On the final day in Yorkshire, the sun finally graced us with its presence, warming up the beautiful countryside as it rose (surprising slowly) for this time of the year!
Eager to make the most of our remaining time here, we wolfed through breakfast and headed straight for the Food Capital of Yorkshire – Malton.
Malton, in a lot of ways, is very reminiscent of Downton Abbey. A lot of the land here was associated with a prominent family which then decided (like Lady Mary) to cleverly make the most of what the local area was already famous for – food.
A lot of the food was winning awards across the country and being shipped to fancy restaurants in London and the like so instead of say, the butcher taking all his stuff down south they set up shop here and the rest, as they say, is history!
Given our relative lack of time, coupled with our propensity to sample anything and everything on offer, we decided to go on a food tour of the town before leaving Yorkshire.
We started off at the Talbot Hotel, meeting our host who’d be showing us around Malton and taking us on a food tour – Tom.
We wasted no time in hitting the (foodie) trail – starting with what every good day should start with – a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
For this, we went to Roost where the owners (who we met) roast and brew all kinds of amazing coffee – it’s like a mini Willy Wonka for coffee (we’re talking coffees with infused with some of your favourite tipples all with different types of roasts I didn’t even know existed before.
Caffeinated, we popped into the butchers (the one at Talbot Yard Food Court – the same place the coffee shop is) who’s one of the friendliest Yorkshire men you’ll ever meet!
Seeing as we wouldn’t be back in London till much later that evening, I didn’t pick up anything at the butcher but did tuck into some amazing Scotch eggs and quite a few of his freshly baked goodies. Speaking of baked, the baker was closed next door (he was due to be our next stop) but he also stopped for a quick hello – another reminder you’re in Yorkshire as this is something we definitely don’t get in London (some of us in London don’t even know our neighbours, let along speak to them).
Next up, we headed into the town for some “stronger stuff” in McMillans of Malton – yup, we’re talking whiskies, gins, brandies and many-a-liquor.
One important produce from Yorkshire is rhubarb so the rhubarb liquor has to be done (we also ‘tasted’ a fair few gins and whiskies – one of the most interesting of which was the Gin Bothy, never heard of it before but definitely a fan of it now).
Perhaps just a tad tipsy 😉, we continued through the town of Malton, stopping off in Kemp for a little potter around (Lloyd cannot resist stores like this – he somehow manages to find something he’s obsessed with in cute stores like this).
We also swung by another butcher in town – Derek Fox; one of the oldest family-owned businesses (I think it’s gone from Grandfather to Uncle to Father to Son and so on and so on…). Alas, there wasn’t anything to sample here though we did get a peek into how the finest cuts of beef are found and prepared.
Leaving the butchers, we carried on to Malton Relish on Market Place, a deli where we would end up in an impromptu cheese tasting session. Apparently, up in Yorkshire, cheese and fruitcake are a great combination (this is not the first time I’ve heard this), so it had to be tried.
Still not fully sold on that cheese-cake combination but definitely sold on every single one of the individual samplings (those mince pies were also pretty good!).
This is the thing with food tours, it starts off with little morsels and you wonder how you could ever be full based on what you think you’ll be eating… then the repeat samples come into play and the more you ‘graze’ from place to place, the more you realise you’re pretty much eating a meal in multiple sizes, plus you can’t wolf it all down so it’s a slightly healthier way to eat – even with all that cheese 😀 (I’d probably have wolfed down a whole slab of them if I’d been left to my own devices 😄 ).
We carried on through town, stopping to say hi at the cookery school which was more of a chance for us to fully see how food is important here than to taste anything as we arrived in between classes.
Next up, we headed over to a micro-brewery called Brass Castle – a place that’s so reminiscent of a Netflix TV series (several actually) where the guy who started it up used to do something different as a career and decides one day to start brewing his own beer.
This new brewery then takes the markets by a storm and wins a fair amount of prestigious brewing awards – so much so that this venture becomes a full-time career, along with the bar/pub that’s opened to sample all the offerings.
They still have the original garage the brewing started in and it’s just such a fun intimate atmosphere here. (Everyone looks like they’re right out of some hipster neighbourhood in East London! It truly is like something out of a TV show – in a very good way).
Suffice to say – some sampling had to be done! 😉
Now undeniably tipsy after trying out the offering at Brass Castle, we popped by a street with a bit of interesting Christmas trivia.
In Malton, there’s a street where a Lawyer (I think he was a lawyer… or maybe an accountant?) used to live. The lawyer/accountant was friends with Charles Dickens – author of A Christmas Carol (amongst other books). If you don’t know A Christmas Carol, you’ll at least know its central character, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Anyway, Charles Dickens used to visit Malton and the home of his friend here is where the home of Ebenezer Scrooge is based on so if you visit – get a local to show you where this is.
We carried on through town, eventually popping right back to where we started, the Talbot Yard Food Court. Here we popped into Florian Poirot (his real name) a French patissier who was hard at work getting all the Christmas treats ready for the holidays! (We got a little sneak peek in the kitchen!)
Typically, I’m not a fan of macarons but with flavours like gin and tonic, my curiosity got the better of me! 😄
We then swung by a spot Tom (our host/guide) had eagerly recommended since we arrived – the ice cream shop; Groovy Moo. We went to town here!
The servings are generous and the flavours are incredible!!! My absolute favourite is the salted caramel – you have to try this when you visit! It’s just soooo good!
Ice cream in hand, we popped by our last stop of the day (we’d started to run a tad late for our train by this point) – Rare Bird Gin distillery.
In this distillery, you can not only get your hands on some pretty fantastic bottles of gin but make your own gin yourself (*unlike whisky, gin doesn’t need to ‘ages’ so it’s pretty much drinking time as soon as you’ve made it).
Alas, there wasn’t any time to make our own gin and with that, we said farewell to Tom and to the pretty little town of Malton and hurriedly made our way back to York to catch our train back to London (train journey takes just 2 hours).
Suffice to say, our few days in Yorkshire left me only want to come back to explore more – especially York which looked gorgeous as we zipped through it. And next time, I definitely plan on making my way through all of my favourite spots in Malton all over again for lunch! Till then, I’ve still got a tiny little bit of rhubarb liquor to relive those fun few days in Yorkshire. 😁