Friday, 20 July 2018

Food myths – true or false?

I’m sure we’ve all heard lots of stories about food over the years which just aren’t true. Whether it’s someone telling you shouldn’t eat carbs or the child who thinks an apple tree will grow in their stomach if they swallow a pip, there’s food myths aplenty out there. And although some of them are linked to faddy diets and trends, others tales probably ones you heard as a youngster – and it seems many of us still believe them to this day!

A poll of 2,000 people commissioned by Spatone showed there was all kinds of old wives tales we’re not quite sure whether to buy into or not.

A third of people still believe chewing gum takes seven years to digest (it doesn’t). Also - carrots can’t help you see in the dark, sadly. But they are delicious (especially some of the carrot pickles we sell!), so we’re happy to keep trying.

Other people thought eggs were bad for you, due to high cholesterol – a theory which has been largely debunked in recent years. So, tuck into those boiled eggs and soldiers without worrying about it!

Some of the other false claims that people bought into included the fact skipping meals helps you lose weight, you should never eat after 8pm and that sugar gives you energy – which it may do temporarily, but it certainly isn’t the best way to boost yourself during that mid afternoon slump.

It’s definitely true that the story you read one day can be directly conflicted the next – if you were looking for information on whether a glass of red wine or a cup of coffee is good for you or bad for you, you could almost certainly find people claiming both to be true, with supposed research to back them up.

It can be confusing – so it’s no wonder people aren’t quite sure what to believe any more!

Our philosophy here at Hunters is everything in moderation. As long as you’re not overindulging on a frequent basis a little bit of what you fancy shouldn’t make you feel too guilty. Balance is the key. And often, if you really listen to your body, it tells you what you need. No, I really don’t think it’s saying you should eat that half pound block of cheese on your own, washed down with a bottle of red. Nice try though

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The summer of love…. of good food and drink

Well it’s fair to say, we can’t whinge that we haven’t had a summer this year!

I don’t think anyone can quite remember a length of time when the sun shone so gloriously and for quite so long (apologies if we’ve jinxed it, but let’s face it – it’s got to turn as soon as the school holidays start. Six weeks of rain is every parent’s dream!). Most people agree it was June 1976 when we last had such a prolonged good spell of sunshine – in fact back 42 years ago there were 15 consecutive days when the temperatures hit above 32°c, which we’ve not quite managed yet in 2018.

The good weather combined with some key sporting events means one thing – outstanding food and drink should be on the menu.

It can be hard to think what you really fancy to eat when the temperature is soaring. Come see us and I guarantee we’ll find something which hits the spot!

But beyond that, there are barbecues and picnics taking place up and down the country at a rate unseen for decades. If England in the Quarter Finals and the sun out doesn’t send you straight to the nearest shop for Charcoal, you must be one of those organised types who already has a supply in. If you are cooking up a feast on the grills, then we have everything you need for the perfect finishing touches. Every kind of cheese you can think of, sauces, pickles, salads, dressings, marinades and oils galore. Gone are the days of a sad looking sausage and a burnt burger being enough.

And of course, a barbecue needs a fridge full of cool, refreshing drinks for the guests. Whether it’s beer, lager, wine, G&T, or a soft variety, we can help you keep glasses topped up with drinks that really hit the spot.

If football isn’t your thing, of course there’s also wonderful Wimbledon. An excuse to eat your own body weight in strawberries and cream. Take the theme a bit further and why not add in some Strawberry and Mint Jam for your morning toast, some strawberry vinegar for your salads, and some delicious Anton Berg Strawberry in Champagne chocolates, just because… and maybe a sneaky tub of strawberry marshmallows too. Yum.

And, of course, the ultimate sunny day food? Ice cream! Whether it’s a cone through our serving window, or a tub to take home, take your pick from the deliciously creamy Brymor range, made in Masham. How about classic creamy vanilla  or black cherry whim wham? We even have diabetic ice cream, so no one has to miss out on a cooling treat.

Make this the summer the one when you discover a new favourite – over to you!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Feeling stressed? Get baking!

What do you like to do to relax?

Sit down with a good book? Go for a swim? Watch some TV?

Well according to recent research, what many of us like to do to de-stress is bake. Which is handy as the rest of us like eating cake to help keep our spirits up too.

