‘It’s a little taste of the continent in Yorkshire!’ trills Michelle Walker, scooping a taster of blood orange sorbet and offering it to customers in her award-winning gelato parlour in Talbot Yard.
For 20 years Michelle ran an ice cream shop on the sea front in Bridlington until her husband’s illness prompted a move to Malton, and the newly-developed food and drink yard seemed the perfect fit. It’s a family affair; she works alongside her son Ashley and daughter Sophie. ‘I love seeing the pleasure on people’s faces, enjoying the moment – I think ‘job done!’ Folk seem to have as much fun looking at all the flavours in the cabinet as we do making it.’
There are around 24 varieties on offer at any one time, most of which have been ‘dreamed up’ by Michelle, who takes her inspiration from many sources. ‘Sometimes it’s simply the fact that a local has dropped a box of rhubarb off at the shop – it’s soon made into an ice cream or sorbet’. A gaggle of schoolgirls turn up and order salted caramel, lime ripple and Bakewell Tart. ‘They come every day’ says Michelle. ‘They’re working their way through the lot!’
With so may flavours to choose from, you’ll find the perfect accompaniment to the black cherry waffles, buttermilk pancake stacks and brownies that Michelle’s team make in the tiny kitchen at the back of the parlour.
The gelato is completely pure and fresh, with no additives. It’s made with full fat milk and cream, and as far as possible, local fruit – strawberries are from Sandhutton and the local greengrocer supplies the rest. Milk arrives daily from St Quintin’s Creamery at Harpham, from dairy farmer Peter Burdass’s Holstein and Friesian cattle. ‘It’s very important that we source as locally as possible’ says Michelle. ‘Using Yorkshire produce underlines and defines what we’re all about.’
Lower in fat and sugar than traditional ice cream, it’s typically 6% sugar and 6% fat while the sorbet is suitable for vegans and the lactose intolerant. Everything is made entirely by hand by Ashley (who travels regularly to Bolognia to brush up his skills) in their unit across town.
‘It’s an honest product made by real Yorkshire folk – what you see is what you get, and we want all our staff and customers to fee valued and included’ says Michelle. ‘I think that’s why people seem to love it. We like to think we put ‘art’ into ‘artisan!’