Chances are that unless you’ve either been before or are from Yorkshire, you probably haven’t heard of the town of Beverley, in East Yorkshire.
Beverley is known for a few things: its market that takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, its 13th Century Minster, pretty Gothic streets and its racecourse. It’s also known for its historic centre – there’s been a settlement here in the East Riding of Yorkshire since the 7th century!
The town was originally founded around 700 AD by Saint John of Beverley, was under Viking rule for a while, and at one point was a major wool-trading port in the UK. Today, tourism makes up a large part of the town’s economy. And a recent visit made me understand why as I went in search of foodie places!!
A chance to taste just a little bit of France was my first stop when I discovered Tc Patisserie, in a little side street called Lairgate. It is run by Thierry who trained as a patisserie chef in one of the classic French cooking academies and then worked in restaurants across France (and even had a spell as a chef in the French Army during National Service) before moving to Beverley nine years ago to marry wife, Nicky.
At midnight pastry chef Thierry Condette will begin work. He unlocks the front door of his business, Tc Patisserie, makes himself a coffee while he waits patiently for his two ovens to warm.
Then, for the next eight hours, he will produce between 100 and 200 fresh croissants, filled with anything from smoked salmon and asparagus to bacon and cheese and including cherry tomato, pesto and mushroom and feta cheese with tomato and basil leaves along the way.
His equally “yummy” cakes are also much in demand . . .
Strolling around Beverley is like going back in time to a delightful country market town that was once noted as the best place to live in England, complete with cream phone boxes!
And then I came across The Bread Shed, down another small side street called Ladygate.
Here I met Liz Parkin the owner of this little gem of a bread shop. She makes bread Tuesday to Saturday on the premises, no pre-mixes, concentrates, pastes or preservatives here. Liz Parkin tweets her bread specials, baked daily: cheese and chilli, maybe, or spelt-and-raisin bread; sticky Chelsea buns and freshly baked teacakes? Yes, please.
The real reason for my visit to East Yorkshire was to meet up with Jessica at her family organic farm, Carr House Farm, tucked away in the Wolds (David Hockney country!). Their decision to convert all 190 hectares to organic production 10 years ago was borne out of a desire to produce tasty, wholesome and natural food.
At the Side Oven Bakery (the ovens are actually built onto the side of a barn, hence the name!), they bake bread and make muesli using cereals grown at Carr House Farm using traditional crop rotation methods and also produce juices and cordials from apples, elderflowers and soft fruits that they grow in their three-hectare orchard.
It was fascinating to see the flour mills, and see how their home grown wheat is ground between two stones in the mill. And did you know the expression ‘fair to middling’ comes from the classification term for flour that is ground not too fine and not too coarse…somewhere in the middle!!
So I came home with a bag of flour and looked what I baked this week?
And a bottle of elderflower cordial…
And a bag of handmade honey toasted muesli for breakfast.
Jessica’s Mum runs bread making courses on site, so you can choose from learning how to work with this special flour – Working with Spelt, or Breads for all Occasions or to Comfort Breads for Winter Warmth.
Coming up on Saturday July 22nd is a Blackcurrant PYO Open Day with a Breakfast Club to taste freshly baked organic goods and have a first sample of a new granola with no added gluten.
So what else does East Yorkshire have to offer?
From the cosmopolitan 2017 UK City of Culture Hull, to the undulating hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Wolds, East Yorkshire is wonderfully eclectic. At its heart lies a serene landscape of swirling grasslands, medieval towns, manor houses and Bronze Age ruins that remains refreshingly unchanged. Yet travel further North and the vibrant energy and heritage of the Humber rushes to greet you.
Life in the Wolds is luxuriously slow. From the unhurried Elizabethan elegance of Burton Agnes and Burton Constable, to the simple pleasures of historic Howden, Hedon and Pocklington, this relaxing region makes it easy to unwind. Or take in Driffield, and the peaceful riverhead.
My sort of place where the pressures of modern life could quickly drift away!