Plan to push the boat out, put your feet up or maybe visit the local castle this Easter

25th March

As Spring finally arrives, Easter is a wonderful opportunity for family time, celebration, feasting, treats and getting together.

It can be a good opportunity to take some time out and time off and treat yourself and your loved ones with a little picnic or a lazy afternoon tea. Or with Herstmonceux Castle opening to the public on 1st April you could take a wonderful walk around the gardens and grounds.

Hermonceux Castle above

Two local delis – Cuculo and the Middle House Kitchen and Deli are great places to stock up on amazing cheese, wine and other treats for the Easter weekend. Alternatively, order some with from a wonderful local vineyard like Off the Line. There is also the wonderful Rushlake Green Village Stores for everything from pastries to locally brewed beer, meat and condiments. Or why not take a trip to Thorpe Gardens in Horam and stock up on plants and seeds so you are ready to rumble – if you are fortunate enough to have a garden.

If you can’t be together in person yet, how about sending some Easter goodies? The Burwash-based team has selected a range of treats for every palate or dietary requirement for you to choose from. By shopping with you won’t just be bringing joy to your loved ones, you will be supporting small artisan producers and family businesses around the country. By the way, shopping and sending gifts will earn you two sets of loyalty points in the same order.

Chocolate and Easter are synonymous. Bristol-based family business Sweet Treats has come up with the perfect gift – an Easter Advent Calendar filled with a selection of luxurious milk, dark and white handmade chocolates with a truffle filling. The selection also includes four Lindt Easter bunnies and the last day, window 12, is filled with a luxury milk chocolate Easter truffle topped with white chocolate and an icing Easter decoration. Unsurprisingly Sweet Treats’ best seller is their handmade, hand-cut and hand-packed Crème Egg Fudge Gift Tin.

If you want to splash out a little more, you could consider the extravagant Luxury Easter Chocolate Gift Hamper. It has a bit of everything and can be customised to suit specific chocolate lovers’ requirements – including vegan dark chocolate – and is presented in a beautiful grey magnetic gift hamper.

Another wonderfully different Easter present is the gorgeous gift box containing eight pieces of award-winning, premium Tadinka Nougat, a pouch of Gold Rush Honeycomb and an adorable box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Tadinka’s nougat is handmade with a soft, chewy vanilla bean centre and crammed with toasted nuts. Each flavour will whisk you away on a nostalgic adventure.

If your loved one is vegan and loves chocolate, look no further than this limited edition Vegan Dark Terre Easter Egg. The maker Wicked and Wonderful Chocolatier uses a single origin fairer than fair trade 65% Madagascan chocolate with hints of cherry in the flavour. Hidden inside of the egg are their Great Taste award-winning sea salt truffles.

For a stunningly beautiful, edible gift that is also vegan the Easter egg creations from the Painted Peacock a perfect choice. The fillings are unusual with a choice of rose, pistachio and cardamom or passionfruit and coconut.

Love cocktails but don’t want the hassle of mixing them? Then try the Bittersweet – a delicious raspberry and rhubarb ready mixed cocktail in a can. Pop some in a coolbag and take to the beach or have a picnic in the park. Bittersweet is made from award-winning copper-pot craft gin, artisan vermouth and citrus bitters, then naturally flavoured with raspberry and rhubarb and topped with a splash of soda water.

If you prefer something interesting to drink which has huge health benefits, try the Cherry Kombucha made by Conwy Kombucha from organic tea grown in the High Mountains of Hunan in China – perfect for all ages and even loved by the maker’s five-year-old daughter.

Snacking has a reputation for being unhealthy as people automatically think about the naughty options. Melted Inside has a good selection of healthy snacks developed by the makers for different dietary requirements and preferences. Easter is a good excuse to push the boat out and order some interesting and healthy snacks that are perfect to nibble on if you are planning a long Bank Holiday walk. From seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables to crackers and crostini you can find an amazing selection on Here are a few suggestions:

Gluten free, lightly salted crostini are thin, crisp, delicious twice-baked, bite-sized bread pieces, perfect for dunking and dipping. They are lovingly made by Davina Steel who started her artisan bakery after craving gluten-free artisan breads that tasted like the baked goods she ate before she became gluten intolerant.

Another maker who entered the artisan food business as a result of her own dietary needs is Alexi, founder of Cru8. She believes that a high-raw, mostly plant-based diet can lead to tremendous health, well-being, and productivity benefits. Her carrot and herby crackers are delicious with any dip or on their own and contain nutrient-dense superfood golden linseed. Golden linseed has many potential health benefits including improving cardiovascular and lung health, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and improving hair, nail and skin quality. These moreish crackers are gluten and dairy free, vegan, keto and paleo.

Producer Raw & Wild is passionate about healthy, balanced and meaningful living and is striving to raise awareness about the medicinal and nutritional qualities of food. You might not have come across pili nuts before. Resembling a teardrop, these nuts fight inflammation, lower cholesterol and have antioxidant properties among other benefits. Try these chilli flavoured ones.

Cheese is always appreciated as a quick snack and this Squeaky Cheese Nabulsi from Yorkshire Dama Cheese won’t last long. It’s the traditional squeaky cheese in the Middle East and is rich, creamy and flavoured with black onion seeds. The ideal partner for this cheese is a rich apple chutney from Little Grandma’s Kitchen which is made with the original 100-year-old family recipe.

Vegans in the family can also enjoy cheese if you order some from Bath Culture House whose clever team produces fabulously fermented vegan and gluten-free food and drink in the Mendip Hills on the outskirts of Bath. This delectable, plant-based selection gift box contains four soft, cultured cheeses that are remarkably tangy, nutritious and simply made.

For a non-chocolatey sweet Easter treat with your coffee or cuppa consider Mini Mamma’s Jamaican Simnel Cake. This artisan bake is wholesome and natural and decorated with toasted marzipan. Made from a family recipe, it is dark, rich and packed with fruit and suitably indulgent for Easter afternoon tea. Artisan cake maker Woolery Forbes creates exquisite treats from family recipes which are over a 100 years old. The ingredients are simple yet of the highest quality; they are transformed into the most delicious treats by loving hands.

No one really wants to be spending too long cooking over Easter. With restaurants still closed, makers of Melted Inside can bring you tasty, restaurant standard food with flavoursome seasonings, sauces and easy-to-cook meals. For instance White’s Gourmet Crunchy Fried Chicken Coating. Their secret formula is a definite winner – hand mixed, bagged up, sealed and delivered to your door. And award-winning RaviOllie has an amazing range of pastas including the vegan friendly butternut and sage version. It’s incredibly tasty and super easy to prepare.

To finish off your Easter weekend meals it has to be cheesecake. Lancashire-based artisan Love Cheesecakes specialises in these irresistible desserts. They will supply you with 12 individual cheesecakes combining old classics and new trends such as tangy fruit and rich, smooth chocolate flavours.

While you relax after eating and let your food go down how about a rum and fig liqueur after dinner. Handmade in Cheshire and presented in a beautiful bottle, it would also make a wonderful Easter gift. If you like fruit liqueurs another option is from Hogg Norton. The makers pride themselves in creating a natural product without any use of additives or preservatives -only pure fruit and sugar goes into every one of their bottles. Or you might fancy a twist on traditional whisky with Wiltshire-made honey whisky which is created with the help of eight million buzzing bees in 130 hives around the maker’s home!

Happy Easter!