Monday, 12 June 2017

The best job in the world

Last week we spotted an advert for a job which sounded too good to be true.

The Harris Distillery job description read: “Gin-Lover’s Dream Job: The Isle of Harris is Seeking an Ambassador to represent the spirit of a beautiful, remote Outer Hebridean island just voted Happiest Place in the UK. Best new job if you KNOW London and LOVE Gin. Get paid to spend time in bars and restaurants, be a Special Envoy traveling to the Isle of Harris.”

Well as job descriptions go, it’s a pretty good one! It reminded us of those jobs you sometimes see where you can become caretaker of a beautiful, remote tropical island, or to be an official chocolate taster. Jobs that sound too good to be true (and which they certainly don’t encourage you to focus on at school career’s days).

But then it got us thinking about our own jobs here at Hunters of Helmsley.
To be honest, I think we’re very lucky.

Firstly, we work in the beautiful town of Helmsley. It’s picture postcard pretty, with its babbling brook, imposing castle, beautiful architecture and surrounded by the breathtaking countryside of the North York Moors National Park. Every day we thank our lucky stars we’re based here. And not only that, but we get to work in one of the loveliest, Grade 2 listed, historic buildings slap bang in the town centre.

Secondly, we get to work in a business community which is really something very special. We helped instigate the setting up of Helmsley in Business almost five years ago, and now it has 60 members, a great website for the town (www.visithelmsley.co.uk ), and we even won the Best Market Town accolade at the Great British High Street Awards! But more than that, we have a great community, willing to support and look out for each other, working together for the good of the town. Put that together with the many fantastic local residents who support our local businesses, and again you could say we’re fairly lucky!

Thirdly, at Hunters we’re a pretty nice bunch. Even if we do say so ourselves! We have a good giggle at work, and a great team spirit. Who could ask for more than that?

But there is a final point. There’s all of the above – but also, we get to work with the very best food and drink in the region…country…in fact the world in some cases! And that is our true passion. We love bringing new taste sensations to our customers and encouraging them to try something new alongside the old favourites, which they know they’ll find on our shelves. We also get to scour trade shows and markets and keep our ear to the ground to find the newest and most interesting products and developments. Of course, we have to sample everything we sell, to make sure it’s only the very best we’re offering. It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it!

So, lovely as that job advert sounds, we think we’ll stick where we are.


If you’re looking for a new challenge, have retail experience and you’re passionate about food and drink, we’re always keen to hear from people who might like to become part of our team! Drop us a line at contact@huntersofhelmsley.com


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Getting the taste for something new

We’re always getting new products in store – it’s one of things we love to do, and it makes shopping much more interesting for our regular customers!

One of the perks of our jobs is visiting trade events, suppliers and producers, and finding out what new trends are coming, what new products are in development and what’s the thing that no one has yet heard of, but everyone will be after in a couple of months’ time.

But we’re not always that good at shouting about what’s new – and so we thought it was time to talk about recent additions to our shelves, fridges and freezers, and giving a heads up on what’s selling like the proverbial hot cakes.

If you’re a carnivore at heart, we get some great pork products from nearby Hovingham, including black pudding, gammon, pork slices, bacon, coppa and bresaola. Another great meat product is our frozen pates from Albion Artisan Foods. Great to keep in the freezer, ready for when guests come round, or you’re after a light and easy supper or lunch. All of them have a little twist - my personal favourite is the Chicken Liver Pate with Coronation Chicken.

With the weather taking a turn for the better recently, there’ll no doubt be more than a few barbies going on. Once you’ve finished the main course, how about treating yourselves to a barbecue marshmallow set from Mellow Mallow, or a Hamlet barbecue fondue, with deliciously indulgent Belgian chocolate? Makes the mouth water just thinking about it! We also do some delicious vegan marshmallows, and a range of dairy free chocolate, so no one needs to miss out.

Another sweet treat is the Choc Affair chocolate bars – with something for every taste. How about Mango White Chocolate or Blackcurrant and Liquorice Milk Chocolate for something different?

The plainest of meals can be zinged up with the right accompaniment. Some of our current favourites are of the pickled variety. Wild at Heart does a great range of Pickled Samphire, Kimchi and Sauerkraut. Healthy and delicious! If you fancy something with a creamy edge, how about Seaweed and Wild Garlic Mayonnaise?

Pelegonia is an award-winning Macedonian food range, and we love it. There’s antipasta such as grilled aubergines and zucchini, and traditional meze including Aivar, Luteniza and Malidzano, which are great on bruschetta.

If you’re in a rush, our range of ready to eat Freekeh and Quinoa make the great basis for an easy dinner. Healthy grains, which taste fantastic and are simple to serve – the perfect combination!

Of course, a great cook needs the very best equipment – and to make sure their food is shown off at its best! The stunning Stuart Clarkson range of oak accessories are flying off our shelves. Including everything from chopping boards and candle holders to coasters, there’s something very elegant and tactile about their simple design made in the very best wood.

