Malton Food Tour
Malton, one of North Yorkshire’s pretty Market Towns was described by Antonio Carluccio as ‘Yorkshire’s Food Capital’. Following our experience on their new guided Malton Foodie Tour which allowed us to get behind the scenes of the ‘Made in Malton’ producers and taste all the delights on offer, we can definitely see why.
Malton is known for its local produce, food festivals, monthly food markets and cookery school. As well as an array of traditional food shops Malton’s new Talbot Yard development has welcomed exciting Yorkshire artisan food brands like Groovy Moo Gelato, Roost Coffee, Bluebird Bakery to name a few. With all this in combination it only seemed right to The Malton Food Lovers Festival Director Tom Naylor-Leyland to showcase what is on offer via their foodie tour.
Tom said: “My vision was to take the incredible local produce – game, shellfish, rare breed meat, cheese, beer, baking and more – and celebrate it right here in Yorkshire! I’m proud that today you can taste your way around town, eating delicious dishes, buying the famous local produce and learning how to cook it at Malton Cookery School. From pie eating to coffee roasting, to beer, gin and whisky tasting, butter churning and a sample of fine dining, we were spoilt from start to finish.
The Saturday tour started at 11.30am, meeting at the stunning Grade II* listed Talbot Hotel. With 7 of us in tow we were very lucky to have Tom as our guide who is responsible for Malton’s award winning food town status. Highly passionate, welcoming and knowledgeable we were already off to a great start.
ROOST Coffee and Roastery
First stop on the tour was ROOST Coffee and Roastery, located within the charming Talbot Yard Food Court, developed in the last year and a half after previously serving as the old coaching Yard to the Talbot Hotel. ROOST is a family run coffee roaster which supplies coffee to host of top restaurants and cafes across the UK. Their purpose built coffee bar is open to the public where you can experience their hand roasted high grade beans and leave with a bag of freshly ground coffee you’ve just enjoyed. As Owner David told us more about their on-site roastery we were treated to a drink of our choice and a delicious nutty cranberry and orange brownie from Yo Bakehouse, one of Malton’s newest additions. David took us behind the scenes for a quick lesson on where they source their 10 varieties of coffee, the differences and the roasting process. We also got the chance to see their in-house roaster and pick out smells in the different blends used. Perfect for those who truly love their coffee.
Next was a quick stop at Bluebird Bakery set up by Al Kippax who has a passion for producing the very best artisan bread. Also supplying their shop in York and to local delis, restaurants, cafes and bars, everything is made on-site in Malton. Walking into their cosy bakery we first spotted their trolley with an array of savouries, pastries, brownies, pizzas and a wide range of breads. Whilst Tom gave us more detail about the artisan bakery we enjoyed an unreal spinach, chickpea and cumin pastry and a slice of their lemon drizzle cake. So impressed we tried to re-create the spinach and chickpea pastry back at home!
Passione Della Pasta
The next stop was Passione Della Pasta, personally one stop on the tour that I was most looking forward to. A family business started in the 50s they serve a wide selection of fresh pasta, Italian deli products, lasagne and other delights. We walked into the shop to chef Aldo Valerio making handmade ravioli and an array of different types of fresh pasta to take away. Before we sat down to sample what was on offer, Aldo and Tom gave us some history about the business, leaving it open for us to ask any questions. We were given a generous but perfect portion of warm and comforting beef ragu with Aldo’s freshly made al dente tagliatelle, delicious!
McMillans of Malton
Walking towards the market square which on this day was hosting their Monthly Food Market, Tom told us about more exciting developments to come including a potential gin distiller and a Vegan Café. This will join up the Market Square and Talbot Yard area, bringing more variety and producers to the town. Arriving at McMillans of Malton this next stop was all about the alcohol! Greeted by Jim and his kilt we sampled some of his incredible gin and whisky selection whilst he talked us through some of the popular brands, how the industry has evolved, different distillation methods and botanicals used. A beautiful shop with craft beer and sloe gin also available to purchase. Warmed up from our tasters we headed to the pie shop.
