So much to taste. So little time. Yorkshire might just be the foodiest region of the British Isles, dishing up everything from Michelin-starred cuisine, to fragrant curries, fine cheeses and what is arguably the world’s best asparagus. The best way to discover all the delicious things is to follow the local tasting trails – and be sure to bring your appetite.
We’d visit Yorkshire just for its famous savory pudding – the puff of eggy goodness that plays such an important role at Sunday dinner, especially as vehicle for gravy. But when it comes to food and drink, England’s northernmost county is so much more than that.
For one thing, it’s home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other part of the British Isles outside London. For another, it has a vibrant artisan tradition that stretches from seaside towns to bucolic dales to historic cities.
The region’s main centre is York – the historic walled city that was founded by the Romans in 71AD, and later became capital of the kingdom of Northumbria. It has long been a major hub for manufacture, wool trading, religion, and education, and features a number of famous historic attractions such as the York Minster – the vast cathedral that dates back to the Normans. But the best reason to visit is the food.
There is large community of artisans making pickles, chutneys, chocolates, breads, charcuterie and more, all of which you can sample on one of Yorkshire Food Finder’s gourmet walks. Or you can nosh on globally inspired street food at the historic Shambles Market, indulge in an afternoon tea tour or dine in one of the city’s fine restaurants.
York, of course, isn’t the only big city with a foodie culture – Bradford in West Yorkshire is known for its South Asian food culture, and is home to an annual Curry Festival. Yorkshire has been called ‘the spiciest county in the UK’, and the Spice Trail lead those hungry for heat to 40 curry restaurants across the region.
But most of what makes Yorkshire such a delicious destination lies outside the big cities.
Its coastal communities are home to incredible seafood, including sweet crab, succulent lobster and a longstanding smokehouse tradition. There’s even a Smoke Signals tour that samples the best smoked fish, and a Fish & Chip Trail which travels from Keighley to Filey, meandering along some of the world’s most scenic coastline.
Inland, Yorkshire is famous for its great game birds, lamb, rhubarb, asparagus and ginger-flavoured treats, ranging from ginger beer to the cake known as ‘parkin’. It has a proud charcuterie tradition – bacon, sausage and cured meats, mainly – that can be sampled along the From Dairy To Deli trail. It also has a famous cheesemaking industry, especially in the historic community of Wensleydale, which has a local ‘cheese experience’, and a foodie trail that winds through some 30 pubs, cafes, delis and markets.
Meanwhile, the small town of Malton has crowned itself ‘Yorkshire’s food capital’ and offers its own gourmet walking tour.
All that hearty fare is best washed down with a pint of ale – discover a new favorite on the Transpennine Real Ale Trail – or a glass of the cool climate wines grown on 10 regional wineries. There’s even a handful of distilleries making gin and, at The Spirit of Yorkshire, the region’s first single malt whisky. Most breweries, wineries, and distilleries offer tours of their premises’ and tastings of their tipples.
Then again, perhaps what you really crave is simply the best of everything, and for that there is the Yorkshire Michelin Star Experience, which comprises starred eateries that range from gourmet pubs to ultra-modern, fine-dining meccas.
Many of Yorkshires culinary trails are self-guided and available for you to discover at your leisure, by foot, car or bicycle. Others are guided tours, led by locals with a passion for the region, its history and its food. Whichever you set out on, one thing is for sure: You will dine well, and fully.