A foodie day out in Malton | Posted: 29 April 2016

“What is the collective noun for a group of bloggers?” asked Tom Naylor-Leyland, as he eyed (somewhat nervously, it seemed to me) around a dozen determined looking individuals making their way up Yorkersgate in Malton. “A batallion?” I mused, as I noted the purposeful and vaguely combative demeanour of this group of online experts, who were to be our guests at this specially created event, ‘A Taste of Inntravel’.

A Taste of Inntravel: the bloggers

There was no need to worry, though: the day proved to be a tremendous success, and by the end of it, we were all firm friends, having photographed and videoed – not to mention tweeted and instagrammed – our way through some fantastic cooking, and some enlightening visits to some of Malton’s growing band of artisan food producers.

A Taste of Inntravel: getting started

The aim for the day was to allow a selection of locally based food and lifestyle bloggers to gain an appreciation of the exciting ‘foodie’ scene developing in and around this lovely market town. Named the ‘Food Capital of Yorkshire’ by none other than Antonio Carluccio back in 2012, Malton has since gone from strength to strength, largely thanks to Tom’s inspirational leadership and the enthusiastic response of food-lovers, farmers and producers – from bread-makers and butchers to brewers and ‘butter bees’ (the latter being the very latest addition to this bulging local larder).

A Taste of Inntravel

The day began amid the attractively arranged culinary paraphernalia of the Malton Cookery School, where Head Tutor Gilly Robinson welcomed us, and Tom gave our bloggers the low-down on the town’s fine food credentials.

A Taste of Inntravel: let the cooking begin

Suitably enthused, and with cameras and mobile phones at the ready, our chefs-for-a-day gathered to hear Gilly’s instructions, delivered with clarity and encouragement, but also in that Yorkshire ‘no nonsense’ manner that promised no truck with tomfoolery, nor sympathy for the slapdash. Cookery here, just like hospitality at the nearby Talbot Hotel, is a serious business.

A Taste of Inntravel: making pizzas

Given the largely European nature of our holidays, the day’s recipes had a distinctly continental flavour, but with a welcome Yorkshire twist. So the mini pizzas (first out of the oven) featured, among their many optional toppings, goat’s cheese from Lowna Dairy in East Yorkshire; Dale End cheddar from Botton Creamery in the Dales; beetroot and orange chutney from Puckett’s Pickles in York; and, of course, juicy slivers of Yorkshire ham.

A Taste of Inntravel: pizza fresh out of the oven

The finished products were, it has to be said, something of a triumph; and together with a drop or two of robust red wine from close to the toe of Italy, helped quell the rising hunger pangs of all involved.

A Taste of Inntravel: sampling the pizzas

But soon it was back to work, and Gilly, keen to replicate the atmosphere of a real-life busy restaurant kitchen, had our aspiring chefs working on several dishes at once.

A Taste of Inntravel: Sue Nelson shares her expertise

It called for cool heads and enthusiastic teamwork, but with assistance and expertise from the redoubtable Sue Nelson from Yorkshire Foodfinder, our bloggers were up to the challenge.

A Taste of Inntravel: pickled mackerel

Next out of the pan came some delicious Swedish-style mackerel, which had been sharply filleted with newly honed knives and doused in a hot pickling liquid of white wine vinegar, shallots, peppercorn and star anise.

A Taste of Inntravel: plating up

These were artfully arranged on slices of freshly made soda bread toast, with a cucumber and horseradish relish in between... a mouthwatering treat indeed, especially when toasted with a tot of Absolut vodka in true Scandinavian style...

A Taste of Inntravel: a vodka toast

Preparations, meanwhile, were ongoing for an Italian-style pork fillet dish. The succulent tenderloin was first rolled in mushroom dust, then pan-fried in smoked pepper oil, before being given nine minutes in the oven – no more and no less.

A Taste of Inntravel: succulent pork

The pork was now ready to join a tasty-looking mushroom fricassée, and gnocchi  that had just bobbed to the surface – a few parcels at a time – of a nearby pan of boiling water. I was becoming mesmerised, if not amazed, by the carefully co-ordinated activities and new-found skills of these subgroups of chefs, whose work combined to mouthwatering effect...