If you’re looking for something to wash all that down with, how about SLOEmotion’s new Hedgerow Gin, full of infusions from around the farm. Not only does it taste delicious, but it comes in a very attractive bottle too.

Hopefully that’s given you some food for thought – we’d love to see you soon to show you more!




Friday, 26 May 2017

The Great British Sandwich-Off

Here at Hunters we’re not afraid to ask the big questions. And one which has been on our mind lately is…. can a sandwich predict the outcome of the General Election?

Well we’re about to find out!

With recent polls failing to predict everything from Brexit to the future president of the United States (who would have guessed how that would pan out?), we decided to conduct our own research into the upcoming general election.

So, next time you pop in for a bite to eat for lunch, you’ve got a serious choice ahead of you. We’ve introduced a range of sandwiches, with one representing each of the main political parties:

·        ConservativesThe Blue Bloomer, jam-packed with rare topside of beef, Harrogate Blue Cheese and Sloemotion Blackberry Ketchup
·        Labour The Red Roll -  a tangy mix of Wensleydale with Cranberries, sweet chilli jam and juicy tomatoes.
·        Liberal Democrats The Democratic Doorstop – a mouthwatering mix of pastrami, sauerkraut, mustard and Gruyere
·        Green Party – The Green Gourmet -  a fresh and filling combination of Villa Verde Gouda with Pesto, salad and green olives
·        UKIP – Pain au Purple – deep-filled with Smoked Applewood cheese, roasted ham and sliced pickled beetroot

As with all of our sandwiches, they are freshly made to order in store on a choice of white or wholemeal bread bun – and as always, about as deeply filled as you can get! (Sharing is a common scenario with our sandwiches, so it’s to be hoped your lunch buddy has the same political tastes as you). Prices range from £3.50 to £4.50.

We can easily sell several hundred sandwiches in a week, so it should give us a good idea of the region’s leanings.

Most exit polls seem to have gotten it quite wrong recently, and it’s getting trickier for anyone to predict how voting on any subject will go. So, we hope you’ll join in with our bit of fun to see which political party is leading the hearts, minds (and stomachs) of the public before the big day!


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A comforting cuppa – the great British institution

Recently you may have noticed it was National Tea Day. We LOVE a good cuppa at Hunters…but then don’t most of us Brits? There’s something so comforting about a well-made cup of tea in a nice mug or china cup or even a takeaway cup or a travel mug. However it comes, it’s a national treasure.

We love it so much over 200 million cups of the stuff are drunk every single day by us as a nation. (although I probably have about five cups a day, so I contribute more than my fair share towards that figure – apparently that puts me in the top 25 per cent of tea drinkers.)

But there’s two things that that help contribute to a cup of tea being a really enjoyable brew, instead of just a mediocre one. First is the tea used. Loose leaf or tea bags, it’s got to be good quality. We love Twinings, Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate. (we also have lots of herbal and fruit teas if that’s your preference – Pukka do some fantastic ones to help refresh and energise or relax and unwind.)

The second component of a great cup of tea is that it’s the right strength for you. Last week saw some research from Premier Inn that revealed the perfect strength of tea. You can see here for the colour chart that reveals that perfect shade of brown.

But surely everyone has their own personal favourite shade? And although the colour chart offers six options (from nearly black to bordering on never seen a teabag in its life), the beauty of tea is there’s a million different ways of taking it. And everyone has their own personal favourite in terms of strength, milk, sweetness and a biscuit to dunk (got to be a oatie biscuit in my opinion). There’s no right and wrong, it’s just not your cup of tea. Literally and figuratively speaking.

It’s quite funny that, despite the fact that we’re Brits so we don’t like to complain, we will happily tell someone their tea-making skills are terrible. Making a good cuppa is like a badge of honour – and arguments are taking place in offices and homes across the country right now on whose turn it is to put on the kettle.


It’s yours by the way – mine’s Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold with a splash of semi skimmed and no sugar. Thanks!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Celebrate St George’s Day with some great British Food

April 23rd is St George’s Day – a day which is quite often overlooked in our own country (which some might see as slightly odd given the emphasis given to supporting things like National Chocolate Week and National Beer Day - although they both sound pretty good to us too!)

The national celebration of the day dates back to 1415, although it was 1222 when the Council of Oxford first declared the date St George’s Day. St George was persecuted, tortured and killed by the Roman empire for his Christian beliefs, and his death was said to have occurred on 23rd April 303AD. Given this happened in Turkey, quite how his bravery led to him being named patron saint of England is a matter of some debate, but we’re not alone. He is also the Patron Saint of lots of other places, including Barcelona in Catalonia, Russia, Bavaria, Portugal, Lithuania and Hungary.

The legend of St George and the dragon dates back to medieval times. The story is that a dragon was awoken from its sleep and to placate him, the people of the local town offered sheep – and when they ran out, they started offering maidens. Lots were drawn to decide who would be sacrificed and the King’s daughter was chosen. But just as she was about to be given to the dragon, St George came along on his white horse and slayed the dragon to save the princess. Brave indeed!

