Edward Street Bakery – Saltaire’s Tastiest Secret

man standing behind bakery counter

I first heard about a ‘secret’ pop up bakery in Saltaire (West Yorkshire) from my mother-in-law, Marie.  Clearly far more on the ball with the local food scene than us, she instructed us to follow @edwardstbakery on Twitter, keep our eyes peeled, and all would be revealed.

We were rewarded a few weeks later, when tweets emerged promising imminent bread, cake and pizza treats.  Rye, raisin and caraway bread, pumpkin loaves, homemade croissants, pretzels flavoured with fennel, pistachio custard doughnuts – catnip to a conneisseur of carbs like me.

Tray of pretzelsHomemade pretzels dusted with herbs

The Edward Street Bakery is run out of a tiny, stone-flagged front room of one of the many Victorian terraces in the pretty village of Saltaire.  Edward Street is tucked away off the main drag of Victoria Street and the famous Salts Mill.   A no-thoroughfare road that you might scoot past, were it not for the lure of pastry, cakes and yeasted delights.

Exterior of houses on Edward Street, SaltaireSpot the bakery

We didn’t see the bakery until we were in sniffing distance of the baked goods.  An unassuming (though rather lovely shade of blue) door with a glimpse of a sign in the window was the only giveaway.

Exterior of the Edward St Bakery

Window of the Edward Street BakeryAh ha! Found it.

As we entered we were met with racks of fresh bread, huge trays of pizza just out of the oven, oozing custard doughuts and golden, crisp French pasties.  Spoilt for choice, I attempted to buy up most of the shop.

Loaves of bread on metal shelvesI’ll have one of everything please

Laden with goodies, we also succumbed to the freshly brewed coffee (from local roasters Casa Espresso) and left very happy customers. We breakfasted and err… desserted like kings for the next few days and stocked up the freezer with pillow-soft bread baps.

three cakes and cake forksAlmond and coconut Bakewell, millionaire slice with Northern Star porter and peanut butter cornflake tart

Since then we’ve been regular visitors – stalking them on twitter ahead of each Saturday opening, drooling at the menus and keeping track of their link ups with other local suppliers at events like the Lishman’s Butchers’ Barbeque in Ilkley (cakes + expertly barbecued meat = heaven).

On returning I’ve also managed to look past the edible eye candy to admire the simple, low-key decor – the bare brick, open shelves, stainless steel counters and funky neon signs.  These guys have excellent taste in decor as well as baked goods. 

3 loaves of bread on a wooden boardGlorious line up of loaves

Our favourites in their line up so far have been the Grumpy John Ploughman (combining my twin loves of cider and cheese), the sausage, apple and mustard roll, the nostalgic peanut butter cornflake tart, the seasonal pumkin almond and lemon cake, and the delectable hazelnut and caramel doughnut.  The toast from the malted wholemeal batard also goes down a treat with our youngster (8 months), who’s rather worryingly developing a taste for the artisan end of the bread market.  Eeep.

So if you’re in or near Saltaire on a Saturday, have a check if there’s a bakery session on, get yourselves down there, and stock up the bread bin (but leave some for us!).

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1, 2, 3….Cheese (club)!!!

Have you ever been involved in a cheese stampede?  It’s a unique but pleasurable experience that came about from our involvement in ‘Club Homage2Fromage‘.

Cheese club is a bit like fight club but with less violence (other than a few stray elbows).  They don’t ban you from speaking about it, but they do have rules.  Actual written rules.

Hello-walls-cheese-club

Homage2Fromage takes its cheese seriously. It isn’t a cheese and wine night, wine has no business jockeying for attention.  It’s all about the cheese, unsullied by alcoholic distractions (other that those you buy yourself).  Just because it’s serious about cheese, doesn’t mean that it’s a humourless event though.  Far from it.  In fact there were a lot of cheese puns going on (more of those later).

So far Liz has been to a Manchester event and I’ve been to events in Leeds and Bradford.  They all work the same way – you pay for a ticket, scoff as much cheese as you like, but you taste the cheeses blind to encourage you to be adventurous.  Afterwards the cheeses are revealed, so you can find out if you’ve been cheating on your trusty Stilton by declaring a Fourme d’Ambert as your favourite (a bit like blind swinging but with less serious moral implications).

Hello-walls-cheese-club

The Homage2Fromage folks know how to cheese complement and condiment.  The cheeses are lovingly arranged on rustic wooden and slate platters with an abundance of grapes, celery, tomatoes, apples crackers, breads and chutneys nestled in and amongst. Appropriate cutting implements for each cheese are provided and they are unwaveringly generous with portions.  You can eat like a cheese overlord for a measly £8-£10.

