Mix Six: Six deliciously local treats for York foodies

4 Dec 2012 @ 10.03 am
| Food & drink

Some of the treats on offer. Photographs by the food and drink producers
What do you get the foodie in your life for Christmas? Something tasty, fresh – and local. Sue Jewitt and Vicky Swift from Apples for Eggs have some suggestions

Only a few weeks until Christmas and chocolate, cake and cordial are just some of the local wares on our Christmas list. With our love of the seasonal, homemade, and community-focused in mind, we’ve come up with a few of our favourite food related finds, all with a York flavour.

And in a foodie city like this we didn’t have to search too far.

Country Cordials

First up is a local non-alcoholic brew from the Hovingham-based Country Cordials. Though they have a range of lovely Winter Warmers, our very favourite is Just Ginger Cordial. With its warming properties we’re hoping for a bottle or two in our stocking!

Country Cordials use traditional methods in the production of their drinks and also use locally sourced, seasonal ingredients as well as using local pickers to harvest from the hedgerow. Their Winter Warmer range includes non-alcoholic Christmas Punch, Orange and Ginger, St Clements & Just Lemon, priced at £4.99 per 500ml bottle. Gift baskets are also available, priced £9.50.

Sofi Cakes

For a visual cake feast this Christmas we are definitely heading over to the very clever Sofi of Sofi Cakes. Specialising in delicious and inspirational edible art, her portfolio of commissions has included an Eternal Summer Wedding cake, complete with hand painted lines of poetry, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory cake, and an edible teacup and saucer!

“Creating cakes is a bespoke process, every detail can be personalised for a truly unique cake experience,” says Sofi. “I cater to all budgets and tastes from simple buns (usually a minimum of six) to sumptuous wedding cakes. I enjoy working with customers to make cake dreams come true, if you can imagine it, I will do my best to bake it!”

Having left school at 14, Sofi spent the next few years teaching herself to bake before going off to London to train as a Make-Up Artist, including special effects make-up training which she says “definitely helped when creating some of the more gory cakes”. To view her severed finger buns, eyeball buns, severed foot cake and her other creations go to her Facebook page. Ideal gifts for a horror enthusiast!

Lucky for us, Sofi has returned to York. And if you’re after something more seasonal she makes a lovely vintage looking hand painted Christmas bun. To order contact Sofi on 07933 110233

The Zen cookbook

At Apples for Eggs we love hearing about new recipes and the stories and values that surround food. With this in mind our next recommendation is a Zen cookbook by York author Florencia Clifford, Feeding Orchids To The Slugs: Tales from a Zen Kitchen, with beautiful illustrations from Michaela Meadow. Alongside the delicious recipes Florencia shares her insights through her stories gathered from retreats in Wales and from the hills of her childhood in Argentina.

To get a flavour of the magical style in which she writes you can find a wonderful extract about pomegranates from her book on her Facebook page.

Florencia says she wrote “using old notes from the last seven years of retreats and memories from my childhood awoken by the power of the meditative kitchen. We ended up with a book with 19 chapters, a memoir-come-recipe book about the transformation of my life through cooking.”

Florencia grows most of her own vegetables on her allotment in York but is keen on buying local. She supports both Alligator, the organic and wholefood greengrocers in Fishergate and The Hairy Fig delicatessen on Fossgate for locally sourced excellence. She also recommends the Haxby Baker for a good loaf!

Feeding Orchids To The Slugs: Tales from a Zen Kitchen is published by Vala, price £15.99.

York Cocoa House

With the City’s links to the chocolate industry our list wouldn’t be complete without some locally made chocolate! So next up is a lovely range of handmade truffles from the Cocoa House on Blake Street. Using local seasonal ingredients and flavours, their eclectic range includes Yorkshire Blue Cheese Truffles, York Chocolate Stout Truffles (using Rudgate Ale) and for a more Christmassy truffle try Ginger, Mulled Wine and Yorkshire Champagne.

Prices range from £4 for a bag, and boxes start from £6. Gift vouchers are also available for many of the Chocolate making workshops, tastings and café. For opening times and details of workshops go to the York Cocoa House website.

Brunswick Organic Nursery

If you haven’t paid a visit to Brunswick Organic Nursery, now is the time to do so to pick up stocking fillers or a small locally-grown gift. Brunswick is a registered charity nestled in Bishopthorpe that offers a productive workplace for adults with learning difficulties to develop skills working within a project.

Working groups range from woodwork, crafts and cooking to horticulture and many of the items produced are sold in the shop. Brunswick is registered with the Soil Association and grows a wide range of seasonal organic vegetables and fruit, for which they’ve won many awards. They also supply salad and vegetables to Alligator Whlolefoods in Fishergate and The Pig and Pastry on Bishopthorpe Road!

Not strictly foodie but ideal for Christmas are their bowls of hyacinths priced £5, dried flower wreaths £8.50 to £15, small bags of lavender/rose petals £2.50 and Christmas wreaths from £5.

York Foodbank

Last but not least, as Christmas is a time for giving, let’s not forget to donate nutritious items of food, including Christmas treats, to York Foodbank. The foodbank is part of the Trusell Trust’s UK-wide foodbank network that provides emergency food and support to local people in crisis. Non-perishable donations such as juices, pasta sauces, jam and biscuits are suggested by the foodbank.

Alternatively, you can set up a standing order to support the foodbank. Donations can be delivered to The Gateway Centre, Front Street, York, YO24.