So how should we celebrate St George’s day? Traditionally people wore a red rose in their lapel, flew the flag and sang Jerusalem.

But what better way to celebrate, we say, then tucking into some traditionally English food and drink?

How about starting the day with a great English fry up? Local bacon and sausages, enjoyed with free range eggs from a local farm, and a loaf of freshly baked bread, made for us by the Devento Bakery in Malton….sound good?

That’s bound to fill you up for a while, but maybe by mid-afternoon you’d be ready for a spot of afternoon tea. Come peruse our range of fine teas – English Breakfast or herbal, tea bags or loose leaf – we can cater to every taste for this great British institution! From Taylors of Harrogate to Twinings, at Hunters we know (and love) our cuppas. (Don’t worry – we do also have some excellent coffees if that’s more to your taste.)


Of course, you’ll need a biscuit, cake, or maybe a scone to go with your afternoon tea. For biscuits, our own range, produced near York, take some beating (even if we do say so ourselves). Try Salted Caramel Shortbread, Lemon Cookies, Apple & Cinnamon Oaties or the ever so moreish Rhubarb and Custard Shortbread – how very British! And if you’ve worked up an even bigger appetite, how about one of our famous deep-filled English roast beef and horseradish sandwiches to start you off?

For dinner, why not enjoy a cheeseboard of English cheeses, paired with some Hunters Hot & Spicy Chutney or Carrot Relish on sourdough crispbread or seeded oatcakes? There’s Whitby Cheese Co.’s Whitby Jet with Chilli, Yorkshire Blue from Shepherd’s Purse, charcoal cheese and lots of goodies from the Wensleydale Creamery.

You’ll want something to drink with your cheese of course, and we do an excellent range of English wines, beers and ales. We’d highly recommend Riding the Striding from the Helmsley Brewing Co, or a bottle of Yorkshire’s Sunset from the Ryedale Vineyard. If cider is more your thing, why not try something from Ampleforth Abbey, or for spirits, SLOEmotion’s Sloe Gin is a winner with everyone.

And to finish off, why not enjoy some locally made ice cream from the guys at Brymor? We even have a diabetic range for those who need or want to watch their sugar intake.

However you choose to spend St George’s Day, we hope it’s a good one – and full of only the very best food and drink! 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Helmsley – the home of great food (and drink!)

We’re very blessed in Helmsley to be surrounded by lots of wonderful independent businesses. When we say the town is made up of one-of-a-kind shops, we really do mean it – it’s a high street unlike any other. Which is a bonus when it comes to finding a new gift idea that hasn’t been done before!
But one thing we love about the town in particular is the abundance of great food and drink businesses. The town is teeming with them! And as you know, we do love our quality food and drink…
We’ve very lucky that only two doors away is the fantastic Crema Coffee Shop. Perfect for when you need a caffeine pick-me-up, their hot chocolates are a welcome indulgence on a chilly day! Rachel, the owner, also does a great line in gluten free cakes (and gluten-filled cakes for that matter), if you’re looking for a sweet treat.
Just slightly down Borogate, there is the marvellous Scott’s Fish and Chips takeaway and restaurant. Yorkshire does the best fish and chips in the world as far as we’re concerned, and when you get the urge for them, nothing else will do! So, we’re very lucky to have such a great fryer just over the road – ideal for picking up an easy tea on the way home!
If pizza or pasta is more your thing and you fancy a spot of Italian, next to Scotts is Gepetto’s. Keeping things fresh and delicious, Gepetto’s is the the place to go for well executed, authentic Italian cuisine – with an occasional twist. Delicious!
Opposite there is the amazing Traditional Sweet Shop. Whether it’s bonbons, sugar mice, lollipops or sherbets, get a quarter of your favourite for while you’re mooching round the town – there’s nothing better!
Porters Coffee Shop, on Bridge Street, is another amazing cafĂ©, run by the wonderful Tony and Monia. We can highly recommend the home-baked scones – and in the summer months Monia makes the most mouth-watering gelato, which is heaven in a heatwave!
The Black Swan Hotel has graced Helmsley’s Market Place for over 500 years, and it’s definitely one of the prettiest hotels around. Enjoy a G&T in their walled garden, or a cocktail in the cosy lounge, before savouring one of their special tasting menus – come with your appetite and prepare to be wowed. Of course all Brits love their tea too – and there’s nowhere better to enjoy Afternoon Tea than at the Black Swan’s own tearooms. Again…you may need to skip breakfast to have room!
The Helmsley Brewing Co. was a welcome addition to the town just a few years ago. Making their own amazing beers (some of which are for sale in our shop), like Striding the Riding and Helmsley Honey, head to the brewery on a Friday night for a pint and a chat with the locals. How many small towns can offer that?
If you’re after some inspiration for dinner, try Marley’s Butchers. They rear and produce 90% of their beef and lamb, and poultry and pork is supplied from local farms. Now we’re entering BBQ season, they’ll be even more on offer to tempt tastebuds!
Over on Castlegate, Auntie Anne’s Bakery is a TV star – the shop was the Yorkshire winner of Britain’s Best Bakery on ITV. As the TV producers found, we can highly recommend the Yorkshire Curd Tarts and Parkin!
If you’re looking for a cake for a special occasion, head to the Walled Garden craft units and talk to Rhian at Celebrate Country Cakes. Her bakes are delicious, and her skills at sugar craft are extraordinary! She created our 25th birthday cake for Hunters – a recreation of the shop made entirely out of cake! We could barely bear to cut into it, it was so stunning (but we did…and it was scrumptious!)

