Saturday, 10 February 2018

Food of love



“There is no sincerer love than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw

So, according to flower delivery company Bloom & Wilds, Yorkshire is the third least romantic region in the UK.

Ranking 10th in its survey to track the most loving regions in the country, only East Anglia and Scotland trailed behind.

Come on Yorkshire – we can do better than that! And what better time to show you care than Valentine’s Day (although to be honest, any day is a good day to do that. But with February 14th on the doorstep, it’s an easy starting point!)

It doesn’t have to be about expensive gifts. How about making your partner their favourite meal, or cooking something that reminds you of a great holiday you shared together? That amazing pasta you enjoyed in Italy, or a Thai Green curry you had from a beach cafe – you know your loved one best, but we can help with the ingredients to pull it all together! Whether you’re a top notch chef, or someone who needs a bit of assistance (it doesn’t all have to be made from scratch) – have no fear.

If cooking really isn’t your thing, how about taking them on a picnic (it might have to be indoors looking at the weather!), or making them a thoughtful packed lunch to take to work? No cooking involved, and again, plenty of opportunities to show you know what they enjoy. Pork pie, roast beef sandwich, humous, cheese, pickles, fruit cake – whatever tickles their tastebuds, you can create something unique for them.

Of course, if you want to treat them to a little gift, the thought would no doubt be appreciated. Perhaps they’d enjoy a bottle of fine wine, or some of our miniature SLOEmotion gins to sample. If they love chocolates, take a trip to our fresh chocolate counter and hand pick them their very own box of Hunters or Lauden chocolates, tailored to include all their favourites. And then don’t ask them to share!

We also have boxed chocolates from fantastic brands such as Charbonnel and Walker and Prestat – which come in gorgeous packaging.

Maybe they don’t have a sweet tooth. Hand select them a box of pies and sausage rolls! Or how about a little hamper of cheeses, with some seeded oatcakes and a jar of tangy chutney?

If nothing makes them happier than a good cup of coffee or tea, treat them to some of the finest available, and make sure they wake up on February 14th with the perfect cuppa to enjoy straight away.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – pretty sure that’s the same for women too!


Friday, 9 February 2018

The end of Dry January – Cheers!



If you were one of the estimated 3.1 million people who did Dry January this year (can’t be just us who went for Ginuary instead?), the turning of the calendar last Thursday marked the end to your endeavours!

There can be lots of great benefits to giving up alcohol – many people find they lose weight, some save money and for others they just feel better in themselves. And as we’ve discussed before, there’s so many great soft drinks on the market now, you don’t need to feel like you’re missing out when everyone else opens a bottle of wine or pours a measure of gin – Seedlip is lovely with a glug of tonic, and from elderflower cordial to alcohol free Shiraz, there’s lots of choice out there other than the usual fizzy pops or boring orange squash.

But if you are one of the two thirds who apparently stuck to their resolution, you may now be feeling like you deserve to celebrate with one of your favourite tipples.

If you’re bonkers about beer, why not try one of the locally produced ones from the Helmsley Brewing Company? Striding the Riding or Helmsley Honey, you can take your pick. Or one of Wold Top’s wide range – from IPA and blond to bitter and even a wheat free variety, something should hit the spot!

If you’ve been craving a glass of claret – or any other wine – we’ve got some beauties in store. How about Le Charme Merlot or Monastier Shiraz? Or if you prefer a glass of Rose, why not go for Route 66 Blush? Of course, we also have a great supply of prosecco and champagne if you like a few bubbles!

If spirits are more your cup of….erm….booze…. then never fear, we have a well stocked supply! For Gin lovers, how about a Sloe or Damson gin? If Whisky is more your thing, then why not try Sloe Motion Sloe Whisky. Fans of Vodka, have no fear – we would highly recommend Masons Yorkshire Vodka.

We also have Port, Sherry, Brandy, Liqueurs and much, much more. Just go easy – if you haven’t had a drop since New Year’s Eve, you might find it goes to your head, so perhaps pick up a few snacks while you’re here to balance it out!


So long Dry January – welcome to fizz-filled February!

