I can map this city in layers. The food eaten; the shops and cafes I’ve loitered in; the people I’ve loved; the otherwise mundane benches and phone boxes that have been the scenes of important conversations and epiphanies. I could tell you about bickering with a now-absent friend over whitebait in a family-run Italian before I even moved here. I could sit you down in the pub where my heart burst with love for my mother. I could give you a run-down of what the bridges have meant to me, and recant tales from the very different new years eves I’ve celebrated. The Soho tattoo parlour where I got books inked into me. The train stations that have led me to new adventures. I could show you the city that shaped my life as I grew from a fresh-out-of-uni innocent moving to the big city to hopefully a more fully-formed woman, with a pair of santoku knives I refer to as “my babies” and more than a handful of stories to tell. Continue reading
“Someone describe gelato to me, in layman’s terms, without saying the words ‘ice cream’, and I shall begrudgingly repent.”
The middle of the day; the middle of an honest-to-god argument about frozen desserts via WhatsApp, the friendship group split as battle raged between gelato fans and gelato, well, deniers. Continue reading
wish I could tell you when it happened, but it seemed to occur all of a sudden. One month, nothing, and the next: a whole new city to discover.
Norwich, dear sweet little Norwich, got…cool.
Somewhere between then and now, grotty little shop fronts gave way to swanky barbers and coffee shops, and people started talking about where’s good for brunch. All the boys grew beards and got undercuts. Food started being served on slates and wooden boards. Pockets of the city became like London, full of independents and entrepreneurship, but without the tourists and grime.
But it’s not the first time Norwich has had excellent food. Continue reading
orwich, my darling hometown, is a weird and beautiful little jigsaw of terrible 1960s architecture and hidden cobbled streets, of modern malls just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a cathedral and a castle. It’s cute independents and funny accents and surprises at every turn. It’s not really home anymore, but it’s still a sanctuary, only two hours and yet a whole world away from London. And next month, it’s going to be even better, as it hosts a chocolate festival.
It’s easy to miss the hints these days, now that Norwich is known more for mustard and popping in and out of the Premier League, but for 100 years Norwich produced chocolate which rivalled Swiss products and was sent to British troops on the frontline during the First World War. The first Rolos, Munchies, and Caramacs even dropped off the belts at the Chapelfield factory, which changed hands from Caley’s, to The African and Eastern Trade Corporation, then to John Mackintosh & Sons, and finally to Nestle, in the 1980s.
Caley’s is still going to this day, 158 years after Albert Jarman Caley opened a chemist’s business in London Street, but for two days the city will also play host to chocolatiers from across the UK and the world, championing not just quality but also Fairtrade, vegan, and free-from treats. Continue reading