The gourmet food trail guide
Yorkshire Food Finder – Sue Nelson
Sue Nelson sits back in her chair, a jug of steaming coffee and a chunk of still-warm flapjack on the stool beside her, almost lost in the library of cookery books stacked neatly from floor to ceiling in the room off her kitchen. ‘At the last count there were 1650 – and counting!’ she says.
The collection is truly international, and one of them dates back to 1913 – a fabulous linen-bound collection of recipes hand-written by Sue’s husband Aiden’s grandmother. It’s hard to imagine that they all get read, but Sue insists they’re used daily. ‘I refer to many of them for research, but of course I’ve got a few favourites. The other day I leafed through 30 to find a recipe, and I read them in bed!’
In a previous life, Sue had a long career in journalism but her love of food prompted a complete change of direction in 2012, when she launched Yorkshire Food Finder with Aiden. ‘We’d been in Suffolk and spotted some publicity there about food tours. We hadn’t seen anything like it in Yorkshire, but knew that the producers and suppliers in the county were second to none. So we talked to Andrew Pern at The Star Inn at Harome, who championed local produce before it became fashionable, and was very supportive so we decided to have a go. After a concentrated period of research and hundreds of miles, we found charcuterie makers, brewers, smoke houses, herb growers and fishmongers.’
A typical one-day tour might take in the wonderful Village Creamery at Botton, where artisan cheese-maker Alastair Pearson oversees a team making a range of cheeses including their award-winning Dale End Cheddar, followed by a visit to Peter Mawson’s farm high in the Farndale hills. RAF Air Traffic Controller-turned-farmer, Peter rears free-range Saddleback pigs and Whitefaced Woodland sheep; his commitment to sustainable farming is inspiring.
Find extraordinary herbs and leaves you’ve never heard of at Alison Dodd’s 90-acre award-winning Herbs Unlimited – she’s been supplying the catering trade with her wonderfully diverse range for over 25 years. End the day with a delicious dinner at the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome, where much of the produce on the trail will find its way to the table.
‘I’d long been aware of the fabulous and varied produce all around me and I’ve married my obsession with food with a wide range of growers and makers – Yorkshire is packed with people who are committed to great food!’ says Sue.