Thursday, 17 August 2017

Is the dinner party dead? Or just having a post-food nap….

We spotted some research back in July which caught our eye. Apparently, the dinner party is ‘dead’ and will soon be consigned to the history books…

The survey, conducted by Anglian Home Improvements, showed that more than eight out of 10 of us think informal kitchen suppers have replaced the dinner parties of old.

There are even rules for modern day entertaining – apparently serving anything on a stick is not acceptable, and you should never discuss TV, work or children (what’s wrong with a bit of Game of Thrones chat over a pineapple and cheese hedgehog?)

Some of the advice we could get on board with though – for example, not texting at the table, complementing the chef, serving olives from the local deli rather than a jar (we do offer a great range!) and making sure what you serve is seasonal.

Apparently we host an average of 36 supper and lunch parties at home every year – splashing out an impressive £3K on food and drink for our pals, according to the poll. Saturday night is the nation’s favourite time to entertain, followed by Friday night.

We’re inclined to agree that entertaining is just as likely to be an informal kitchen table catch up as a more formal three course meal (although we certainly don’t think those have gone the way of the dodo just yet). Ultimately, like with all choices related to food and drink, it depends what you enjoy. If you enjoy cooking chicken breast in parma ham (another no-no according to the survey for some reason), and your guests enjoy eating it then go for it.

It certainly seems that Saturday is the day for entertaining and come the weekend we’ll often have people pop in for inspiration on what food to serve. Always popular is a selection of antipasta and nibbles, and platters bursting with roasted vegetables, cheese, meats and pates served with fresh bread, crispbreads and crackers and a selection of pickles and chutneys on the side. Delicious!

We’d highly recommend some of our traditional Macedonian Meze from Pelegonia to make some mouthwatering bruschetta – the Aivar is a sweet red pepper variety combined with aubergine, which goes with pretty much everything. A perfect starter or something to nibble.

So, is the dinner party dead? We think not. But whatever your idea of an ideal meal to share with family and friends, we’re sure we can help with some fresh thinking. Although we will always love a prawn cocktail…






Monday, 14 August 2017

A spot of afternoon tea

14th August marks the start of Afternoon Tea Week – definitely a week we can get behind!

The tradition dates back to the 1840s when the Seventh Duchess of Bedford found herself a bit peckish in the long gap in between lunch and dinner at 8pm. And so Afternoon Tea was born. I wonder if she knew the legacy she was creating? (her and the Earl of Sandwich should be very proud!)

Everyone loves afternoon tea. Whether it’s the full on sandwich fingers and 17 different types of cake or it’s ‘just’ a well made cuppa with a scone smothered in jam and then cream (that way round please, it’s the only way), it’s all good.

It needs to start with the perfect cup of tea of course. We’re partial to a bit of Yorkshire Tea, unsurprisingly, and we also love Taylors of Harrogate, Pukka and Twinings. We even sell loose leaf tea so you can brew a proper pot. And we’ve a tea for every mood – whether you like an Earl Grey or a Wild Apple and Cinnamon, we should have something to hit the spot.

For an extra special cup of tea, the Flora range takes some beating. If you’ve never tried a flowering tea, you’ve no idea what you’re missing! When placed in boiling water, not only does it create a subtle green tea of your choosing, but a hidden flower uncurls in the cup. It’s very beautiful, and one cup of tea which should really be enjoyed in a wine glass, not china!

Of course, the clue to afternoon tea is in the name – tea – but if you’re more a fan of coffee we won’t tell. You can buy loose beans from us by weight, and we’ll even grind them for you. The Brazilian Sweet River is a popular choice. Taylors of Harrogate have some great ready to grab bags for your cafetiere from the relaxed Lazy Sunday to the strong and smoky After Dark. Grumpy Mule offer some award-winning blends, including organic and Fairtrade.

Cakes is something we have plenty of at Hunters, have no fear. We have some great fruit cakes from the Harrogate Cake Co (every afternoon tea stand needs a slice of tea loaf), and we’d highly recommend the new range we have in from famous Cotswolds’ bakery Huffkins. Apricot and Almond Fruitcake anyone? Or how about Chocolate and Orange or Pecan and Cherry?