A Taste of Inntravel: the finished pork dish

Next up for the Yorkshire treatment was that timeless French classic, coq au vin. Here it underwent a cheeky twist into coq à la bière, by virtue of the addition of some Bad Kitty beer, a local classic from Malton’s Brass Castle brewery, instead of the usual red wine.

A Taste of Inntravel: coq a la biere

The pommes Anna, baked to a divine golden brown, looked delicious enough to eat by themselves, but once they had topped a dish full of rich chicken casserole, and the whole tempting ensemble was brought to the table alongside peas française (a delightful concoction involving chopped bacon and rosemary as well as peas), we were practically beside ourselves with anticipation.

A Taste of Inntravel: the casserole

Once this had been enthusiastically devoured, it was time for dessert; and our bloggers were tasked with bringing us a taste of Germany’s Black Forest – a little like the region’s much-vaunted gâteau, but in deconstructed form.

A Taste of Inntravel: the torte

First came the torte, whisked and beaten into shape with the addition of gooey dark chocolate and a generous armful of cherries.

A Taste of Inntravel: making dessert

Once the cake had been cut, it was time for others to reveal their creations: a chocolate mousse containing kirsch (a taste sensation in its own right), and a cherry compote simmered with red wine.

A Taste of Inntravel: deconstructed Black Forest Gateau

Then it was time to serve, and a conveyor-belt process meant adding each component, one by one, together with a scoop of black cherry sorbet, leaving us to enjoy this very special pud – accompanied by a glass of Gewürztraminer, the sweet-as-nectar dessert wine from this part of Europe.

A Taste of Inntravel: in Malton

Taste buds contented, it was time for a whistle-stop tour of Malton’s specialist producers, with the irrepressible Tom as our guide. First up was Brass Castle Brewery, where joint owner Phil gave us a run-down of the brewing process, then a taste of some beers.

A Taste of Inntravel: lager tasting

These ranged from the light and refreshing, Munich-style Helles Lager, to the 7.5% Wallop – a Yorkshire ‘stingo’ (strong ale) matured for six months in bourbon, brandy and whisky casks, and whose taste carried the unmistakable flavours of toffee and black treacle.

A Taste of Inntravel: an array of beer

Next it was along to Talbot Yard, a former cobbled coaching corral whose stables and outhouses have been converted into premises for more specialist producers.

A Taste of Inntravel: Bluebird Bakery

Beyond the Roost coffee roastery and Al Kippax’s renowned Bluebird bakery, we came upon butcher Paul Pott, whose family-run business, Food 2 Remember, specialises in serious steaks and sensational sausages, and whose daughter Betsy often helps out behind the counter.

A Taste of Inntravel: Food 2 Remember

Paul also runs the ‘Talbot Yard BBQ’, which takes place in the courtyard during summertime instances of the Malton Monthly Food Market.

A Taste of Inntravel: Aldo Valerio

Just around the corner from Paul is Aldo Valerio, a relative newcomer to the yard whose parents helped to bring top Italian cuisine to Britain in the 50s from Molise in southern Italy. Continuing the family tradition with his business, Passione della Pasta, Aldo creates numerous varieties of fresh pasta (including superb ravioli fillings), as well as homemade pasta sauces and a rather delectable tiramisu – which we were lucky enough to try.

A Taste of Inntravel: Groovy Moo ice cream parlour

Last up was a visit to the Groovy Moo ice cream parlour – pretty busy on a sunny-but-chilly North Yorkshire day, but well worth the short wait. With a commitment to serving high-quality, Italian-style gelato using the best Yorkshire cream – and flavours such as wild strawberry, Eton mess, salted caramel, and lemon and lime sorbet – the Groovy Moo is deservedly popular, and was a fantastic way to round off a day that was full of flavour and overflowing with foodie-friendly charm.

A Taste of Inntravel: Groovy Moo's range of ice creams

Related Holidays

A Yorkshire Gastronomic Celebration

You can sample some of Yorkshire’s culinary delights for yourself on our weekend break in North Yorkshire, which combines easy, self-guided walks with dinners at some of the area’s best restaurants, and guided visits to a variety of local producers, before finishing in Malton.

More about our foodie walking break in Yorkshire >

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