Yorkshire might have a “flat caps and whippets” reputation. Equally, it may be well known for its famed sportsmen and women (Coe, Boycott, Ennis et al) and its certainly known for its dialects. But the county’s reputation for fine food and wonderful produce is not so well known. Holidaymakers, even when staying in a cottage in yorkshire, dont survive on fresh air, and still have to find or cook their meals. So if your on holiday in Yorkshore what can you expect, where can you find it and whats the local specialities?
For me, going on a luxury cottage holiday is all about the food, and Yorkshire folk are very seriously into their food. It’s only natural given that so much incredible local produce is in abundance here. However, it might surprise you to know that Yorkshire now boasts the largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants than any other UK county. So it isn’t just the humble Yorkshire pudding and gravy which hits the mark here (although it really does), there is fine dining everywhere you look.
From the amazing Frances Atkins at the Yorke Arms and the classic Burlington in the Devonshire Arms to the gorgeous Black Swan at Oldstead, Yorkshire’s latest Michelin-starred new kid on the block. All of these restaurants and gastro pubs up North are holding their own against their better known London counterparts. And there are plenty more besides contending for those elusive stars. Van Zellers in Harrogate, a personal favourite and an absolute delight, is surely the next…
From fine-dining to fine everything! Yorkshire’s army of quintessentially English tea-rooms could keep the jaded traveller satisfied for years. There are of course too many to mention, but to cherry pick just some of the stars of the show…
Betty’s Tea rooms, that wonderful Swiss-Yorkshire institution all tea-rooms worth their salt aspire to. Dating back to the early 1900s, Bettys has been serving up cream teas and all things fancy for more than a century. Yes its touristy, yes there are usually queues, yes it’s more expensive than your average cafe, but it is worth it! There are two cafes in York, one in central Harrogate, another at the RHS Carlow Harr Gardens and two further cafes in Ilkley and Northallerton. If you haven’t been, go. Trust me. And order a Fat Rascal and pot of coffee; its great value for money and will stick to your ribs till supper time.
The Black Swan Tea-rooms in Helmsley; if Carlsberg did tea-rooms! Think pristine white table cloths, warm wooden floors, creamy oak panelling, duck-egg blue walls and a beautiful Pattiserie nestling in the corner. The sandwiches here are excellent, as is the service. The classic cream tea is particularly good. I’m also a huge fan of Marie Antoinette’s in Whitby, the Gallery & Jazz Cafe in Grosmont and the magical Boathouse Cafe at Castle Howard. If in York, try Cafe Concerto in the shadow of the Minster. What is certain is that as everyone knows, your average yorkshireman demands value, so a cafe thats more than a year old must either deliver exceptional quality and/or exceptional value!
Doggy bag please
The really nice thing about choosing one of our luxury cottages in Yorkshire is that you can take so much of our lovely food back home with you. There are some pretty amazing on the pulse delis around showcasing Yorkshire produce, like the fantastic farm shop at Castle Howard and Weeton’s deli in Harrogate.
If cheese is your thing, a spot of Wensleydale is a must. You’ll find it for sale in most delis and supermarkets as well as on the cheeseboard of most restaurants, but if you want to get up close and personal you can visit the creamery in Hawes where it’s made. And don’t forget about the lesser known but equally delicious Swaledale cheese, made for centuries in the beautiful northern Dales.
More modern additions to the cheese board have been developed by Shepherds Purse who won the national blue cheese award on a couple of occassions. There are also new cheeses being developed in Harrogate and up in the Dales. Look out for specialist cheese shops in the towns and villages and demand “Yorkshire”. You will be surprised!
Back home, reminisce about your wonderful holiday over a few bottles of Yorkshire real ale or locally produced wine. The sleepy Dales town of Masham is home to one of the most loved beers in the North: Black Sheep. If you prefer a Pinot to a pint, there are 5 vineyards in Yorkshire; in Ryedale, Holmfirth and Leventhorpe. All can be visited. Or pop along to Yorkshire Country Wines in Pateley Bridge. This family run business have been bottling traditionally made wine for years using local fruits and flowers like gooseberries and Elderflower.
Just make sure you leave enough room in the car to pack it all.