We have our own range of biscuits, and we don’t like to boast, but they’re pretty amazing. Rhubarb and custard shortbread, chocolate crumbles, lemon and white chocolate shortbread, apple and cinnamon oaties – whether you’re a dunker or a cruncher, they’re definitely more than moreish. We also stock the delicate Swedish favourites Annas Thins – cappuccino, orange and almond varieties. They’re great on their own, but you can also pair them with cheese or fruit.

An afternoon tea should really include a good quality scone – and the best quality preserves and cream. How about Blackberry and Elderflower Jam, Apricot, or even a spot of Tutti Frutti? Or if a traditional strawberry or raspberry jam is what you need to call it a cream tea, we have plenty of those too. You could go crazy and try it with our Three Fruit Marmalade or even *whispers* a lemon curd. But we don’t want to upset the status quo. (as in the norm – we don’t think Francis Rossi cares much what you have on your scone).

So go on….treat yourself. You only live once and if you can’t enjoy Afternoon Tea Week, well, what’s the world coming to?!



Monday, 7 August 2017

Far Eastern Flavours

Far Eastern foods have seen a surge in popularity over the last decade – and it seems to be showing no sign of slowing down.

We spend over £500million a year on buying noodles and rice to cook at home. And from Yo Sushi to Wagamama, Japanese restaurants are now a frequent sight on most city high streets, while nearly every town can offer up a tempting array of Chinese and Thai food.

But what about if you fancy cooking up a Pan Asian feast at home? Don’t worry – Hunters is here to help! Much as we very obviously adore our local Yorkshire produce, we do also love to experiment with flavours from around the world, and if you head upstairs in our Helmsley shop, you’ll find shelves dedicated to the very best products from around the globe.

If it’s Thai that tickles your fancy, we have some great curry pastes from Thai Taste. As well as Red and Green Curry, why not try Yellow Curry or Tom Yum Paste – you can create the famous soup, or use it as a delicious marinade. if you’re making everything from scratch, stock up on Shrimp and Tamarind Paste, Sriracha Sauce and palm sugar to create your own masterpieces. Don’t forget the sticky rice or rice noodles!

If you’re turning Japanese, as the 80s song declared, we stock everything from Rice Mirin and Miso to Wasabi and Umeboshi paste. (We also sell a wonderful Wasabi Mayonnaise, which is great if you like a kick you can add to your everyday meals!). Why not try some of Clearspring’s organic tofu and soba noodles? Panko breadcrumbs from Blue Dragon are perfect if you fancy making a chicken Katsu. We also sell tempura mix, to create the light and crispy batter famous in Asian cuisine.

Create Chinese dishes that knock the local takeaway out of the water with our shelves offering everything from fish and oyster sauce to hoisin. And not forgetting a few prawn crackers to nibble along the way!

If you fancy eating Malaysian tonight, we sell Nasi Goreng Paste, to help you capture the flavours of the much-loved fried rice dish, Kicap Manis and Laksa or Rendang Curry paste from the wonderful Malay Taste range.

Those with food intolerances needn’t miss out. We stock gluten free soy sauce to help those with allergies enjoy Far Eastern flavours. The Great Taste award-winning Natural World Coconut Cream takes some beating when it comes to creating creamy curries, in our opinion – and is great for those who follow a dairy free diet.

Whatever you feel like cooking up, we’re happy to help (that is, explain what products you might want to try – we’re not coming to your house to chop up veg or anything…).


Think of the money you’ll save on takeaways!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Head to Hunters for a n-ice (cream) pint



They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – or should that be beerholder… And we’ve got a beauty of an offering for customers this summer!

In honour of International Beer Day on 4th August, we’ve got an exciting new product launching. Beer and ice cream may not sound the most likely of combinations – but that’s what we’ve done!

Visitors to our famous ice cream window on Helmsley’s Market Place can choose from an alcoholic or non-alcoholic Ginger Beer Float, available from 4th August until further notice.

Just the other week, we were all reminiscing in store about the Coke Floats we used to enjoy as a child – so it seemed like a great idea to combine the two!

We like to be thorough, and so we’ve done a few taste tests to find the best balance (hic…) and we think we’ve come up with the perfect mix. It’s all down to incorporating the very best ingredients. We’re using Crabbies alcoholic or Fentimen’s non-alcoholic ginger beer, served in a takeaway glass, topped with either rich and creamy vanilla or tangy ginger ice cream, both from local firm Brymors. The cost is £3.95 for an alcoholic version and £3.50 for the soft drink variety.