The study by food brand Dr Oetker showed that one in three of us bakes to bring down the stress levels after a day at work. It probably explains the copious amounts of cakes you quite often find in offices up and down the country – it’s always someone’s birthday after all.

Of the 2,000 amateur bakers questioned, two thirds thought baking improved their mood, making them happy, calm and focussed. More than half said they felt a real sense of achievement once they’d finished (presumably the other half enjoy baking but maybe aren’t so good at it….)

The vast majority of us – four out of five - like to follow a recipe to the letter. But we’re betting many of those recipes you can recall by heart as every home baker has a favourite or two they like to return to.  One in seven has a closely guarded family secret recipe – which is brilliant, and the kind of thing every family should have. Maybe just not like that Friends episode when it turns out Phoebe’s top secret family recipe for chocolate chip cookies is actually taken off the side of a packet of a well known brands’ biscuits.

Here at Hunters of Helmsley we have everything you might need to get your bake on. Lemon drizzle, millionaire’s shortbread, the good old Victoria sponge – the classics which have brought joy to generations. Or maybe you’re more adventurous and would give the Great British Bake Off showstoppers a run for their money?

From dozens of types of flour (coconut is proving very popular at the moment) to the finest sugar, from far flung ingredients to the prettiest (and tastiest) decorations, we want all your creations to be masterpieces. And no one is going to find after-work baking relaxing if they get to the cupboard and find half the ingredients aren’t there. So why not come and stock up? We’re always delighted to have a chat (and to try and get you to share granny’s secret Coffee Cake recipe).

And, of course, if baking isn’t your thing – never fear. We’ve plenty of delicious ready-to-eat cakes here for you too. How about Whitby Plum Loaf or lemon drizzle cake? I can feel myself relaxing already….

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Pick up a perfect picnic

We love a good picnic. By “we” we mean the team at Hunters. But, also, us Brits generally. Despite a…. shall we say unreliable climate…. we love nothing more than dining al fresco when the weather permits.

The earliest picnics are said to date back to Medieval times, when hunting feasts would take place outdoors in both England and France. However, the modern term was not in common use until the mid-eighteenth century when the French began to pique-nique. It sounds so much better said in a continental accent. It comes from the word piquer, "to pick at food", and nique, meaning something small of no value.

In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, picnics became a lavish affair, pretty much transporting the whole dining room – and full 5-course meal – outdoors. It’s a little bit more laid back now, but still deserves some care and attention!

On average we apparently enjoy three picnics a year each – although probably if we added in all the impromptu buying and enjoying of food out and about it would be a lot higher. Eighty five per cent of us will enjoy at least one picnic over the summer holidays.

Which brings us to this week. It’s National Picnic Week from 15th to 24th June (yes for the eagle-eyed of you, that is indeed over a week. Sssshhhh).

According to the organisers, 50 years ago the nation’s favourite picnic food was a cheese sandwich and now it’s crisps. Crisps?! Now we love a crisp, don’t get me wrong. And, of course, they deserve a place in the picnic hamper – but as a side dish to the main affair surely?

Pies are something which have always been popular when it comes to picnics – right back to hundreds of years ago, when they could easily be popped into a pocket as a tasty snack on a day’s hunt. If you’re looking for a great pie for a picnic how about our Slow Roast Pork and Ampleforth Abbey Cider Pie? With a creamy, tangy filling, it’s one of our best sellers. A tasty veggie alternative would be the Curried vegetable  roll

Or perhaps a sausage roll or two – the Yorkshire Baker Hog Roast is delicious, or how about Sweet Chilli

Of course, a sandwich is always a winner on a picnic. Why not grab one of our deep-filled bread buns and split it with a friend? Roast beef and horseradish and the simple ham and salad are still our best sellers. And it’s best you eat them sitting down as they take some getting your mouth round.

For a lighter lunch, visit our deli counter and we can create a fresh, tasty salad for you, including all your favourite things. Or how about some cheeses and a pack of artisan crackers or some fresh bread and your choice of sweet or tangy chutney? Mouth watering yet…? We also have some fantastic own brand pates – bison with fried onions, or ostrich and blueberry – or how about the lobster terrine?

Don’t forget something sweet to finish off the meal. The Hunters of Helmsley range of biscuits includes Rhubarb and Custard flavour shortbread biscuits or lemon cookies  which are both incredibly moreish! Other sweet treats you could pack up without fear of crushing or melting are salted caramel brownies  or frangipanes .