We’ve barely scratched the surface – there’s the Feathers, the Feversham, Helmsley Walled Garden, Helmsley Spice, Thomas the Bakers, Helmsley Wines, The Royal Oak, Ryeburn Ice Cream… and all of these businesses are within a five minute walk of each other! We’re pretty sure with that line up, Helmsley can definitely claim the crown as home of good food!

Best thing since sliced bread – getting serious about sandwiches

Recent research from Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayo revealed that the average Brit will eat a hunger-busting 18,300 sandwiches in their lifetime.

Is that all, we say??

We love a good sarnie. If lunchtime hits, nothing quite beats your favourite filling in between two doorsteps of fresh bread, a soft bun (or bap/barm/cake/roll/cob/stottie depending on where you live!), or a crunchy baguette.

(Although that said, we do love a good sausage roll or pie as well, and they make an excellent lunch…)

We sell at least 50,000 sandwiches every year (that’s enough to loop an Olympic-sized athletics’ track almost 19 times!) so we like to think we have a little insight into the world of sandwiches!

For most of us, the humble sandwich, is still our go-to lunch. It dates back to 1762 when John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, asked the cook to come up with a meal which wouldn’t interfere with his game at the gambling tables.

So we weren’t surprised the Heinz research showed 56 per cent of Brits eat at least one sandwich per day.

We also weren’t surprised that more than one in three have exactly the same filling every day. After all, if you find a combination that tickles your tastebuds, you’re going to want to keep recreating it. What was surprising to us, was what the favourite fillings were!

The poll found a BLT was the nation's top sandwich, with chicken mayo coming in as runner-up. Third in the list was bacon, followed by ham and cheese and then cheese and pickle.

Now, we’ve nothing against a BLT or chicken mayo, or ham or cheese or pickle or any of those combinations. All delicious in their own right WHEN DONE PROPERLY. (that last bit is important – there’s nothing worse than a soggy sandwich, or one that’s too dry, or one where you can barely find the filling.)

But, shock horror, roast beef and horseradish didn’t even make the top 10!! It was number 11, closely followed by chip butties! Now in our shop, roast beef is our number one top seller. So, we’re pretty sure that poll did not include a high percentage of Hunters’ customers!

Of course, our roast beef sandwich is no ordinary roast beef sandwich. We definitely wouldn’t want to be accused of scrimping on the filling, as the photo demonstrates. It’s not unusual for couples to share a Hunters’ sandwich, or for people to wrap up half to take home!

We roast the mouth-watering beef daily on our premises. Nothing beats the smell! Of course, it’s also important the bread is the best – and we use freshly baked white and wholemeal bread buns, which are beautifully soft, made nearby at the Devento Bakery in Malton.

Then whether you like to add salad, horseradish, tomato, butter, mustard – whatever your personal favourite, you can’t go wrong if you have the beef and the bread right.

We can usually make up any sandwich combination you have in mind, but the research did throw in a few unusual combinations that some Brits had named as their personal favourites. Leftover roast dinner we could perhaps understand but marmite and banana, onion rings and ketchup and lasagne – not so much…


Saturday, 1 April 2017

April Fools? Foodie fads we’d rather forget

From deep-fried Mars Bars and bacon ice cream to chocolate flavour crisps and edible insects – there seems to be a never-ending cycle of bizarre-sounding foods that could easily have you thinking it was an April Fools prank.

Something we read about recently which is proving popular on social media is the Espresso Tonic. As the name suggests, this is a shot of espresso mixed with tonic water. We’re not quite sure about mixing these two bitter flavours, but if the idea floats your boat we have the very best of both in store so you can give it a try!

Fermented foods are something which could be seen as a fad – but it’s one we quite like. The sour taste of sauerkraut is one that most people have probably heard of, if not tried, but there’s also Kimchi - a Korean staple made with salted and fermented vegetables, often cabbages, radishes and onions. It’s delicious, and obviously not a fad in Korean cooking – and we suspect it will be around here for quite some time too.

Anyone who has ever seen the image of an Aspic Salad, set in jelly, will know food fads are not a new thing. What once was the height of fashion now just looks a bit…unappetising. A bit more recently, the trend for edible ‘foam’ of all descriptions seems like one which may be looked back on similarly in years to come!