Friday, 26 January 2018

The food trends of 2018…. allegedly

With the start of a new year one thing is always sure – there will be a host of experts revealing what the ‘big’ thing of 2018 will be in their industry. From interior design to fashion (cowboy boots apparently), these lists – although sometimes a bit overdone – can prove useful for a bit of inspiration! After all, had someone told you 10 years ago that you’d be eating avocado smashed on everything, you’d probably have thought them crazy.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with food habits, sticking to the same four or five meals you know everyone likes, and which can be rustled up relatively quickly. Should I be embarrassed I’ve eaten exactly the same thing for breakfast every day this year? Perhaps… (although at least it’s porridge), but I hadn’t even really registered it was the case until I started writing!

So, some of these trends might be a bit ‘out there’, but you never know – it might just inspire you to try something new. Here at Hunters, we love finding new ingredients and ideas, so if there’s something you spot which we might not have in store, we’ll happily track it down for you.

2018….what do you have in store for us?

1.      Plant-based food – veganism continues to grow in popularity, and that means more innovation in the sector – leading to more choice! Gone are the days of the only dairy free alternative being a carton of soya milk. And with some of the Hunters team being dairy intolerant, we do like to find the best products out there to give everyone a choice. Even for those who aren’t going vegan, there’s definitely more of a trend towards flexitarianism – eating less meat – and looking at ways to add protein to the diet without it. We’re confident this will be a BIG trend for the year.
2.      Gut healthy foods – we’ve talked before about how popular kimchi, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables are, and how healthy – along with how tasty they are! There is predicted to be an increase in people looking after the health of their digestive system by eating these types of foods, along with things like apple cider vinegar, miso and kefir. Onions and garlic also have good healthy-gut credentials!
3.      The next big cuisine will be…. - There seems to be some disagreement on whether this will be Middle Eastern and African flavours (like Harissa and za’atar), Indian street food, Japanese or Hawaiian (poke bowl anyone?). We think they all sound great, so let’s not worry about picking just one!
4.      Eating more or less often – again there seems to be some difference of opinion. Some people think we’ll all be eating four meals instead of three (maybe a snack before bedtime, or a light extra meal before exercise – although I’m not convinced people haven’t been doing those for decades, without labelling it). Others think fasting will increase in popularity. Do what works for you!
5.      Root to Stem and Nose to Tail – as the name suggests, this is eating everything from a plant or animal, in order to minimise food waste, which can only be a good thing.
6.      Eating local – this has always been important to us, and to many of our customers – but eating regional produce, grown, produced or reared locally, will hopefully continue to increase in importance. Seventy per cent of the items we sell (which, if you’ve been in the store, you’ll know is a lot), are produced in the Yorkshire region.
7.      No alcoholic drinks – whether you’re doing Dry January, or you just fancy cutting down on your alcohol consumption for whatever reason, non-alcoholic drinks are getting trendy. Long gone are the days of having a choice of lemonade or orange squash on a night out. Now there’s hangover free wine and even an alcohol-free spirit – Seedlip. Sip it with tonic, and you’ll forget you’re not drinking – although the clear head the following morning will remind you!


Our favourite kitchen gadgets…in the back of the cupboard

A recent story we spotted caught our eye. Apparently us Brits have a whopping £11 billion (yes, billion, that’s not a typo) worth of kitchen equipment that we never actually use.

A company called HelloFresh conducted the research which showed we each have approximately £415 worth of gear and gadgets and utensils in our kitchens which never, ever see the light of day. Probably after a disastrous or far too time consuming first outing, like our spiraliser.

For every one person who never uses their bamboo steamer, of course there’ll be another who uses it every other day. But as a rule, it is very easy to get caught in the moment with these things, and see yourself as a wannabe Nigella Lawson or James Martin, when in fact you’re more of a 20-minute supper-on-the-table kind of person.

Some of the gadgets which are buried deep in our kitchen cupboards include sushi mats, sous vides, tagines, pasta makers, potato ricers, pestle and mortars, tapas or souffle dishes, waffle makers and even professional chef knives (not sure why you wouldn’t use those – everyone needs a good set of knives!)

Of course, bread makers and ice cream makers also made the list – and there must be quite a few homes which have them taking up worktop space and gathering dust. It sometimes seems a bit of an effort knocking up your own granary, when you can buy so many wonderful, freshly made local loaves at reasonable prices.

