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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

The Whole Foods of North Norfolk (but better) - Fig & Olive, Cromer

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

I’ve been on a huge journey with food. Growing up, my parents weren’t really into cooking. Everything was functional. I knew nothing but meat, veg and carbs on a plate. No fancy dressings and sauces, no beautifully subtle and complex flavours dancing in your mouth. Food was just something you ate because you needed to.

When I moved to London, my eyes (and taste buds) were opened. The diverse range of cuisines, the way different ingredients complimented each other to create flavours that left imprints in my brain and left me craving more. More mouthfuls, so many more mouthfuls, but more than anything, more knowledge.

I started playing around with cooking. Simple things at first. Exploring what I was good at, what was possible and more than anything, what my taste was. What I quickly realised was that the food I ate all had an impact on how I felt, how much energy I had, how much sleep I was getting, how good my mental health was. It was then that I started to explore a healthier more flexitarian diet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely plant based or vegan. I love the occasional cheese platter, charcuterie board, fresh seafood and every now and again, a big Sunday roast with loads of gravy. But nutritious, organic, plant based food I know gives me more energy, better sleep and those things together hugely positively impact my mental health.

In London, being flexitarian in a really tasty way was so so accessible. There were healthy delis on every corner (or a Whole Foods) and whether it was picking up a quick bite to eat for lunch or doing a shop to pick up ingredients for cooking at home, I never struggled for choice.

When we moved to Norfolk, that definitely became more of a challenge. In Norwich, there’s so much on offer. But Norwich is a 40 minute drive away for me. We live in a really small village right on the North Norfolk Coast. Eating out, there’s definitely a good choice but when it came to finding a local independent shop that offered me all of that, I genuinely thought I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Then I found Fig & Olive and it’s now my sanctuary. The most beautiful independent shop in the centre of Cromer that shares the space with a surf shop (I mean, how cool is that?). Walking around, it feels like being “home”. Shelves and shelves of beautiful, unique, cupboard ingredients that any foodie would marvel at. Think rose harissa, tahini, miso paste. Everything you need to make healthy yet delicious sauces and dressings. There’s a huge free-from range and refill stations so you can replenish your cupboards with nuts, oats and seeds; all plastic free. Healthy treats galore. I mean, the range is even better than a huge Whole Foods store. Then there’s the fridges and deli counter with the most incredible selection of cheeses, Italian meats, olives and dips (most of which are locally sourced). There’s fresh pastry type ‘turnovers’ with incredible, flavoursome fillings; all locally made. Cakes, coffee and independently run alcohol brands. Oooh, and it's dog friendly!

I’m in Fig & Olive at least once a week (if I checked my bank statement it’s actually probably more like 3 times a week but don’t tell my husband) and I’m still finding things in there that I’ve never tried or never knew they stocked. It’s like a smorgasbord of literally everything I love and whenever I’m in there, I become like a kid in a sweet shop.

I nip in during the week for a coffee and sit in the window with my laptop, doing some work looking out at Cromer’s beautiful church and watching the world go by. I meet friends there for lunch and sit at one of the outside tables drinking kombucha and devour the plant based ‘turnovers’. My husband and I nip in on a weekend and pick up the Italian meats, cheeses, crackers, hummus and lentil crisps for evenings where we can’t be bothered to cook and are craving a ‘treat’. And I nip in when after doing our weekly shop at the supermarket, I realise we can’t actually get half the ingredients we need in the ‘traditional’ supermarkets and desperately need to restock my cupboards by visiting Fig & Olive.

It’s a foodies dream. If you want to be healthy, plant based or free from, Fig & Olive is your place. If you want to try different flavours and play around with new recipes, Fig & Olive is your place. If you want quality cheese and Italian meat, Fig & Olive is your place. Even if you just want a decent cup of coffee, a comfy seat and a cake, you guessed it, Fig & Olive is your place.

I know it sounds like it from how much I’m gushing about them, but I’m actually not being paid for this blog; I just genuinely absolutely love them. Fig & Olive fill a huge gap in the market in Norfolk Norfolk and not only that, but they execute it so so well. If you’re a foodie and haven’t been to Fig & Olive yet, trust me, you absolutely need to.

Fig & Olive

39 Church St, Cromer NR27 9HH

Tel: 01263 511219

Instagram: @figandolivecromer



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