Christmas is knocking at the door (or so we are told) and presents are begging to be bought. Christmas carols have started a-ringing in the supermarket where special Holiday Offers on Baileys and other such festive liqueurs have you stocking up on - let’s face it - a few more bottles than you should. Snowflakes and drawings of cute little Christmas mascots dress up shop windows, A-board signs on the streets, giant signs and posters plastered more or less wherever will meet the eye.
All scream out:
"oh how happy we could make your Christmas be if only really if only you booked that Christmas Meal or got that Christmas Cake but wait what about the other one over there, isn’t that one better and oh, gin, I need some gin, but the choice, goodness the choice and port, we need port, I saw an offer there but here’s another there and what about that event we were supposed to go to and the holiday dress and presents for the kids and gosh I wonder what my 14 year old niece would like I barely know her a few times a year money no money is boring but what oh here what’s this this ad tells me I’ll make her year with this ---- hmmm maybe not oh look at this buy 2 get 1 free I could use that I never get them otherwise and what about oh but present for my niece and my sister what about my sister oh no she’s so picky what to get her…."
And so on and so forth. I love Christmas, but really, it can get a little exhausting, especially when Christmas falls on us paf in the middle of November. Especially when it bombards from all sides with everyone and everything shouting out just how amazing our Christmas could be if only…. If only.
But hey, enough with playing the part of the Grinch.
So here’s a list of what I think to make up some of the best ‘foodie’ experiences in York. They make splendid gifts for the food-obsessed but really, they can be enjoyed at any time where a break from daily life is needed and a delicious escape becomes pressing. They are best enjoyed with friends of family (though most will get you meeting other like-minded foodies) around a table full of love and glasses filled with content.
I hope these help dispel a bit of the Holiday madness or at least, inspire you to take a moment in enjoying food, drinks and good company.
*** Please do note these are not organized according to any particular order.
Have any other great present ideas for Foodies? Please share in the comment section... I'm only just starting to build my own wishlist! ;-)
Cheese by Love Cheese
With a wide selection of cheeses hailing from all parts of the country and some of the best in Europe, Love Cheese is the go-to shop in York for the cheese aficionado. Love Cheese’s Hampers will deliver a selection of beautiful cheeses which will make for a well-curated cheeseboard. The Cheese Making Kits offer a great start to cheesemaking and definitely help unlock an otherwise seemingly hermetic world. Finally, if it’s something a bit more social, lively and a tiny bit more boozy you’re after, the Port + Cheese Charity Pairing Evening happening on the 12th will have you sorted. The name speaks for itself.
Gin + Whiskey with Cooper King Distillery
Gin is all the rage these days so there’s no way I could leave out Cooper King Distillery, located just 10 miles out of York. While the distillery has not yet launched any product on the market, purchasing a Founder’s Club membership will entitle its name holder to pretty great advantages including (but not limited to) pre-release spirits and tours of the distillery. Spots are limited!!
Dinner at Grays Court 'The Bow Room'
Tucked away and out of sight behind the Minster and at the back of the Treasurer’s House is Grays Court Hotel, one of my favourite building in York. Family-owned and family-run, Grays Court is both elegant, refined but also warm, welcoming and definitely a treat to visit. Newly-opened and starring chef Sam Wilson, The Bow Room, the Hotel’s New Restaurant, offers a menu definitely suited to great occasions.
Chocolate at York Cocoa House
Well, this one is easy… Who doesn’t love Chocolate? The York Cocoa House is my top pick when looking for a place to indulge in rich chocolatey decadence. Their hot chocolate selection is extensive and sinfully divine (think thick, unctuous, melted chocolate in a mug) and I have a real soft spot for their Goat Cheese + Cocoa Nib Scone. The best however, for a special Christmas Treat might be the Afternoon Chocolate or one of their chocolate workshops. A little bird tells me the Cocoa House even has some Christmas Specials!
Beer with Brewtown Tours
With visits to three microbreweries and plenty of beer to taste, Brewtown Tours are the perfect option for he/she who loves beer and is keen on discovering Yorkshire’s fast-expanding range of microbreweries. To read more about my experience with Brewtown (and why these tours are great for even non-beer drinkers) head this way. Tours can be purchased with Gift Vouchers.
Food Crawls with Tours in a Dish
Of course, this list could not be complete without having shamelessly added to it my very own Food Tours of York. If I weren’t guiding most of these, they’d surely be at the top of my Christmas list -- I do hope this speaks for something. Both the Afternoon Tea Tour of York and the Hidden Gems Food Crawl of York can be purchased as Gift Vouchers though Private Tours can also be especially designed to suit your group’s appetite. Finally, the collection of Self-Guided Tours is a great way for foodies to eat their way across the city at their own pace and whim.
Pork from Appletons Butchers
I am ashamed to say I never had much of a thing for pork. Meat, yes, goodness yes, but pork? Never really struck my fancy. That is, until I stepped into York’s Appletons as part of ‘research’ for the Hidden Gems Food Crawl of York. Here I tried some of the best pork pies, superb black pudding, good ham (I don’t even like ham) and melt-in-your-mouth slices of ox tongue. For Christmas, they stock special bone-in Christmas ham and offer a limited edition Christmas Pie ready for the oven. Gift Hampers are also a great option to help that carnivore/pork lover have a try of Appleton’s range of products.
Coffee by Roost
Ok. So before ‘converting’ mostly to tea (I lay the blame on the Afternoon Tea Tour of York), my drink of choice was definitely coffee. I still really enjoy a good cup of the stuff and when I do, coffee from Malton’s Roost is my go-to option. In York, packs of ground or whole beans can be found at Partisan at the French House or Bakes & Co. I however wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the roastery up in Talbot’s Yard.
Beautiful 'Pâtisseries' by Shuti-Shuti
As a student of fine art, Ezster’s beautiful patisseries truly do honour to her artist’s background. Now self-trained pâtissière in York, Eszter regularly hosts pop-up at the equally quirky Kiosk Project Space, where she sells mono-portions of her creations. Celebration cakes can however always be purchased direct. Just imagine the expression on their face when your ‘secret santa’ opens up the door only to find presented to them the most beautiful cake they have ever seen?