Even more recently, bacon seems to be the flavour du jour. Like most people, here at Hunters we love a good quality bacon sandwich on delicious fresh bread, with just a smidge of your favourite sauce. However, the current trend seems to be to combine bacon with anything sweet - using it on doughnuts, in ice cream, or in biscuits. We’re not quite sure that’s us.

Here at Hunters, we spend a lot of time keeping up to date with current food trends, and trying out new products to introduce to our customers. Only the very best food and drink passes the test. We’re not about fads or fashions, just the very best in terms of quality. Those new trends we think have merit we’re happy to bring on board. Pomegranate molasses or zat"tar were items we noticed were on the rise, and which we think are a great addition to the store, for example. Extra crispy grasshoppers, not so much.


If there’s a trend you’ve spotted or an usual item of food or drink you’d like us to track down, we’d be happy to help – come in and have a chat! 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Hop along to Hunters of Helmsley to pick up egg-sactly what you’re looking for this Easter

As the chocoholics amongst us have no doubt noticed, Easter is on its way and for us foodies the countdown is officially on!

Alongside succulent joints of lamb, freshly baked hot cross buns and fresh fish Fridays, chocolate eggs will of course be on the menu. Eggs and chicks are prevalent during celebrations because they symbolise new life and rebirth, something that we enjoy during spring when animals are born and greenery fills our countryside once more. Within the Christian religion, an egg is also a symbol of the rock used to seal the tomb of Jesus Christ ahead of his resurrection.

Luckily for us, modern Easter eggs aren’t made of rock, or chickens’ eggs for that matter, but of delicious chocolate! The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany during the 19th century, were solid in their form and had a very bitter taste. As culinary developments were made and new techniques invented, the chocolate used became sweeter and the insides were hollowed. Since then the demand for chocolate Easter eggs has sky rocketed with us Brits now buying over 80 million on average every year!

Here at Hunters of Helmsley we love Easter, the long weekend and a chance to celebrate with family and friends. We have a huge selection of eggs and much more just waiting to be popped into your basket this season.

With the average UK child now receiving 8.8 eggs every year, it’s often difficult to find something individual and different. However, we have the solution….look no further than our friends at Ampleforth Plus. Their incredible selection is available in-store now and will leave your little ones in awe. Designs include wacky dinosaurs, classic ducklings and lambs, and a very happy green frog.

As well as local suppliers we also have a huge range of luxury branded eggs. Firm favourites Green and Blacks’ chocolate eggs are all organic and come in a variety of flavours. Lindt and Lindor provide an egg-ceptional amount of both eggs and supporting chocolate gifts. Butlers dark chocolate eggs, wrapped in opulent purple packaging, are the perfect option for someone seeking something not-so-sweet, whilst their bags of mini eggs will come in handy should an impromptu Easter egg hunt take place.

For praline lovers, the Libeert Easter egg’s hollow Belgian chocolate shell comes filled with mini praline eggs. Those seeking an eggs-perience will also love cracking open the real egg shell exterior of a Gut Springenheide egg to reveal its indulgent praline interior.

If you’re looking for smaller gifts or add-ons, why not take a look at our selection of mini eggs and none-chocolate Easter presents. Our cute lamb mugs are perfect for that first cup of tea of the day, whilst our egg cups come complete with little chick’s feet and a very sweet design.


With all of that in mind you would be hopping mad to miss out on the Easter fun we have in-store!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The cherry on the cake – help us be cream of the crop with the Great British Food Awards

We’re absolutely delighted to have been nominated for the second year in a row as Best Independent Retailer in the North of England in the Great British Food Awards!

We were over the moon to be awarded a highly commended last year, but how amazing would it be if this we got crowned overall winner?!

Well to be in with a chance, we need to ask YOU, our loyal customers and friends to vote for us! To do so, you need to log on to www.greatbritishfoodmagazine.com/awards before 17th July. It should only take two minutes and you can vote in as many or as few categories as you like. As an added bonus, voters will also be put into a prize draw to win one of 36 prizes worth £7,000, including holidays, hampers and kitchenware. So it’s well worth doing!

There are five Northern businesses in the category, and to us it was no surprise that three of us are in North Yorkshire! There’s so many fantastic foodie businesses in the region, we’re extremely lucky to have it all on our doorstep. 

The awards, which are now in their fourth year, celebrate the country's finest home-grown ingredients, as well as those who produce and cook with them, and includes categories covering food writers, TV personalities, cookbooks, restaurants and retailers. Results will be announced in September, and celebrity judges include John Torode, Rachel Allen, Val Warner and Nathan Outlaw.

We love what we do, and good food and drink is our obsession – especially when it’s locally produced. We’re so lucky to be able to combine our professional live with a personal passion. Winning awards is lovely, but we feel like we’ve won the jackpot every day! But we couldn’t do it without you, our loyal customers. So thank you for your support – it means more than you could know!



Saturday, 4 March 2017

Spring into action this season

Lambs are starting to leap through green fields, the days are getting longer and the weather is beginning to warm up. Spring is almost here!