Expensive barbecues and outdoor grills also got a mention fairly high up the list – so it’s not only our kitchens which are affected, our gardens are getting in on the act too!


Almost 60 per cent of those surveyed said they had no idea how to use the equipment – which seems odd if it’s just a tapas dish as that’s not exactly difficult. But we can understand if it’s more about not having the confidence to knock up a batch of fresh pasta, or the time to roll your own sushi.

But not only are we collecting gadgets and then having buyer’s remorse, we’re also stocking up on random foods when we go somewhere on holiday. More than half of the people surveyed said they had brought items home from a trip with the intention of cooking recipes they’d tried there – but many ended up throwing the likes of herbs, spices and cured meats in the bin. Those who did try it out said it was either a ‘disaster’ or nothing like the dish they’d had on holiday. We’ve all been there.

But have no fear. Hunters are here to help. Got a kitchen gadget that’s filling you with fear? Hanging on to a random ingredient you’re not sure what to do with? Trying to recreate a holiday recipe that just isn’t working? We all love our food here at Hunters, and if we can help by recommending ingredients, alternatives, help or advice, we’re happy to do so. And if you want to just discuss pointless kitchen gadgets we’re also happy to oblige. Now, where’s those escargot forks?


We heart coffee

We love a good cuppa here at Hunters – whether it’s a cup of refreshing English tea or a pick-me-up coffee, there’s nothing quite like a warming drink to get you feeling like all is ok in the world.

And apparently we’re not alone. We’re a nation addicted to caffeine!

Perhaps more surprisingly though, earlier this year a poll showed that 61 percent of us prefer drinking coffee to tea – does the Queen know??

New research has now shown Brit consume 1,460 cups of coffee a year on average – which sounds a lot, but is only really 4 cups a day. Although when you think that’s 93,440 cups in an adult lifetime, it does sound a little more of an addiction!

The research, from syrup makers Monin, shows that the country’s favourite coffee is by far the Latte, with 41 per cent choosing that, followed by a cappuccino at 38 per cent. In fact, the top 10 went:
1. Latte
2. Cappuccino
3. Americano
4. Mocha
5. Espresso
6. Flat White
7. Iced Coffee
8. Frappe
9. Ground
10. Double Espresso

We spend an average of £13 a week in coffee shops (2.3bn coffees a year are bought and consumed outside of home). That equates to more than £50 a month, and you could buy yourself an awful lot of quality coffee, milk and even some fancy flavourings (if they float your boat) with that!

More than half of us now own our own coffee machine at home, and apparently we’re getting more adventurous with the different styles and flavours of coffee we’re willing to try. Still – come to my house and order a skinny, mocha, frappe, caramel, no foam cappuccino with an extra shot, and I think I might struggle.

When it comes to added extras, 18 per cent of us like caramel syrup in our coffee, while 14 per cent opt for vanilla and 10 per cent hazelnut. 

In store, we stock lots of flavoured coffees,  some of the most popular being Hazelnut and Irish Cream. We’re partial to a bit of Grumpy Mule and Taylors of Harrogate  – with a variety of strengths and origins available, you can even buy by weight here at Hunters – like a traditional sweet shop!


So, next time you’re after a caffeine boost – drop by and we’ll hook you up with your perfect blend!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Are Britain’s Forgotten Foods to be consigned to history books?

When was the last time you enjoyed liver and bacon or a nice Lancashire hot pot?

According to new research, it was probably quite some time ago as these dishes, along with things like kedgeree and faggots, are the British meals which could soon be consigned to the history books.

Some might say it’s about time – devilled kidneys aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – but in some ways it’s always a shame when traditions and things we grew up with (some of us of a certain age anyway!) go out of fashion – perhaps for good.

The research, conducted by Deliveroo, revealed that a pretty convincing 91 per cent of the nation now say they prefer “world food” to traditional British meals. Three quarters said they felt the days of us sitting down to a dinner of meat and two veg are pretty much over – I’m not sure that’s strictly true, as most families I know still enjoy a good Sunday roast. Although maybe not if the meat on offer was faggots.

