Iconic Yorkshire Produce
Yorkshire is home to a sumptuous selection of produce that has gained international recognition. Read on to see how Yorkshire's produce has really put it on the map for foodie's all over the globe.
Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford form the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle which is the heart of the British rhubarb industry. The Yorkshire weather and nitrogen rich soil creates the perfect conditions for growing this unique pink fruit. Farmers in this area have perfected the art of producing the tender and sweet version of forced rhubarb that has won a global fan base.
Would a roast dinner be complete without a Yorkshire Pudding? We don’t think so! This simple recipe mainly consisting of milk, flour and eggs has become a national treasure. It was originally served as a first course to temper the appetite of family members and make the meat of the main course go further. Today it is used throughout the county and beyond and even has its own national day.
Historically, Yorkshire was home to a vast fishing industry. Large fleets of commercial fishing vessels from Hull to Whitby dominated the coastline fishing for cod and whitefish. In recent years, those fleets have been replaced with lightweight catamarans and keel boats designed for hauling and shooting pots. The most common catches are now brown (edible) crab, European lobster, velvet crabs, whelks and scallops. Over 3,000 tonnes of shellfish are landed into the main ports at Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby each year. A large percentage of catch is exported abroad and end up on tables in Europe and occasionally as far away as China and Korea.
The world’s best Ale comes from Yorkshire! Yes, we know we’re biased but the rest of the World tends to agree. Ale brewing in Yorkshire dates back to the 19th Century in the Wensleydale village of Masham where Theakston was first brewed then subsequently Black Sheep. Tetley's, Samuel Smith, and John Smith are also Yorkshire-based global real-ale brands and champions of traditional cask-conditioned beer.
York Chocolate Story
While other northern areas traded in wool, cotton and steel, York went its own sweet way and built a city from chocolate. Ideally positioned on the river Ouse where cocoa beans could be brought in York became the home of two confectionary giants Rowntree and Terry’s. It is even suggested that at one point, a quarter of York’s population were involved in the chocolate industry. Unfortunately, the production of York’s sweet treats melted away but today their strong chocolate heritage is present within the city with boutique producers, traditional chocolatiers, a chocolate museum and even a Chocolate Hotel.
The liquorice plant was brought to the town of Pontefract from the Mediterranean, courtesy of the Dominican Monks in the early 16th century, when they settled close to Pontefract Castle. The production of liquorice products continues in Pontefract, the most well know being Pontefract Cakes. The round, sweet, lozenges were invented in the town by chemist George Dunhill in the 18th century.
Parkin is an age-old treat, a sort of sticky ginger cake featuring oats and black treacle. This delightfully sticky, chewy cake improves with time so traditionally, people made 2 batches, one to eat as soon as its baked, the other to eat a few days later. This comforting delicacy is usually eaten on 5th November celebrating the great failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. (Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshireman.) but we think it’s a treat to be had all year round.
Yorkshire is crackers about cheese. Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese has been handcrafted in Wensleydale in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales since 1150, when Cistercian monks first brought their skills and recipes to the area. The delicious iconic cheese is now protected with European Food Names status and is the only Wensleydale cheese made in Wensleydale. For food lovers the world over, Wensleydale Creamery in quaint village of Hawes needs to be visited at least once in a lifetime.
With a strong history of food produce its no surprise that Yorkshire is also home to some of the nation’s favourite global food brands:
Yes, we know it’s not actually grown here! Unfortunately, tea leaves favour a warmer climate than the sometimes-questionable weather we have here in Gods own County. So how can it be called Yorkshire tea? Well the blend (the mixture of leaves) was first produced and sold in kiosks in Harrogate and Ilkley by Yorkshireman Charles Edward Taylor in 1883. Together with his brother they formed Taylors which in 1962 was bought by local tea room competitor 'Betty's'. The renamed Bettys and Taylors Group is still owned by the family of Fredrick Belmont, who founded 'Betty's Tea Rooms' in Harrogate.
Thought to be one of the first to ever manufacture crinkle cut crisps Seabrook has been producing crisps from Bradford since 1945. Charles Brook ran a fish and chip shop and one day started using the leftover fat to fry crisps. The locals loved them, so Charles and his son invested in some vans and began selling the crisps to pubs and local shops. Today Seabrook crisps produces more than 250 million bags of crisps a year, which are enjoyed by consumers worldwide. The love for these unique crinkle cut crisps is still undisputed, it’s even rumoured that their complaints line used to be bombarded with delighted customers complimenting the company on making such tasty flavoursome crisps.
Why is Harrogate Water so special, well when the springs were discovered in Harrogate in the 16th century their medicinal properties were so widespread that Queen Elizabeth I’s physician recommended the town be christened ‘The English Spa’. Wealthy visitors travelled to ‘take the mineral rich waters’ and Harrogate became a popular health destination. The water was first bottled in 1740 making it Britain’s oldest bottled water. Today, Harrogate Water is one of the UK’s largest independent, family-owned producers of naturally sourced bottled water. The company continues a rich heritage, one that has shaped and continues to shape the original British spa town.