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  • Camille

A 'Food Tour' at the Knavesmire; Eating my way 'round York's First Taste Trade Event

You all know I guide food tours around York.

More or less, 3 - 4 times per week, I take you who decided 'eating your way around York' sounded like a good idea around some of my favourite spots in the city, all at your own risk... You might eat too much, you might taste things you never had before, you might meet the best people in the world. I love it. Love the food, love the people.

There are those times though where I want something different, new flavours to kick about, new people to chat with. It’s always interesting (and astonishing) to find out each and every one of these ‘foodiepreneurs’ stories.

So when Ben from York on a Fork (check out the recent blog he wrote about our Hidden Gems Food Crawl of York) asked whether I was headed to the racecourse for the Taste Trade Event, my response must have been something like: “uhhhh… yes!!”

So I went and so I ate and so I met with many more of the people doing pretty cool (sometimes crazy) stuff with food. Let’s have a quick look around.

Sauces in a jar? Seen that, had loads, not a fan. That’s more or less the mindset I approached Julian with on my first stop of the day. We got chatting. 54 calories in a serving. ‘54 calories?!?” I thought, “You’ll need a LOAD of pasta to make a meal of that!”. Julian’s a great chap with a big broad smile. Until 2016 came ‘round the corner, he was busy engineering while his wife was teaching. Now? They’re both cooking.

Anyways. Still dubious about the sauces I was so Julian pulled a jar from behind a pile of boxes, handed me a spoon and invited me to try. Doubt vanished. The stuff was edible. No, more than that it was good! I could even probably get away with heating it up and serving it to friends one evening along with a bottle of wine.

“Wow, Camille, Lovely sauce...You made that?” “Well....." Thank you Julian!

Definitely a sauce worth screaming about. Because of the spice? Yes. Neil’s sauces are not for the faint of heart. Really though, they’re worth screaming about for the work done by Mr and Mrs Chimp to bring a pretty ‘hot’ (couldn’t avoid the pun) collection of sauces to the table. Each hails straight from Mr and Mrs Chimp’s Durham’s home kitchen. From the blending to the packaging, everything about this product is a labor of love. Find them online or at different food events running across the country but do try out a few of their recipes. P.S. The mango & Papaya sauce won a Great Taste Award in 2017… Not too spicy, I definitely recommend that one if you’re looking for a safe bet!

‘Outrageously good’ is the tagline Jane chose for her (intriguing) brand serving up superfood instant drinks. The whole thing started with Jane experimenting with recipes to create the instant hot chocolate which was to become a raging success. Fast forward a few years and you find her now with a range of dairy-free powders which, once water added to the mix, transform into superfood drinks which may just bring you instagram fame. Tadaaa! TIopted for the reishi chai latte. What’s reishi, you ask? That’s exactly what I wondered and it’s only once I finished my drink that Jane told me all about reishi, a mushroom with multiple beneficial properties. Relaxation, stress-relief, digestion (?)... Not bad for a ‘shroomy drink!

I am always sceptic about dairy-free ice cream. (I know, I know… Is there anything you’re not skeptic about, you ask? Well, maybe not but at least I often admit I was wrong…) Anyhow. From all I know, ice-cream is made of milk. No. Ice cream is made of cream. Lots of it. Full-fat. That’s ice-cream.

Then I met Jollyum; Non-Dairy Indulgence. It turns out Andrew and Morn are in their fourth year of dairy-free ice cream making and their ice cream is… Gorgeous. No, it may not be that creamy, full-fat and carb-full gelato I adore but Jollyum ice cream is lush. Packed full of flavour and made with soy milk, the passion-fruit + chocolate sample I got was fresh, light and left me wanting more. And more still.

IWe all love a good 'cuppa. But what about one of olive tea!? This is what Olitia proposes. Back in Rajhastani India where olive trees were widely planted after local tea plantations suffered severe damage, master teamakers experimented with the olive leaves to process the only olive tea available in the UK.

Apparently, extracts from the olive tree leaf have the most health benefits. “If Yoga were a tea, then Olitia would be it.” states the company confidently. In all honesty, I didn’t get to taste much of this intriguing tea. The stop immediately before had me trying 4 different curries… My tastebuds were gone and very little did I get out of this ‘modern-day elixir’. I will try again though… If only for the innovation of sipping on an Indian Olive Tea.

Brownies. What more do I need to say? Brownies. Want more, need more, now! Luckily enough (though the scales might disagree with this), the newly opened The Coffee Bureau on Micklegate stocks these beauties and they even have a whole set of desks + workspaces available for hire in the back. Jane, Lucy, thank you for these treats.

I have a soft spot for the salted caramel brownie though I will happily munch on the shortbread millionaire, the traditional brownie and their lush + delicious vegan edition! Ok. I love them all.

Someone says Pie and I come running. Poor Ben (York on a Fork, check him out) had to stand waiting what seemed ages with me for a slice of these. They did look gorgeous and they tasted the same. The pastry was short as I like and the pies were filled with hefty chunks of meat, just as they should. We tried a traditional pie and then a Pulled-Pork Barbecue one which was super sweet (wasn’t surprised to hear it was favourited by most children). Note must be said about the bakery’s vegan gluten-free pie (made especially in a gluten-free kitchen) and what the pastry lacked in shortness (though Matt assured us new trials were much flakier) was compensated by a nice nutty, wholesome flavour. I’d love to see smaller versions of these (vegan or not) at my local pub(s)…

Spice pastes with a difference, perfect for a multitude of uses. At this point in the ‘tour’ I was pretty ‘fooded-out’ so I’m afraid what I say now will not do justice to the care with which the couple have created their blends. I did go home however with a little tub of the Green & Mild Ajika with which I will be experimenting in the kitchen… Stay tuned!

I remember the days my grandmother force-fed my sister and I salads of dandelion leaves. ‘It’s good for you!’ she would say. Yes, granny, but tell me what have an 8 and 6 year old to do with bitter-tasting leaves....? I still wonder.

So when I came accross The Roship's dandelion syrup, the child in me squirmed while the intrepid foodie I sometimes try to be decided a taste was a must. It was sweet. Super sweet actually and definitely nothing like my memories of the dreaded green stuff of my childhood. It was good and I can see myself trickling a spoonful or two in a cup of hot water or even, heaven forbids, a good ‘cuppa tea!

I was born from parents who dreamed about having their very own herb farm. You know it by now, secret revealed, I was born in a bit of a hippy family. They would have called the farm La Cabrerise in memory of some happy (child-less) days of theirs spent in Southern France keeping sheep. It was a beautiful dream.

The farm remained a dream but I have from my parents kept a love for all things green, especially those richly scented and flavourful. Just by mentioning the fields of herbs they have at the Herbs Unlimited ‘farm’, Ruby had me dreaming and wishing spring was already here so I could pay them a visit.

It so happens they do organise events for groups so let me know whether you’d like to tag along and I think we can just about put together a little something for you!

A few other bites worthy of note

Because there just is not enough words for all the food....

Aagrar (cooking sauces from the renowned brand), The Cute Little Drinks Van (a cute little van travelling cross-country, driven by Paul, selling coffee and available for hire), Gemini Chocolate (Raw bean-to-bar chocolate handmade in York by Samuel) and The Sugar Therapy Family (because why not, we all need a sugar therapy from time to time).

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