You get a plate, a stack of bread, and at the call of ‘1,2,3….cheese!’ it’s every man for himself as you rush towards the trestle tables.  Some show polite restraint in only cutting a sliver, most go for a small hunk, and some groups strategise and dissipate around the room to seek out priority cheeses in slabs big enough for 4 or 6 (an effective but less gentlemanly approach). You must queue, and you mustn’t touch the cheese before they call CHEESE – them’s the rules.

Hello-walls-cheese-club

Afterwards the cheeses are unveiled and lovingly described by Nick and Vicki (your hosts).  Occasionally there are cheese themed quizzes involved (not for the naive cheese eater) and at the 3rd birthday event we attended at the Adelphi in Leeds there was even a cheese themed joke contest (my personal favourite: Q. What kind of cheese do you use to disguise a small horse? A. Mascarpone).

Homage2Fromage currently run events in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Harrogate and (most recently) Bradford and Farsley, so check out their website.  They’ve got French events lined up for July, but be quick – they sell out pretty fast (especially in Leeds and Manchester) – you wouldn’t want to miss out on the cheesy action.

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The burger mission continues…

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So guess what? I’ve been eating burgers again (the diet starts next week). This time my mission, as promised, took me to Get Baked Presents: The Joint (the new restaurant arm of the Meanwood takeaway Mr Nice Guys I reviewed in my last post). Upon arriving at the unique converted church the restaurant calls home (Woodhouse Lane in the Hyde Park area of Leeds), the huge gothic window illuminated by a Baz Lurhmann-esque neon Get Baked logo (Romeo & Juliet fans will know what I mean – churches, neon lights, symbolism blah blah blah), I knew I’d found the holy grail.

Get Baked Presents: The Joint

Excited at this experimental juxtaposition, the Mr and I ran in with breath that was bated. We were met with a cool, contemporary space complimented by a seriously relaxed vibe. High ceilings, mismatch furniture, a collage explosion of 90s cultural icons on the walls (the Mr particularly loved a Ren and Stimpy print he spotted – I drew the line at getting a replica for our house, man room or no man room) and a Leeds-worthy bar finished with huge chandeliers and a colourful wall of must have spirits, oh and a red telephone box thrown in for good measure, gave the place that on trend eclectic feel. With Nirvana’s MTV unplugged playing on the big screens and RUN-DMC playing on the sound system, it felt nostalgic and almost youth club like; comforting, a place where you could just ‘hang’ (do people still say that?!). The owner’s vivid imagination was evident throughout and this new hotspot was quite clearly a labour of love.

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To Burger, Or Not To Burger – That Is The Question

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My answer? Definitely to burger. Long gone are the days of over-processed chains and late night greasy dives being our only options. The humble burger has undergone somewhat of a revival of late and a retro style icon is reborn. From posh to punk, brioche to bap, we’re spoilt for choice and the making of this go-to fast-food staple has become a bit of an art. I’ve been on a mission in the bright lights of Leeds to witness first-hand this booming burger scene…

 

FIve Guys Burgers

Five Guys: The All American Dream

Let’s start with Five Guys. When I want something quick and easy without compromising on quality, this is my new best friend and lucky for me, it’s conveniently located on my way home from work so to say I have become a regular is an understatement. The self-confessed ‘heaven in a brown paper bag’ is the new kid on the block in Leeds and harks back to the 1950s all-American dream where it all began for the simple hamburger. A basic palette of red and white décor makes the place feel fresh and crisp, much like the ingredients. With only four choices of burger on the menu (each available in two sizes; I opt for the ‘little’ which is plenty big enough) and only a dozen or so classic toppings to choose from, it’s the quality of ingredients and sheer simplicity of these foil-wrapped beauties that’s the winning formula. Served with a mountain of fries, made from the sacks of potatoes on show in the store, and a choice of over one hundred soft drinks (I highly recommend the cherry vanilla Coca Cola – very Sandy in Grease), this American import is a firm-favourite here to stay and certainly gives its famous red and yellow competition a run for its money. So much so, Elvis would have felt right at home here.

 

If you crave a vibrant party atmosphere and a few cocktails with your grub plus bold experimental flavours that pack a punch, Almost Famous is an in-your-face neon explosion with a cool electronic soundtrack to boot. My advice, come hungry. One of the most creative menus in town, each burger has its own aptly named label and comes stacked high, oozing with unctuous toppings and dripping with sauce (learn from my mistake and pick up enough napkins). The Johnny Mac is pure handcrafted heaven with not one, but two juicy burgers smothered in applewood smoked and cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions, crunchy cheese tortillas, million island dressing, chipotle ketchup and wait for it…a deep-fried mac and cheese ball on top. This spectacular combination of flavours will have your tongue doing a dance. Oh and don’t under any circumstances forget a side of Bacon Bacon fries; their famous ‘winning’ fries covered in baconnaise and bacon rain. Enough said.

