I have to confess, I’m an Autumn person. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the sunshine this summer; it’s been amazing to actually have a summer this year. But the hazy sunshine, darker evenings and abundance of produce make this one of my favourite times of the year. Last night on our visit to Mistley, just to the East of Manningtree on the Stour Estuary, you could definitely feel the change in the seasons. It was a beautiful evening after a scorcher of a day, so on our way there, we took the scenic route and enjoyed great views across the river with the sun low in the sky, and the occasional tractor in the dusty fields putting the finishing touches to the harvest.
I’ve been wanting to visit the Mistley Thorn (@TheMistleyThorn) for a long time, and our excuse was their Thursday evening ‘Moules Madness‘ event. Mussels are a regular fixture on the Thorn’s menu, but on a Thursday, you can enjoy moules-frites, with a choice of sauces, homemade bread, and a drink for £10.95… bargain! The food was also excellent, as were the surroundings – the woodburner in the background of the photo below just waiting to be lit on the cooler evenings to come.
The restaurant champions local and seasonal produce (for example, the mussels are provided by Simpers of Suffolk and come from the Deben Estuary, close to Woodbridge), and is run by Sherri Singleton, who we were fortunate enough to meet. As well as being the executive chef at the Thorn, Sherri offers cookery lessons and workshops at the Mistley Kitchen and runs Lucca Enoteca, an Italian restaurant in nearby Manningtree.
I also wanted go give a mention to another shellfish event in the area; the Colchester Oyster Festival, is happening tomorrow (7th September) in Castle Park in Colchester and marks the beginning of the oyster season. This will be the first time we’ve been to the Festival, but it promises to be a great event. The oysters are being brought up the River Colne in a Roman boat and there’ll be loads of food stalls, Roman themed activities, as well as the Great British Pie Eating Competition. The festival is on from 10.30am – 5pm.