into every drink.

The best way I can explain the cocktail which must be savoured and drank slowly is gin with pureed passionfruit in a decorated glass and it tastes exactly as good as it sounds, a little while later after lots of good conversation.

We tried the raspberry lemonade which was amazing served in a gin glass with the same care, attention and craftsmanship the glass had chunks of ice and fresh raspberries in there too and it was one of the best and most refreshing soft drinks I have had for a while.

My trip to Norwich was a creative and enjoyable experience and I was a little sad to be leaving it behind when I returned home the following day.

A city full of friendly faces and bustling with creative experiences and fun.

The Gin Temple has now sadly closed, after making the decision to take their gin on tour earlier this year.

Norwich City: A outsider’s view – Part One.

One of the few cities I had never experienced, I decided it was time to go explore what Norwich had to offer. So, armed with a return coach ticket and a two-night hotel reservation I set off. A friend who lives in the city offered to act as a tour guide, just as well as I could get lost very easily.

I was intrigued as I rode in a taxi to Riverside where my hotel was, despite the rain and momentary thunder, I think I fell in love with Riverside the moment I saw it. I am not sure if it’s the pub on the other side of the bridge, the weeping willows or the way the river winding around a corner. A short time later I had met a friend and was being shown the sights of city hall, the forum, on the way to Grosvenor Fish Bar, I had heard about their High Sea’s Tea and decided to give it a try. Before we get completely into what that is and what it was like two main points: A) we ordered the High Sea’s Tea for Two – but in my opinion you need at least three people to get through it. B) if you like prawns (the tiger prawns are to die for) steal all the tiger prawns the moment the dish arrives, we sat downstairs in the intimate dining room. The dish is delivered in a three-tier silver dish with the middle tier entirely chips and dips there was garlic mayonnaise, seafood sauce and ketchup. The top tier had little clam rolls like mini sliders on it, with flag poles in them. The bottom tier was packed with different kinds of fish/seafood i.e. this is were the prawns can be found! I wasn’t a huge fan of the White Bait it tasted to much like pilchards to me which I don’t like (I don’t do smelly fish). The Battered Squid, which was very nice once I got over the misconception that they were onion rings (it looks exactly like an onion ring in that batter!). Cod Cheeks and Cod Goujons, were incredibly fresh the flesh was perfectly white and fluffy, and tasted great. I also recommend ordering 2 drinks because you’ll probably need an extra one after all that fish.

This was the ideal treat after my long journey and the night was finished off by a visit to Last Pub Standing: I must admit, I didn’t realise this was the name of the pub and not an event! Looks like your local pub from the outside, but I loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere inside and the live music (it was Friday, not sure if there’s live music all the time) the beer garden was lovely to relax in and meet new people.

Artisan Chocolate by Saffire – A Review.

Artisan Chocolate by Saffire is based in Taverham Garden Centre, Norwich. Saffire started out in 2005 as a hobby by Angela within six months of selling at farmer’s markets, she had put down a deposit on a shop. The company has moved premises a few times due to expansion before settling in their current location in 2009, Angela had been joined by her son Gary and his Wife Sharleen, as well as daughters Annabella and Kathrin (Annabella joined the family business when she was 14 and left to pursue university four years ago). Kathrin manages the company’s Social Media and marketing, while Angela and Gary are the head chocolatiers and Sharleen is the Manager.
Artisan Chocolate by Saffire have an extensive range of products and services including workshops all year round, these fill up quickly so early booking is essential.

One of the flagship pieces on offer at Saffire is ‘The World most expensive chocolate shoe: The Saffire slipper is designed from one of the UK’s designer shoes and made from an exclusive mould, taking 40+ hours to make and are hand-delivered within a 150-mile radius of the shop. A deposit of £250.00 is required upon ordering with prices starting from £599.00. 