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Aspall’s Tribute To A Cider Maker

Glass of Harry Sparrow cider and bottle

With the recent wintery weather here in Blighty it’s difficult to find the motivation to drag yourself out of a cosy, warm house, but a nice pub is one of the few things that can usually lure me out.  Recently we took a snowy walk up the road to Coopers in Guiseley, north Leeds, where I was rewarded with the prospect of a new Aspall’s variety I hadn’t seen before: Harry Sparrow.

Harry’s not the brother of Johnny Depp’s rambling pirate, this cider is named after the man who was Aspall’s head cider maker for 50 years.  Harry, we’re told, was interested in the French mehods of cider making, so this is fittingly a light (4.6%), clear cider with a subtle carbonation.

It’s described on the bottle as full bodied, but I found it to be a gentle flavour – sweeter than the other Aspall’s varieties.  You get a lovely floral apple-y mouthful,  although it doesn’t have much of an after taste.  It’s easy drinking, bright and lively, but the level of sweetness suggests it’s aimed at the mainstream market than the cider fan, and interestingly the bottle you see above has since been rebranded to a more contemporary look:

Harry Sparrow Cider with New Branding

Aspall’s have a long standing cider heritage, and I would certainly nudge any forest fruit ‘cider’ fans in this direction for an introduction  to something made with real apples and not just chemicals.  It would also make a very pleasant ‘session’ cider, but being a bit of a cider snob, I still prefer their Premier Cru cider.

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Etsy Picks: Yorkshire Crafters

To balance out Liz’s Cream of Mancester selection, visit our Etsy Yorkshire Crafters treasury to see my picks from the other side of the Pennines.

Gloves, teddy board, umbrella fabric and yellow dress

 

 

 

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Pure North: God’s Own Cider

Picture of the cider cafe menu

You may have spotted the deliberate omission in my recent review of the Pure North cider press and café: I never actually mentioned the cider.

It wasn’t because it wasn’t memorable or worthy of praise.  Quite the opposite – I didn’t want to just crowbar it into the review of the cafe, or reference it as a afterthought.  Cider like this deserves its very own post so I can nerd-flail about how lovely it is.

At Pure North you can buy glasses of the draught cider with your meal, but there’s also a shop selling their range of bottled ciders, as well as the option to take some of the still draught cider home with you in a plastic container (it lasts a couple of weeks if you can resist it for that long).

I picked up a bottle of the Pure North Original Cider (as it would be rude not to try their classic offering), and was also intrigued by the limited edition ‘Velo’ cider which had been produced to celebrate the Yorkshire Grand Départ.

Two bottles of pure north cider

So what was the verdict then?  Well, Pure North Original packs punch.  You can tell it’s made from pure apple juice- no sweeteners or watering down going on here.  It’s rich and has depth and body, which is quite unusual for a lightly sparkling cider.  The colour is a beautiful amber honey hue which fits the full bodied flavour…..  It actually has more of a still cider taste, but it’s on the medium side of medium-dry so it doesn’t dry your mouth out, and I found that it went really well with meats and cheeses.

The Velo variety was equally delicious but very different in style.  It had a fresh, green, clean taste, with a touch of acidity -almost in white wine territory.  It was a delicate pale yellow colour and would probably go nicely with seafood.

I was also very taken by the lovely, subtle elderflower infused flavour of the ‘Maggie In Bloom’ cider.  I was initially sceptial of the word ‘infusion’ – I feared it may veer into my hated alco-cider-pop category, but I ordered a glass after our meal and loved it’s unusual taste.  It’s one of the handful of specialist ciders that are made in small quanities by Rob the resident cider maker.   It’s a still, medium sweet cider but unlike some which are very treacly, this has a beautiful light floral flavour.   Not being sold in bottles was no object to me – I secured a hearty sized jug and got them to fill ‘er up to the top (to take to a house warming that is – not soley for my own consumption).

Artisan cider at its finest on all accounts – get yer’sen down there Yorkshire folk!

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Cider With A Side Of Lunch – Holmfirth’s Pure North Cider Cafe

Outside of Pure North Cider Cafe

Holmfirth’s big claim to fame is having been home to Last of The Summer Wine for its run of eons and eons, but last month I found something else to put Holmfirth on the map.  I was visiting a stone yard in the area to scout for some reclaimed York stone paving for our back yard, and my huband scored major brownie points by proposing we stop at the Pure North Cider Cafe for lunch.