However this is not any old pie shop. Costellos bakery run by James Costello is a family business that takes sausage rolls, proper pies and baking to another level. Starting off selling in the market, they are famous for their Malton Steak Pies, similar to a beef wellington they contain mince beef steak, bacon, mushrooms, red onion and rosemary. Lucky enough to sample the pie that is becoming a bit of a national treasure, all of us on the tour were very impressed. Served with our choice of gravy, red or brown sauce my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
A visit to Mennells was like stepping back in time to an old sweet shop, a small and quirky shop full with sweets in jars, varieties of chocolate boxes, chocolate truffles and many more take home treats. Sharon the owner makes everything in-house which has been a chocolate shops for over 90 years. We each choose two chocolates to sample, we tried Sharon’s ‘salted caramel truffle’ and ‘baileys truffle’, both melt in the mouth. One of the ladies on the tour loved the place so much she filled her husband’s hat full of sweet treats to take away.
Malton Cookery School
I loved the concept of Malton Cookery School, although we only popped our heads in for Tom to tell us about what was on offer I was really impressed. Set within an old congregational chapel Tom and his team describe the school as a ‘temple to Yorkshire gastronomy’. Designed to be like a home kitchen, the open plan cookery school was very welcoming and relaxed. They had a group of friends who had privately booked the school out for a Dinner Party Masterclass. All were all doing their part in creating a 5 course meal that they would later all enjoy together at the Cookery Schools set table. Their ‘Chef’s Table’ has been host to some of Yorkshire’s top chefs such as Michelin Starred Chef Andrew Pern. Attendees can watch the chefs in action, ask questions and improve their own cookery skills.
Brass Castle Brewery
Next stop Brass Castle Brewery, which currently holds the title as supreme Champion Lager in the UK and previous winner of the York Beer Festival after only 2 months of trading. Starting off brewing in one of the owner’s garage 4 years ago, they now have a 12 barrel brewery in Malton. Greeted by Aron he gave us a tour of the brewery, the history of Brass Castle and education around each beer we tasted from their section. From their award winning ‘Helles’ lager, English Style IPA ‘Sunshine’, ‘California Steaming’ steam beer and their American style barley wine ‘Three Chimps’. All incredible and also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Butterbees of Malton
Instead of tasting this time our visit to Butterbees got us rolling our sleeves up to do some work ourselves. As Britain’s first butter boutique they specialise in one thing – the finest butter. Churned and hand rolled using the best Yorkshire cream. As well as unsalted and sea salt butter their menu also offered local honey butter, smoked paprika and chili plus an absolutely mouthwatering vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar. After an introduction by Tom about Butterbees being a UK first, we had the chance to each roll our own hand churned butter using their traditional wooden paddles. Each taking away our handy work I can say that since trying it back at home their butter is delicious!
On the way to our next stop Tom shared with us some more of Malton’s history. Walking up one of the narrow streets we passed the building in which Charles Dickens inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge was brought to life. An absolute historical hidden gem for this small market town.
The Talbot Hotel
Back to the Talbot Hotel, previously home to celebrity chef James Martin and now MasterChef the Professionals Runner Up Dan Graham we experienced a sample of The Talbot’s fine dining. Taking a seat in their brasserie bar with a roaring open fire we enjoyed some tea before being presented with the final course from The Wentworth restaurant’s new 9 course tasting menu, ‘Kalamansi cheesecake with cookie crumb’. It was almost too beautifully presented to eat. The texture of the cheesecake was incredible, almost like marshmallow and the citrus flavour of Kalamansi and cookie crumb were perfectly matched. This taster really showcased The Talbot’s food, such a treat and an amazing addition to the foodie tour.
Groovy Moo Gelato
Something of a Yorkshire institution having opened with the commitment to create the best Gelato going, this was the final stop in our amazing Malton Food Tour. Founded by Michelle Walker and son Ashley, Groovy Moo offers entirely fresh and unique flavours made from scratch every single day. Using only the best Yorkshire cream this is not ice-cream, this is gelato of the finest quality! Entering the shop with its array of different flavours on offer, we were greeted by Michelle who shared the story of their family business. We then each chose two flavours to sample, I went for mint chocolate chip and gingerbread, both to die for.
The length of this article reflects just how much was on offer and there is so much more to be said about each and every ‘Made in Malton’ producer. Meeting the knowledgeable and passionate people behind the high quality Yorkshire artisan produce made the day really special. We also gained an insight into the streets of Malton that you might not have noticed. At only £35 a ticket for 3.5 hours it was a true experience, we tasted and learnt so much, but in a relaxed and paced way. This really is a foodie tour like no other. You must try it for yourself.