Of course, for us foodies the season also brings with it Easter weekend, a time for feasting with family and friends. As the bank holiday weekend draws closer and balmy evenings spent in the garden become a possibility we’re thinking about all things Spring.

If you’re planning a couple of get-togethers over the long weekend you’re sure to need plenty of beverages ready for thirsty guests. We love a refreshing Masons Gin paired with an icy cold Fever Tree tonic water or how about a delicious Sloe gin from SLOEmotion? The brand’s Yorkshire Fruit Cup No 7 mixed with lemonade tastes of summer days!

Those seeking a perfect bottle of wine will be spoilt for choice. We carry more carefully selected (and personally tested, of course!) Sauvignon Blancs, Merlots, Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs than you could need and are on hand with expert knowledge should you want it. For beer lovers, our selection of 40 locally brewed bottles includes ales, beers, lagers and ciders sure to suit a variety of palettes.

Following a night full of lovely drinks, a big brunch could well be in order. We recommend Ian Taylor’s free-range farm eggs, poached and served with locally reared back bacon and freshly baked bread. All of which are available in store and guaranteed to fuel you ahead of a walk around Helmsley’s beautiful countryside to clear those cobwebs!

A charcuterie board is a guaranteed crowd pleaser that will turn any gathering into a celebration. Enjoy smooth Somerset Brie on top of a Peter’s Yard Crisp Bread, or how about a slice of Port Salut or some Stinking Bishop to really tantalize your taste buds. Add some green olives bathed in garlic oil and herbs or stuffed with pimiento peppers for a taste of the Mediterranean. And finish by bringing some perfectly aged salamis to the table. We have a huge selection in store that can be chosen and sliced to perfection before you bring them home, you can even have a taste to decide which one is your favourite before you buy.

Those looking to feed the masses with a quick but luxurious meal should look no further than our selection of pastas and sauces. We have an extensive range of authentic delicious bronzed and egg  Italian pastas that can be quickly cooked and served, the ideal dish to have squirreled away should unexpected guests come calling. Add some truffle oil or grated truffles to really liven up the dish. Alternatively, a baked camembert can be quickly prepared and enjoyed in a relaxed sharing atmosphere, perfect to enjoy by a roaring fire should the British weather elude us!


Of course, Easter also brings along with it a lot of the nation’s favourite sweet treat, chocolate! Keep your eyes peeled for a full blog on our Easter offerings or head in store to check out our selection of eggs and much, much more. 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Healthy living made easy

We recently read that one in five people chose to diet and eat healthily as their New Year’s Resolution on January 1st. However, statistics have shown that the majority apparently broke their resolution within 9 days, whoops… If you’re one of the many that cracked, do not fear, Hunters of Helmsley is here!

With the treats we have in store, healthy eating needn’t be a bind. We have snacks, drinks and meal ideas to get you back on track and loving a very healthy lifestyle. So, what are we waiting for? It’s time to crank up the spiralizer, dust off those old trainers and prepare to post every meal we eat onto Instagram.

We’ll start with something to quench a thirst and keep you going. We have a huge range of teas that are great for providing vitamins and minerals whilst keeping you hydrated. We’re loving Tea Pigs, Taylors of Harrogate and Cartwright and Butler to name only a few alongside our own delicious blends ranging from the herbal to the ever so fruity.

Enjoy a light dinner or lunch of a warming bowl of Yorkshire Provender soup. Many are gluten free with delectable flavours including beetroot with horseradish, carrot and butternut, chicken and butternut and even vegan Moroccan vegetable tagine, yum! Our Ian Taylor free-range fresh farm eggs could be the perfect snack when boiled and served with spinach on the go, or as a base to lots of fab recipes. Whip up a vegetable filled omelette, scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast or flour-free banana pancakes using egg whites. If you’re missing a great British fry up, swap it for a satisfying brunch of poached eggs and Staal Smokehouse smoked salmon, full of good fats.

Those feeling conscious of supermarket nasties will enjoy taking to the kitchen to make their own bread whilst simultaneously filling their homes with that unmistakable smell. Use Wessex Mill’s wholemeal rye flour, Side Oven’s stoneground organic wholemeal or Biona’s coconut flour as the base to a brilliant bake. That way you know exactly what you’re eating and can be sure that sugar hasn’t snuck its way in. Alongside bread, a healthier option to satisfy a savoury craving comes in the form of Scrubbys vegetable crisps. These crunchy creations are gluten free and offer fewer calories without sacrificing taste - we love the four vegetable blend.

If you’re stocking up on lunchtime salad ingredients, our Brianna’s home style dressing is an absolute must. Options in-store include poppy, Dijon honey mustard and creamy blue cheese for those seeking something indulgent on top of all that goodness. For a tangy treat, Little Doone’s sweet balsamic vinegar is just perfect drizzled onto ripe vine tomatoes. If you want to add some pizazz to your meal enjoy venison steaks. Venison has the highest protein and lowest cholesterol count of any mainstream meat and is also extremely sustainable, win win!

