Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bank Holiday Shenanigans - Bingley Food Festival/Haworth

...So Good Friday finally comes; the start of four free days that work cannot spoil. The weather can (curse the snow!!!) - but the office cannot. So it's off to the Food Festival at Bingley to pick up something good for dinner, then onto Haworth for a little lunch and a few beers.

Size Isn't Everything....
...But in the case of the Bingley Food Festival, it is. By the time we got there - about 11ish - the tent was rammed. And I mean rammed. I don't know wether Bingley Council (or whoever organised this event) seriously underestimated the pull of a food festival these days, or just ran out of space, but this was not a pleasant environment to browse round. However, the hungry and determined are a force to be reckoned with and we managed to grab some gems before our patience finally ran out.

We were pleased to see Salt's Deli running a stall - Salt's are a long-time fave of TGS, and thier fresh, crisp Ciabatta was just what we needed. We sampled one of their Chorizo Parcels, too, and a lovely little treat it was - crisp filo rolls, filled with chunks of piquant Chorizo, peppers and red onion. So simple, yet so delicious. Glad to see them doing a roaring trade.

The cheese stall provided a couple of coups, too - once we fought our way to the front. We picked up some amazing smoked goats cheese, along with a good chunk of one of our favourites, Manchego. After a quick stop at the veg stand to pick up some huge mushooms and some fresh spinach from H Baxter & Son of Preston, we made our getaway - but not before picking up a log each of black and white pudding from RS Ireland. I'm a stickler for blood sausage and Ireland's are fantastic.

An honourable mention goes to the man with no sign, selling homemade pies and pasties. His Scotch Eggs were, quite simply, a revelation, and will warrant their own post very soon....

...After that frantic hour, some lunch and a couple of beers were definately needed. So on it was to Haworth - half an hour up the road from Bingley. We are overly familar with Haworth - my mother lives ten minutes away in Oakworth and we spend a lot of time there. So in the respect it's a failsafe, a no-brainer. You can always get a good pint there.

Is that you, Branwell?
First up, at the top of the main street, sits the famous Black Bull; reputedly haunted by Branwell Bronte, brother of the famous literary sisters whose image and story you can't escape in the village of their birth. A large, stone-flagged pub, it can always be relied on for a decent sandwich and a pint. Deuchars IPA and Copper Dragon Golden Pippin seem to be the regulars and there is always a guest - this time, Osset's Fine Fettle, which I opted for. Crisp, dry and very hoppy with a familar floral aroma, Fine Fettle was a good call indeed and made light work of a Roast Beef and Horseradish Baguette. I like The Black Bull a lot; it's reliable, it's somewhere you know is going to have a good beer and a corner table waiting for you. My first pint of Moorhouse's Pendle Witch was drunk here, and that went on to become a firm favourite of mine.

Gotta Be A Taylors...
In terms of sheer quality and consistency, Taylor's is up there, in my opinion; and The Fleece, at the bottom of the main street, serves the best TT's in Haworth; and I noticed they had spruced up thier bottled range, too, offering Warsteiner, Duvel, Cooper's, Goose Island and Quilmes to name a few. I was disappointed that the Celebration Ale has long sold out - a testament to the high regard Taylor's is paid here Instead I opted for a pint of Dark Mild, which had to be - and no hyperbole here - one of the best pints I have for a long time. Dark with a tight, coffee-coloured head, the Dark Mild was roasted malt all the way, with a light treacley finish. Perfection(Come on...when in Rome!),it was time to go. We figured out what to make with the produce we picked up that morning on the way home, and the results of that will be coming up this weekend.

The shot on the right shows the hand of a very contented man...and the reason
for that contented feeling!


Anonymous said...

I spent a very merry Thursday evening on Ossett IPA, superb stuff.

I have noticed in the last year I have had some exceptional beers from breweries in Yorkshire, Saltaire, Kelham Island, Timmy T's, Theakstons, Black Sheep, Ossett, Daleside and Roosters to name but a few.

A few more reasons why Yorkshire is God's country!

aj kinik said...

that cheese counter and those taps are killing me--what I wouldn't do...

Leigh said...

Aj - nice to hear from you, mate. Indeed, you'd love the Fleece! Get over!

John - I agree. I read somewhere that a third of all micros are yorkshire based - and i think that some of the best beer is brewed here, and thats not just nepotism between two northerners! Rooster's are probably my fave brewery of all time. My desert Island beer is thier YPA. If you go back in the archives I interviewed Sean Franklin from Roosters a while back - the guy's a genius, particulary his work with hops. Daleside are good too - the Leyburn Food Festival in May has a good beer tent that is sponsored by Daleside, all thier stuff available. Get yourself down there, we go every year! The Daleside Blonde is worth trying if you haven't done so!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind comments.

Bruce Salt
Salt's Delicatessen

Anonymous said...

Just wondering why you fought your way through the crowds to buy cheese at Bingley when there is a fab specialist cheese shop next door to The Fleece in Haworth?!

Leigh said...

Hi helene - nice to meet you! the reason we didnt hold out for the cheese shop next to the fleece was that we simply didn't know if it would be open with it being a Bank Holiday! So we hedged out bets and bought the cheese in Bingley, you see. The cheese shop (i want to say olives et al?) was open,by the way...we'll know for next time!