In fact a lot of Brits had never even tried some of the more traditional dishes. And whereas I can understand how 70 per cent have never tasted Devilled Kidneys I was surprised one in three had never sampled a steak and kidney pudding. They don’t know what they’re missing! Even more surprisingly 20 per cent of Brits have never eaten Shepherd’s Pie, and one in four have never had fish pie!

In fact, the Deliveroo list of the top 15 British foods to be consigned to history were:
1. Devilled kidneys (70 per cent have never tried it)
2. Kedgeree (65 per cent)
3. Potted shrimps (59 per cent)
4. Suet pudding (55 per cent)
5. Liver and bacon (54 per cent)
6. Faggots (53 per cent)
7. Steak and kidney pudding (36 per cent)
8. Lancashire hot pot (34 per cent)
9. Bubble and Squeak (34 per cent)
10. Gammon and pineapple (29 per cent)
11. Fish pie (24 per cent)
12. Toad in the Hole (23 per cent)
13. Ham, egg and chips (21 per cent)
14. Mince and potatoes (19 per cent)
15. Shepherd’s Pie (15 per cent)

Of course it’s all down to individual preference, but surely there’s not much controversial in toad in the hole or ham, egg and chips?

So, if we’re all clearly not eating those things, what are we eating? According to the poll, the nation’s favourite food is Italian, followed by Chinese, Indian and Mexican. The favourite dishes were pizza, curries, spaghetti bolognaise and Asian inspired stir fries. All of which we’re a bit partial to as well, so perhaps you win some and you lose some!

Whatever kinds of food you’re in to, we’ll definitely have something to tickle your tastebuds in store. Except maybe faggots….



Saturday, 30 December 2017

Cheers to 2018!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas – and are already looking forward to the next celebration: New Year’s Eve!

It’s been many a year since we headed out on 31st December to pay extortionate prices to get into a club, and then struggle to get a taxi home. Now our New Year’s Eves are all about celebrating with friends and family at home, and enjoying a festive treat or two. Without having to get cold waiting for a taxi, or stressing about whether you’ll actually be able to get close enough to the bar to order a drink given the queues.

So, if you’re celebrating with your nearest and dearest what do we recommend this year, so you can toast the new year in style?

·        Fizz it up - Champagne and Prosecco are always going to go down well, and we have a wide selection to suit all tastes and wallets. What we do also have, to make any glass of fizz extra special, is the wonderful Popaballs Rose Gold Shimmer. Simply add a third of a teaspoon to Prosecco or any sparkling drink and watch it become a swirling, glittering shimmering glass of glam – with a subtle raspberry flavour. Looks stunning and tastes good too!
·        Shaken or stirred – cocktails are always going to be popular! We sell a wide selection of all the base spirits you need to make your favourite mixes. Or if you want to make it super straightforward we have the wonderful Ice & Easy frozen cocktails, including frozen rose and mojito. Just freeze, squeeze and serve – just remember they’re alcoholic as they’re so easy to drink!
·        The year of gin – 2017 was all about the gin, and we’re sure 2018 will continue to be the same! So, what better way to bridge the years than by enjoying a glass of your favourite with a splash of Fevertree tonic? Whether you’re a fan of Sloe Gin, pink gin, Lavender gin, Yorkshire Tea gin or just gin gin, we’ve got it all. And we’re happy to talk to you about it at great length!
·        Wish you were beer – Sometimes you can’t beat a beer. Or a cider. Or an ale. But we love the beers from our town’s very own local microbrewery, the Helmsley Brewing Co. Helmsley Honey or Striding the Riding?
·        Drinks for Des – if you’ve got some designated drivers coming along, or someone who doesn’t drink, we have some great non-alcoholic tipples to make a change from the usual juices and fizzy pop. Seedlip is the world’s first non alcoholic spirit, copper pot distilled, and tastes great with tonic.  Belvoir’s Shiraz without the Hangover, made with grapes, elderberry and blackberry is delicious, and there’s also Chardonnay and Rose versions. Sparkling Elderberry is something else we’ve taken quite a shine to! And all of them guaranteed to leave your head clear and pain free come January 1st.


Whatever you do, we wish you and your family the healthiest and happiest 2018. Hopefully see you all soon!