It’s located outside of the town itself, up a narrow, windy road which looks as if it’s about to reach a dead end before swinging a sharp right and petering out by a sign for the shop and cafe.  I hadn’t heard of Pure North before (it was a fortunate Trip Advisor discovery), but I was very excited to read that they press their own apples and make their own cider on site.  Not only that, but they don’t just ship in apples from down south – they press local, home-grown apples to create 100% pressed juice cider, and are currently cultivating their own orchards to expand their production and range.

Two glasses of ciderCider sampling at Pure North

What more could a cider lover want from a lunch spot? Well, lunch obviously, and in a nice location, and Pure North delivers on both accounts.  It was a lovely day when we visited so we sat out on the picnic tables in the garden area and soaked up the sun, but there was a also a covered porch area (with a basket of blankets in case the weather turns chilly) as well as tables available in the cosy shop and cafe.

Menu boardI’ll have one of everything please…

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Revelling It Up With Orchard Pig Cider

Bottle of Orchard Pig Reveller ciderI’d seen Orchard Pig in supermarkets and had been meaning to try it for a while, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the medium variety (Reveller) in A Nation of Shopkeepers bar in Leeds. Kudos to the NoS folk – always pleased to see bars backing real independent ciders and not just the big brands.

The bottle is quite stylised, and probably aimed at the hipper end of the cider-drinking crowd, although I was drinking it before going to watch The Eagles at the Leeds Arena, so what do I know?  Somerset-based Orchard Pig has more to it than its marketing image suggests though, and has been going for a few years having started out as homebrew and then as a small batch pure apple cider.

With the lighter, sweeter Reveller cider it’s obviously moving into more mainstream waters, but that’s not to say it’s dumbed down its offering  – the medium ‘Reveller’ is only 4.5% so it’s obviously a lighter ‘session’ cider (if you can have such a thing), and though it’s on the sweeter end of the spectrum, it’s still full of fruit and has a real fruity aroma.  It’s a filtered cider, and has a clear, golden colour with a nice even fizz (not overpowering like some), and enough body to give it a decently long aftertaste not a ‘fizz and gone’ experience like some of the trendy bottled ciders.

I’d definitely order it again on an evening out, and would recommend it to non-cider drinking friends as a sidestep into the world of cider, but I’m also very interested to try the more complex Truffler (dry sparkling) cider, as I expect it might have even more to offer cider fans.

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Discovering Alternative Wedding Venues in Yorkshire

We’re full swing into wedding season at the moment. I have four this summer (two down, two to go at this point) and loving the fantastic wedding venues we’re getting the opportunity to visit.

It seems that there are more and more options open to brides these days, which is brilliant for couples who want to pick somewhere that suits the kind of wedding they want; whether it be small and intimate, artsy, beach-y, rustic, classic, prison-chic – whatever floats your boat.

The fun thing about exploring wedding venues in Yorkshire when we were planning our wedding was that it uncovered places on our doorstep that we didn’t even know existed.  York maze was one of them, and here are some other favourites in the region:

Tiled hall cafe

1. Leeds Art Gallery & Tiled Hall Cafe – this beautiful room is part of Leeds Art Gallery, and has a stuning mosaic tiled ceiling and tiled walls, with huge windows that look out over millenium square. It’s the perfect spot for a reception for those getting hitched at Leeds Civic Hall (like these guys – check out their reception photos) or any of the churches in the centre of the city.  You can book it in conjunction with the art gallery, so your guests can meander round and feel cultured.

 

Marquee in a field Porch of a wooden cabin

2. Bivouac, Masham, North Yorkshire  – I know it sounds like a futuristic corporation, but this is actually a rather awesome spot in the Yorkshire Dales that lets you hold weddings in it’s woodland glade area.  If you’re a secret hippy or festival goer it should be right up your street – there’s a community fire pit, cheap wooden cabin lodgings for guests, hot tub, and you can even hold get married in the (semi) outdoors.  It makes for some stunning wedding pics too.

Interior of barn set up for wedding

3. The Cheerful Chilli, Otley, West Yorkshire – calling all veggies!  The Cheerful Chilli is a local gem – it serves inspired veggie food (beloved even by carnivores) and delicious homemade cakes.  Luckily for brides/grooms to be, it recently got a wedding license and opened up the barn adjacent to the cafe for weddings – rejoice!   The barn has a lot of charm, and the cafe is set across from Otley Chevin so your guests will be able to have a meander round the forest and perhaps even spot a resident deer or two.  The star of the show will no doubt be the food though – have a look at their banquet menu to give you a flavour of what you can expect.

More under the cut…

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