Visting Yorkshire with the GREAT Britain Campaign
A couple of weekends ago I was invited on a very special trip.
You may already be familiar with the GREAT Britain Campaign, the Government's international promotional campaign which launched in 2012 that aims to showcase the very best of what Great Britain has to offer the world and to encourage people to visit, do business with, to invest and study in the UK. To date, the campaign has already managed to secure economic returns of £2.7bn for the UK - a very impressive response to the campaign I think you'll agree.
The GREAT Britain Campaign has had huge support from the creative industries, with partnerships from the likes of Aston Martin to Burberry and Ambassadors including the British Film Institute, Victoria Beckham and Gordon Ramsey. The idea is simple: encourage people around the world to think and feel differently about the UK. After all, we do many things rather exceedingly well.
And so, to my trip.
On behalf of the Food is GREAT campaign - the initiative to promote British food and drink at home and overseas - I was invited to Yorkshire (my home county no less!) to sample the culinary delights and local produce. Along with Michelle and Jess, we made our way from King's Cross to York and then hopped in our cars to Malton, a small market town in North Yorkshire dubbed the county's Food Capital (by none other than Antonio Carluccio).
Our home for the next two nights and the place where we ate a lot, a lot, of food.
Find our more about the GREAT Britain campaign here: www.greatbritaincampaign.com
W H E R E W E S T A Y E D
Our lodging for the weekend was The Old Lodge, a 17th century Tudor mansion set within acres of beautifully tranquil grounds. We were greeted with the most delicious of goodie bags from the Welcome to Yorkshire team and had a short time to wander the grounds which really are the hotel's selling points. Rooms are spacious, beds are divinely comfy and staff are typically Yorkshire-friendly (that's super friendly and warm in case you're wondering!). The most wonderful and welcoming hosts for our weekend jaunt.
M A L T O N C O O K E R Y S C H O O L
The Saturday was our one full-day in Yorkshire, and boy was it an action-packed (so much so there may have been a nap involved for me!) one. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...
Our morning began with some hard labour at the Malton Cookery School who made us work for our breakfast.
The School, located in the heart of Malton, is housed within an old chapel and is a homely kitchen where you learn how to cook with the best of Yorkshire produce.
We were given a quick breakfast masterclass by Gilly, learning to make the most delicious smoked haddock, poached egg and potato curry which we promptly wolfed down!
Who knew I was such a great cook?
V I S I T I N G C A S T L E H O W A R D
After breakfast, we had some spare time before our afternoon activities and so, we drove with the group to nearby Castle Howard, a stunning 18th century stately home and gardens set within 1,000 acres of grounds.
Home to lakes, fountains, temples, woodland, walled gardens, adventure playground, cafes, shops and a garden centre, there's more to do and longer to spend at Castle Howard than we had to give. Maybe a repeat visit is needed?
F O O D T O U R A R O U N D M A L T O N
It wasn't long before we were driving back to Malton, in eager anticipation for our afternoon activity. It had been arranged for us to have a food tour around the town. For a small town, it surprisingly has a lot of foodie goings-on. Our host was the delightful and ever so lovely, Tom Naylor-Leyland, passionate about Malton and on a mission to make the town quite the foodie destination. How’s he doing so far? Pretty darn well, I’d say.
We began our afternoon in the Talbot Yard Food Court with promises of plenty of food & drink to stuff ourselves silly. All were equally delighted at this prospect and welcomed the challenge with open arms.
Shall we get started? There's a lot to get through!
B L U E B I R D B A K E R Y
We began where it all began for Bluebird Bakery: in their shop attached to the actual bakery which started this little company. Bread is made fresh from the ovens and once it’s gone, it’s gone. The Saturday morning crowd had left the shelves quite depleted but luckily for us, the bakery had saved us some nibbles to get us started. From the chickpea and spinach pastry to the brownie to the lemon cake, everything was absolutely delicious that we tasted. My only wish was that there was more to eat our way through but then I was quickly reminded this was stop one of many so probably pacing ourselves was a good thing.
M C M I L L A N ' S O F M A L T O N
Third on our stop was McMillan’s of Malton.
A specialist gin, whiskey and general boozy emporium, this is one for the spirited folk run by a kilt wearing, friendly fellow, James McMillan.
He treated us to some of his favourite tipples, showcasing the best of British and talked passionately about some of his favourite up and coming producers whilst we sipped away on rhubarb gin. If we hadn't needed to be getting on our way, I think a few of the group could have happily stayed all afternoon here!
Y O B A K E H O U S E
Soaking up the booze, we hopped across the road to Yo Bakehouse, an artisan bakery and coffee shop serving up some fine sweet treats (and savoury too!).
We nibbled on some homemade scones and tarts, eyed up the choux and before we knew it, had to say our goodbyes and head on our way - told you there was a lot to get through!
C O S T E L L O S B A K E R Y
A quick pit stop along the way had us swinging by Costellos bakery, a family run business which takes rolls, pies and baking very seriously. Their famous steak pie has won awards so naturally the group had to order a few of these to try! Confession: this was my first ever pie - of any form - and I have to say, it was truly rather delicious!
M A L T O N R E L I S H - B R A S S C A S T L E B R E W E R Y - T A L B O T H O T E L - G R O O V Y M O O
The final stops on the foodie tour included stopping off for some nibbles of cheese at deli and cafe, Malton Relish, a quick sip or two at Brass Castle Brewery, one of the UK’s leading micro-breweries (which has several award-winning beers to its name), a tasty treat at Talbot Hotel and finally, a great big cone of gelato at Groovy Moo. A Yorkshire institution that’s been known to have queues in February - never to be missed when in Malton.
Tour complete, there was only one thing left...