• Handpicked Harrogate

The Taste of Yorkshire

Welcome to Yorkshire this year are promoting our county as the Food and Drink Capital of the country. There is no doubt that with our vast fertile lands we produce fine food but also Yorkshire is full of entrepreneurs either producing artisan food or serving that food in tasty and unique ways. With all that choice, how do you choose what to try and how to experience it.

One way, new to many, is a Food Tour. Increasingly popular throughout Europe, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family sharing food in an ingenious way. Yorkshire Appetite Food Tours was started in 2017 by Kay Atkinson with a tour around the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, enabling visitors to get the most out of their time in the town with an opportunity to try not one, but five places to eat in one sitting. The guide takes a small group around the town on foot, visiting five great independent eateries. On the way, the group find out about the food they are being served; the reasons for choosing the tasting, its provenance, and other interesting facts. They also find out the stories of the passionate people behind the independents and they get a good dose of Harrogate History too making it more than just a tasting. The food, however, is the star – a chance to have the equivalent of a good lunch with some delicious local food to taste. All this together makes this experience an excellent way to really get an insight into a place with food being so integral to a place’s culture.

Kay began Yorkshire Appetite after trying a food tour on a holiday in Chicago ten years ago. “I hadn’t come across such a tour but I decided to give it a try and I became hooked on food tours! They encompass everything I like to do on a visit to a new town: trying the local food at those little gems of places you often wouldn’t find on your own and being shown around by a local with a great insight into the local culture and its cuisine”. Five years after that first tour, and with a few more under her belt, and mentored by Chicago Food Planet, Yorkshire Appetite was born.

Following on from the Harrogate Tour, they have now added three more tours to their offering. A Vegan Tour of Harrogate shows how delicious plant-based food is now on the menu all around the town. The places it visits are not exclusively vegan but do have a great vegan offering meaning inclusive dining – everyone can have what they like! In January 2019, the York Food Tour began and has proved just as popular as the Harrogate one. Its theme is York’s relationship with the world, showcasing a diverse range of foods (but including chocolate of course!) from people who have settled in York over the years. Our artisans of Otley tour was also added this year, showcasing how this small market town, hundreds of years old, has developed quite the food artisan reputation with some great products to taste.

All the food tours cater for special dietary requirements or any allergies and as long as you state them at time of booking, they will ensure that they are catered for with an equally delicious alternative. They keep their groups small with an average group size being 6-8. Sharing food is a wonderful icebreaker and the groups quickly bond – everybody on a food tour has their own food stories to share and recommendations to make. They also cater for private groups – from 5 people upwards and they have hosted many hen parties, who they are pleased to say have been the well behaved kind!. They have also hosted birthday parties, anniversary outings, family gatherings, WI trips, business outings and even a stag do! It’s something a little bit special and a little bit different for a celebration. Also with the location of Yorkshire in the middle of the UK they have hosted family and friends reunions with people coming from all over the country to meet up and enjoy a weekend break complete with the culinary and cultural adventure of a food tour.

Food tours are also a way to support local independents. The events of the last couple of years have meant they and the tours were not operational for some time but it is uplifting to find that all of the tasting partners are back up and running and Yorkshire Appetite can continue to champion them. The tasting partners are paid for all the food consumed and it enables people to try out a venue and many of the visitors revisit the tasting stops at a later time for a full meal and it is fantastic to be able to encourage people to try as many of these great venues as possible.

During lockdown the Yorkshire Appetite Goodie Box was launched which delivers a fantastic selection of Yorkshire food products to your door offering one off gift boxes or subscriptions up to 12 months so even after people have gone home, they can still enjoy the Taste of Yorkshire! Since the tours restarted at the end of May they have been very busy with more people deciding to see what the UK has to offer and wanting to get out and about again. Yorkshire Appetite has three guides: Kay is helped by Louise and Jill but they need another guide/s to join the team. It would suit someone who loves food and Yorkshire and talking to people and who would like a flexible part time role to fit around their other responsibilities. All three guides enjoy doing the tours immensely as you get to meet such great interesting people and they never get bored of talking about food! If anyone would like an informal chat about joining them as a guide, then contact Kay at kay@yorkshireappetite.com

If you are looking for something fun to do then have a look at the website and come along and help them support the local food scene!

Taste and Discover our Yorkshire!