So even if you did fall off the healthy eating wagon in January, it’s never too late to get back on track!


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Hip hip hooray, it’s pancake day!



Whip out the old frying pan, pancake day is just around the corner!

Taking place on the 28th of February this year, Shrove Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday and is linked to the festival of Easter. Traditions stem back thousands of years with events beginning by a bell being rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the ‘Pancake Bell’ and is still rung today. Anglo Saxon Christians would then travel to their churches and take part in confession before being ‘shriven’ (absolved from their sins). Following this process, some would choose to fast for 40 days. Many people still choose to take part in lent and give up luxury items for 40 days during the run up to Easter.

Of course, all of this is very interesting but here at Hunters of Helmsley we’re always keen to know where food comes into it. The familiar ‘pancake day’ was thought up as a way of finishing off any perishable rich foods, like eggs, milk and sugar in order to avoid waste. Whilst we may not be quite as thrifty or strict in the modern world, we do still love to celebrate pancake day!

In order to create the perfect pancake we must start with the basic mix. Take fresh milk, free-range local eggs (available in store) and flour. We have lots of different varieties including regular, coconut, buckwheat, rice and tapioca, ideal for those with allergies or intolerance's. We also have an array of oils that will make flipping a piece of cake.

Once cooked it’s time to indulge with some terrific toppings. We have an array of fruit and chocolate sauces, date, agave and maple syrups and sugars. We also have a variety of nut butters from the amazing Natural World. These delightful butters come in Almond and Coconut, Pecan and Fig, Pistachio or Hazelnut and Carob.
For those seeking something savoury and satisfying, add some pizazz with tasty cheese. A striking blue can really hit the spot whilst a mellow cheddar compliments tangy Marmite or chutney beautifully. Finally, why not create a real show stopper by flambéing your pancake in rum or cognac, delish!

So, pop into Hunters for everything you need this pancake day. You’d be flipping mad not to! 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Love is in the air with Hunters of Helmsley

The romantics amongst us are looking forward to Valentine’s Day coming around once more on the 14th of February.

There, St Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and sent her a goodbye letter signed ‘from your Valentine’ on February 14th, the day of his execution. Of course, his ending sentiment has filled greeting cards for centuries since with people young and old sharing the love.
Lovers across the nation are set to send cards and gift their partners with flowers, teddies, trinkets, trips away and much more. At least they better be, or they’ll be in big trouble…

Here at Hunters of Helmsley, food and drink is more our thing so we’re stocking up shelves with pressies guaranteed to keep you in the good books. Treat the love of your life with a box of Butlers chocolate, adorned in special Valentine packaging. Make them melt with everyone’s favourite Lindor balls, available in 6 flavours chocolate


Why not spoil the love of your life with a hamper full of goodies – and if you’re lucky they might share! There’s ready made hampers which can be delivered across the country, or we’ll happily make you your own full of your favourite’s favourites!

Those wanting to bring a bit of sparkle into their relationship, can pop open a bottle of Taste of Paradise sparkling wine and make it extra special with Wild Hibiscus flowers filling up the bottom.

Finally, those looking to spoil their other half with a slap-up meal can pop instore for cooking advice and all the ingredients needed for a romantic feast. We have a selection of treats including smoked salmon, meats and cheeses that will make a beautiful platter. Pheasant, fish and beef will make an excellent centrepiece for a posh dinner whilst Chapman's fish Wellingtons provides an easier an extremely reliable option.

With that in mind, all that’s left to do is enjoy spending quality time with your special person.





Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Making Dry January Fun


The Dry January phenomenon seems to have sprung up quite suddenly, however, those in Europe have been participating for some time. Following WW2, the Finnish government launched a campaign called ‘Sober January’ as part of its war effort and this practice was carried on through the following years.

Here in the UK, many now pledge to keep away from drinks and ask people to sponsor them on their ‘Dry-athon’. Charities including Cancer Research and Alcohol Concern support those undertaking the challenge and gain lots of donations in the meantime. Many also choose to put down the glass in order to detox and enjoy a healthier lifestyle whilst also losing a few pounds.

Whatever your reasons, here at Hunters of Helmsley we want to make sure that you see the month out with tasty non-alcoholic treats that your taste buds will thank you for.
 Take a look at our wide range of soft drinks including Fentimans old fashioned lemonade, cherry cola and dandelion and burdock to name a few. Folkingtons sparkling Elderflower is sure to provide a refreshing lift whilst their range of juices are a real treat. San Pellegrino’s Limonata, Aranciata and Aranciata Rosa are guaranteed to ensure you don’t miss any of the stronger stuff.

On top of all that, Belvoir’s lovely bottles and La Mortuacienne’s selection of extra special lemonades will fill the void in a celebration.