All variations of combinations are utterly delicious, and very refreshing on a warm day. We think even those who wouldn’t normally bat an eyelid at a beer celebration will be pleasantly surprised, and it’s something a little bit different for the beer traditionalists. (We know some may say Ginger Beer isn’t technically a ‘beer’ but the name has got to count for something….and regardless, the taste is fantastic!)

Ale in a day’s work.

Wish you were beer?

(sorry, we’ll stop now….)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Great Yorkshire Food (and not a Yorkshire Pudding in sight)

It’s one of our favourite days of the year – Yorkshire Day!

Of course we love the day which celebrates all things Yorkshire, being a Yorkshire brand through and through, as well as having Yorkshire owners born and bred.

We are very lucky to have some of the best food and drink in the world produced right on our very doorstep. When we say we could fill our shelves 10 times over with more wonderful Yorkshire produce, we’re not exaggerating! It’s one of the reasons we like to keep refreshing our stock with new ideas (but don’t worry, we try not to get rid of any old favourites either!). Yorkshire food isn’t all about the Yorkshire Pudding (although don’t get us wrong – we love them too!)

With at least 70 per cent of what we sell coming from Yorkshire, you don’t need to look too far to find some Yorkshire goodies to enjoy this August 1st.

You can start with a morning cuppa from Yorkshire Tea (of course!) or if you’re a coffee drinker, Taylors of Harrogate offer a perfect brew.

Grab some Yockenthwaite Real Nutty Granola, made up in the Dales, or some locally reared bacon or free range eggs to enjoy with fresh bread made by the Derventio Bakery in Malton. We even have locally made butter and of course Hunters own range of delicious thick cut marmalades and fruit preserves.

If you’re feeling peckish by lunchtime why not grab one of our famous deep-filled sandwiches? Our roast beef and horseradish is the best seller, and we roast our own beef and ham on the premises. The smell is divine! Grab a packet of Yorkshire Crisps and one of our delicious, fruity Chubby Hunters and you’re set!

If you’ve room for a little afternoon snack, why not try one of the Harrogate Cake Co’s delicious bakes? The Pink Himalayan Salted Caramel is to die for, or you can’t beat tea loaf. Or we’ve plenty of proper Yorkshire Parkin to tuck in to!

If there’s time for a pre-dinner tincture, how about a G&T with one of the locally produced Masons or SLOEmotion flavoured gins? Or maybe a beer from the Yorkshire Heart brewery or Helmsley Brewing Co? Or if wine is more your thing, we have a great range from the award-winning Ryedale Vineyards. A glass of Yorkshire Lass anyone?

Dinner time comes and the world’s your oyster! Or maybe Yorkshire’s your shellfish is more accurate for this particular post. We’ve meats and sauces and oils and accompaniments from around the region to allow you to cook up a storm – whether it’s a light and healthy salad, or a curry with a kick.
For dessert, there’s always the deliciously creamy Brymor ice cream, or why not stock up on some cheese, biscuits and chutneys? Our range of Yorkshire cheeses includes the very best of Wensleydale and Swaledale and all kinds of other dales.  

Evening comes and surely there’s space for a little treat – why not try our own range of delicious chocolates – a Milk Chocolate Maple and Pecan Leaf perhaps or a Dark Chocolate Violet Cream?

And if you can manage all that….don’t worry, we’ve barely scratched the surface - there’s plenty more to tuck into tomorrow!

Happy Yorkshire Day!

Monday, 3 July 2017

The rise of the vegan

You don’t have to look that far back to find a time when vegetarians were considered ‘unusual’ and vegans were a very rare find indeed.

But in the last 10 years, the number of vegans – who eschew all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs and honey – has risen by almost 250 per cent to 500,000 people.

And it seems like vegans are often in the news. Famous bloggers are covering the internet with recipes tasty enough to tempt even a passionate meat eater. Forest Green Rovers has become the first league football club where the sale of all animal products is banned. No meat pies for fans there!

