Yorkshires Iconic Food

28th June 2017

It is impossible to go to Italy and not indulge in pasta, pizza or gelato. Though the different identities of counties are more nuanced in the UK, enjoying the local dishes will give you a better understanding of the culture. Any trip to Yorkshire should involve a tasting of at least one local delicacy, but we have collected the foods that best evoke the region’s cultural identity to give depth to your trip.

Staying at a hotel in Scarborough is a great spring board to get out into the county and see some of the glorious sights that Yorkshire has to offer, as well as tasting some home-grown delicacies that you can find nowhere else.

Wensleydale Cheese

The Wensleydale Creamery Counter

Who would have thought a cheese could have a tumultuous history, and yet this is the case for the humble Wensleydale. Initially, cheese-making was brought to the area by French Cistercian Monks as early as 1150. However as Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, the tradition passed to farmers’ wives. The end of the 19th Century saw the heyday of the valley’s cheese making, with a creamery built in Hawes, beginning a glorious tradition. Unfortunately, during the Second World War, rationing brought the cheese industry to its knees, with most of the country’s milk being made into Government Cheddar. The industry was slow to recover.

Though you can buy Wensleydale cheese in your local supermarket, it will never be as good as the product straight from source. The Wensleydale Creamery has taken its heritage and is making this well-known product with such affection that it is elevated beyond what you would expect. They produce both white and blue Wensleydale, among other local cheeses, yoghurts and butter, all giving a fantastic insight into the history of the region.

The Wensleydale Creamery is also a visitor centre, offering interactive experiences with hands-on activities. It is a fun day all out for all the family while still being informative.

Liquorice

Liquorice sweeties

Historically, Liquorice was sought for its medicinal properties, however a small town in Yorkshire changed that entirely. Pontefract was not only the first place in the UK to grow liquorice, it was also the first place to combine Liquorice with sugar and make the confectionary that is so well loved today. Again liquorice is thought to have been brought to the area by monks in the 1500’s however the town of Pontefract has taken ownership of its sweet history, with Pontefract cakes.

There is also a liquorice festival in Pontefract that reveals in the many incarnations of this versatile root. Held in early July the festival showcases liquorice in many forms, from sweet treats to tasty beverages.

Parkin

Parkin cake in a tin

Parkin is a cake for wintry November nights. Traditionally eaten on bonfire night, it is an old fashioned cake that should holds its place with sticky toffee pudding and Victoria sponge, but is relatively unknown.

It is a cake to be baked before bonfire night as it needs time to age, and the flavour to fully form. The Caked Crusader shares their recipe for the delicious parkin as well as a few comments:

“When a slice of parkin is put in front of you, you have a big decision to make – to butter or not to butter? In the interests of science I tried both and liked both. I think buttering the parkin makes it a more substantial bite to eat, and I liked the salty contrast of the butter with the sticky spiced cake. Remember the rule re: buttering - it must be so thick that you can leave teeth marks in it!”

Pikelets

Pikelets, for those not aware of the term, are thought to be of a distant welsh origin, but have become so entrenched in the area it is hard to think of them as anything else. Pikelets are a combination between a pancake and a crumpet, perhaps with a little drop scone on the way. They are a poor man’s crumpet or a crumpet made without a ring, but are different to the historical crumpet. Originally crumpets were hard, while pikelets were always soft.

The Ordinary Cook devoted an entire post to traditional pikelets, and shared some top tips for trying these at home: “Spoon ladlefuls onto a pan that is medium-hot.  Leave until the mixture is cooked all the way through.  You will see when this happens that the tops become a little drier than before.  Whilst they are cooking you can help burst the bubbles gently with a fork for maximum holes.  Turn the pikelet over and cook for a minute or so more.”

Yorkshire Pudding

Golden Yorkshire puddings

Who hasn’t heard of the Yorkshire pudding? A Sunday staple that can make or break a roast, and yet in the home county they should be a cut above the standard battered fare. An early recipe for The Yorkshire Pudding (then referred to as Dripping Pudding) was published in 1737 in a book called The Whole Duty of a Woman, this was revised a decade later by Hannah Glasse, the Delia of her day, who renamed the iconic food.

The Yorkshire pudding has made it into British hearts and many expats miss these golden treats. Christopher Blackburn is the reigning World Yorkshire Pudding Champion, and has created a blog devoted to the perfect puddings. When speaking of the history, the recent events have done much to clarify the expectations of a Yorkshire pudding:

“In 2008, the Royal Society of Chemistry got involved when it declared that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.”  This came about when Ian Layness, an Englishman living in the Rockies experienced a series of Yorkshire pudding “flops” in the high country despite huge successes in the low country.  It is no myth – the rise is just not the same at certain altitudes!  Pretty crazy when you can quite obviously cook perfect pudds atop the Pennines”

Image Credit: EmmaAli KSpider.Dogstef yau