If you need something warming and comforting, brew up a cup of tea and chose from our huge selection of beautiful brews. Options from Twining’s and Pukka include peppermint, green teas, fruit and classics such as English breakfast and Earl Grey. You’re sure to have a pep in your step after a steaming mug of coffee, we stock Taylors of Harrogate and Grumpy Mule amongst others, and have a selection of instant, ground and beans instore.


After that we hope you’re feeling ready to take on the last few days of Dry January, we’re all behind you! And if you’re a bit behind the times you can always go for a Dry February

Monday, 16 January 2017

What will we eat in 2017

If you believed everything you read, the food we eat is becoming more wacky, wonderful and weird by the day with new trends coming onto the gastronomic scene constantly. But in and amongst the strangest of suggestions are some fantastic new ideas and tastes which we love to explore at Hunters

Personalities like Deliciously Ella, Joe Wicks and Zanna Van Dijk are filling our social feeds with their clean eating lifestyles and we are loving it! With January being a traditionally healthy month they are just the inspiration we need to keep to our resolutions and make positive changes.

 

This got us thinking about healthy food trends and what experts are telling us we will love in 2017. Items set to make our taste buds tingle and waistlines shrink include pulses, smoked food and even insects (apparently they’re full of protein!) Here at Hunters of Helmsley we aren’t claiming that everything we eat and love is super healthy but we are fans of enjoying treats that taste good and make us feel good too.

 

If news headlines claiming that sugar is the devil have you hoping to cut back on the sweet stuff in 2017 take a look at our alternatives. Our selection of maple, date and agave syrups are great solutions when seeking healthier substitutes to processed sugar. If you want to reduce your intake of gluten or have an intolerance, take a look at our free-from range. We have a selection of gluten-free pastas, breads, crackers, pastries and cakes that are perfect for you. 

 

With the trend for healthy breakfasts set to continue, celebrities will be filling our screens with beautiful brunches. Our fresh farm eggs are lovely poached and will keep you going right through to lunch time. If you want to try something new check out savoury porridge. Using Yockenthwaite Farm oats topped with items including cheese, vegetables and even bacon they are deliciously different! Those wanting to stick to the classics can top their oats with Natural World nut butters. Flavours such as Almond and Coconut, Pecan and Fig, Pistachio or Hazelnut and Carob are our favourites!

As many people become increasingly aware of global issues they are also taking to an increasingly vegetarian – or frequently a flexitarian - diet. We carry a range of Yorkshire Provender broths, soups and bisques amongst others. A particular favourite here is the pea and spinach with fresh mint, a tasty flavour which is perfect for getting those greens in.

So why not try something new this January? If you’re looking for advice and recommendations we love nothing better than a good chat with our customers – and if you’ve spotted an obscure food trend you’re dying to try, we’ll see what we can do to help you out!



Sunday, 8 January 2017

Snap up a Sandwich

They’re the simple, quick and delicious meal option that us Brits go crazy for. Whether it’s filled with bacon for a hearty breakfast, has its crusts removed before being added to a school pack-up or is quickly scoffed at our desks, the sandwich is a national treasure!

Birds Eye recently commissioned a survey into the nation’s top 50 sandwiches in a bid to find out what we’re filling our lunch boxes with and the results are in. The research revealed that the favourite amongst those interviewed is a simple ham & cheese sandwich, with 35.5% of respondents selecting it as the ultimate sarnie.

In second place was the warming fish finger sandwich at 27% and rounding off the top three was chicken & bacon at 26.5%. The previous year’s 3rd place, the BLT, received 21% of the vote toppling down to fifth place. Take a look at the full results below:

1. Ham and Cheese 
2. Fish Fingers 
3. Chicken & Bacon
4. Chicken & Mayonnaise 
5. BLT 
6. Sausage 
7. Cheese & Tomato 
8. Crisp
9. Tuna & Cucumber 
10. Egg & Cress 

Here at Hunters of Helmsley we are butty fanatics and would perhaps even go as far as to call ourselves experts in the field (we sell upwards of 50,000 a year – does that qualify us as an expert?). If you want to make your own, we have a delicatessen in store that is just bursting with sandwich fillers galore. We also carry a wide range of breads and baked goods including gluten free options.

Alternatively we can freshly prepare you a sandwich to take away all day every day. Our selection includes familiar favourites such as tuna, various cheese varieties, smoked salmon, prawn mayonnaise and locally reared hams. But by far and away the best seller is our home-cooked roast beef, served with a little bit of salad and horseradish. Simply delicious.

If you’re in the mood for something different take a look at our daily specials, many of which include combinations you may have never sampled but are guaranteed to love. You might remember our summer special, the South American Bauru sandwich. Locally sourced beef roasted daily on site, combined with melted mozzarella, zingy pickles and juicy tomatoes made it a real favourite here (keep an eye out for seasonal sandwiches in the future!)

As well as rolls, baps and freshly baked loaves, our lunchtime menu is full of other tasty treats that are sure to fill the spot. Try our delicious homemade quiches, deep filled pies, flaky pastries and special sausage rolls before washing them down with a cooling (or warming) drink from our wide selection.


So….is it midday yet?