Celebrities are happy to vocalise why they’ve gone vegan – and it’s not just Gwyneth Paltrow, but people like Brad Pitt, Alicia Silverstone, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, J-Lo, Tobey MacGuire, Pamela Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Michelle Pfeiffer.

There’s even plenty of vegan sportspeople to look to for inspiration – especially for those worrying the change may leave them lacking in energy or protein. They include Venus and Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Jermain Defoe, Phil Neville, and looking back a few years the medal and grand slam winning Carl Lewis and Martina Navratilova enjoyed meat-free diets as they competed.

Young people seem to be driving the trend in particular, with 40 per cent of vegans aged 15-34.

The reasons for going vegan vary – animal welfare, environmental concerns, wanting to lose weight or improve health, cost-cutting and just a plain dislike of the taste of animal products are all common reasons.

But, in reality, for some people the choice doesn’t have to be cut and dry. Some try to eat vegan during the week, and are a bit more relaxed on weekends. Others are vegan, except for the occasional egg provided by a friendly free-roaming chicken in a neighbour’s garden. Maybe you’d love to be a vegan, but you just can’t give up cheese – well then don’t. There are no hard and fast rules, and people should be able to eat the way that suits them without feeling guilty. In fact, the term flexitarian was thought up for people who are largely vegetarian but occasionally enjoy a bit of meat.

If you are vegan, or you fancy trying out some vegan products, we have plenty in store at Hunters of Helmsley. Create a fresh and tasty salad from our deli bar, or why not grab a carton of Yorkshire Provender soup? We also sell coconut and almond milk – we’ve tried them all and we think the best are the Rude Health range. Upstairs we have crispbreads and crackers, pastas and rices, pulses and grains galore, along with chutneys, oils, vinegars, spices, herbs, sauces, preserves – everything you need to zing up a lunch or add a splash of flavour to dinner. We have jars of antipasti and pickled veggie delights and products from around the world to try.

We even have a dedicated dairy-free section, which is full of snacks and treats – so there’s no need to miss out on a biscuit, cake or sweets if the mood takes you.


So, vegan, vegetarian, meat-eater, pescatarian, flexitarian – whatever best describes you, you’re sure of a warm welcome at Hunters. And we’ll always find you something to make sure you leave our door excited to get home and eat!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Foodie fibs

There was a recent bit of research out which revealed that millions of us Brits like to tell a little white lie now and then to appear more cultured than we really are.

According to the survey, which was carried out by MSC Cruises, these little porky pies included what books people have read, films they’ve watched and even where they’ve travelled, with one in five claiming to have been somewhere they haven’t. You better hope the person you’re speaking to on that occasion hasn’t really been there then!

But apparently quite a few of us are also fibbing about what foods we like to eat. Almost a third of Brits are making out they enjoy things they secretly hate, to make themselves seem like a foodie.

When we looked at the top 20 list of things they pretend to like, it turns out we actually do like pretty much all of it! (OK – personally, I’m not a big fan of oysters and sweetbreads aren’t my thing, but rare steak, smelly cheese and dark chocolate – delicious!)

So, the top 20 are:
1. Sushi
2. Dark chocolate
3. Rare steak
4. Quinoa
5. Oysters
6. Craft ales
7. Smelly cheese
8. Hot chillies
9. Avocado
10. Granola
11. Raw Vegetables
12. Sweetbreads
13. Kale
14. Korean food
15. Kimchi
16. Sashimi
17. Courgetti
18. Rye Bread
19. Bowl food (Congee)
20. Aged meat 

But maybe it’s because people aren’t trying the good stuff. Properly done sushi, a delicious Granola like the ones we stock from Yockenthwaite, a good quality Kimchi (Biona's)– we’re pretty sure we could change most people’s minds.

We reckon it’s possibly that people haven’t even tried some of these, but they’re wanting to appear up on current trends. Of course, it’s each to their own, and if you don’t like smelly cheese, a big slice of Stinking Bishop is probably never going to appeal. But why not go outside your comfort zone and try something new today? We’ve got lots of ideas and inspiration waiting for you….and we’re always happy to recommend our own favourites!


And next time someone tells you they’ve read War & Peace, watched Romeo and Juliet and visited New Zealand (which apparently are the top fibs told) maybe just have a question or two ready to see if they’re being entirely honest!