The Shoes were not one of the items sampled but the review would not be complete without mentioning them. So moving on to a bespoke item that was sampled, Saffire have teamed up with local businesses including ‘Give it some beans’ and ‘Heavens Hemp’ but this bespoke item is the result of a team up with Reynard City Chronicles: a local comic led by Will Turner to create the wonderfully name Warp King Mystery Flavor Bar: usually this bar is only available via Reynard City Chronicles as part of a box set, but a preview bar was provided. The first thing that hits you when you unwrap this bar is a strong scent of bubble gum scent which could be why in taste challenges people often wrongly guess bubble gum. This chocolate is extremely creamy, you can feel it melting away to reveal the banana flavor with all the sweetness of white chocolate (the pink bar was sampled), this is chocolate heaven (well for me anyway, maybe not if you are not keen on bananas). It is confusing chocolate though, as you never really get the scent of bubble gum out of your mind and you’re waiting to taste that flavor.

All of this is perfect as, it is based on a comic character the warp king who is the gatekeeper of time and space and likes to mess things up a little. You can contact Will Turner at www.reyanardcitychronicles.com to find out how to get this bar as it is not available to order via Saffire.

The next item sampled was Saffire’s Hot Mocha Chocolate Shot,

You simply unwrap and stir into your drink till melted, well that is the theory!  It would be useful to make a drink in a large mug, as it is a lot of chocolate, rich, creamy with a belgian chocolate taste to it, there is an irresistible urge to eat some of the chocolate whilst it’s melting. This was the best indulgent treat, perfect for melting away the cares of the day. The best thing is that because there’s so much chocolate, it makes a large treat, so you feel completely pampered by the time you have finished.

I strongly recommend only one treat from Saffire at a time because it is luxury chocolate at its finest. the next item sampled is:

The strawberry and Cream bar priced at £2.25

One of the things that is most striking about this bar is the chunkiness, it is quite deep, it’s not quite as creamy as the Warp King bar, but the flavor more than makes up for that, Saffire claim to use the best available ingredients in their chocolate and this bar is a perfect example of that. The strawberry pips inside were a surprise and make the bar a little crunchier, the flavor is strong and perfectly balanced. This bar is the one product sampled that I could consume more than one of due to its lighter texture.

When you have to save the best for last then the best would be 8 luxury handmade chocolates priced at £8.90. This is the ultimate gift option.

These truffles come in different size boxes of 8,16 or 24, with the option to choose your flavours. There are too many to list, but Flavours tried are listed below. Flavours were not specified for the box we sampled but there is a fold out card included in the box detailing the flavours, these truffles are beautifully packaged in a sturdy card box, each truffle was a unique tasting experience. The truffles are where all those best ingredients are truly put on display, The Passion Fruit and Mango truffle has a red, yellow and orange glaze over white chocolate, and it is an explosion of flavour. While the centre of each truffle varied in texture in the centre, they all had this in common, the use of alcohol beverages in these truffles is great, and unlike some chocolates you can taste the full flavour. The box sampled contained the following:

Smirnoff Vodka & Orange

Passion Fruit & Mango

Madagascan Vanilla

Orange Blossom Honey & Grapefruit

Dark Mint

Mulled Spice

Raspberry

Marc De Champagne

As good as they taste these truffles also look amazing and there is a wide range of flavours. It is stated that the truffles should be eaten within 6 weeks as the flavours start to weaken after this, but to be fair it’s hard to imagine anyone leaving this chocolate around the house for long.

Artisan Chocolate by Saffire have a website for you to order online if you are unable to get to the shop, it’s worth bearing in mind that these are handmade chocolates so probably best to order early especially for special occasions.

For more information on products from Saffire please see: www.saffire.co.uk

My First Blog Post

Norwich Night’s…

Norwich’s new entertainment magazine coming in February 2020 to a screen near you!

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Although Norwich Night’s doesn’t launch until February 2020, The blog is being launched early so I can provide content until then and also so people can get a feel for my writing style and the kind of content the magazine will contain when it is launch, so stay tuned.

I will also be moving the Norwich based content from my other site to here over the coming weeks.