And finally, you’ll need a drink or two – whether it’s the alcoholic or non-alcoholic you’re looking for, we’ve got a wide selection in store to quench your thirst.

Now all you need is the perfect picturesque picnic spot – and luckily Helmsley is full of those too! 

The retail Oscars – Hunters makes the shortlist!

We’re over the moon to have made the shortlist of another prestigious retail food award – way to go Team Hunters! *High Fives*

We’re delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in The Guild of Fine Food’s annual Shop of the Year awards, which recognises and promotes excellence in independent retail.

Having made it through the first round, we will now undergo two further rounds of judging during the summer, including an announced visit from one of the judges and a mystery shop by Shopper’s Anonymous. Hopefully they’ll enjoy a visit and we’re sure any of our team that they speak to will be their usual friendly, helpful selves!

Previously forming part of the Great Taste accreditation scheme, Shop of the Year is dedicated solely to retail. Celebrating delis, farm shops, cheesemongers and more, Shop of the Year offers independent retailers like ourselves the chance to achieve a stamp of approval with real integrity, much like Great Taste does for food and drink products.

They’ll be judging us on everything from overall shopping experience and financial performance to staff training opportunities and environmental initiatives. The panel of highly experienced judges includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and Georgina Mason from Gonalston Farm Shop.

The final will be held on Thursday 20 September when the world of fine food gathers at No. 42 Southwark Street, the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, to find out the winners. Fingers crossed!

For almost 30 years, all of our wonderful team at Hunters (past and present) has worked extremely hard to build up a reputation for finding the very best food and produce for our customers and it’s always wonderful to receive recognition of that. We look forward to meeting the judges and talking them through the Hunters’ ethos. Wish us luck!

Friday, 25 May 2018

Helping you free your food from Groundhog Day

We recently spotted a study which said that 90 per cent of Brits felt they were stuck in their very own version of Groundhog Day. (as an aside, got to love that film)

The study by Highland Springs seemed surprised that people left the house at the same time every day, took the same route to work and then got home and watched the same TV programme on an evening. It would seem odd to us if you were leaving home earlier than you needed to do a super long route to work, just to mix things up, but maybe that’s just us. And surely binge watching a series is what Netflix was invented for?

But the bits of the survey which caught our eye were the ones relating to (unsurprisingly) food.
Eight out of 10 people said they never varied from their weekly shopping list and only 16 per cent said they like to go crazy and try new things. A third of people said they ate the same breakfast every day, one in four ordered the same coffee and ate the same lunch and one in five said they cooked the same meals on rotation each week. One in 10 even admitted to always buying the same bottle of wine!

Now, we’re the first to admit that when you find a favourite thing it can be tempting to always keep going back to it. But it’s an instinct we’ve also learnt to resist! It’s part of our job to try new things and enjoy a variety of tastes. There’s so many amazing products out there and every ‘old favourite’ has to be a new thing tried at some point.

But it can take being pointed in the right direction. And that’s where we’re happy to help. Why not come and have a chat with us and we’ll help you figure out what might be the kind of thing you’d enjoy. We’re always getting exciting new products in which we love to shout about! And we’re always happy to help with advice on how to use or serve a product.

Whether you’re an adventurous chef, or someone who prefers to keep things nice and easy, we’ve loads of products in store to inspire you. Customers always say they can’t believe how much of a tardis the shop is – whatever you’re looking for, bet we can help.

So, hopefully see you soon – and we’ll help you break that Groundhog Day loop in the tastiest way possible!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Invigorator– spreading positivity for British Sandwich Week!

British Sandwich Week starts on 20th May, and here at Hunters we do love a good sandwich! In fact, we sell a crumbworthy 50,000 every year.
We know everyone has their favourite sarnie – and it’s very hard to break the pattern of ordering the same one, every day. (when they’re as good as, say, our deep filled roast beef, you can be forgiven…)
But this British Sandwich Week, we’re urging customers to try something new. We reckon you’ll be happy you did - literally speaking!
To mark the week, we’ve added The Invigorator sandwich to our menu – a mood and energy boosting sandwich! And who doesn’t need a little boost every once in a while?
The Invigorator has been carefully created, with ingredients specially chosen because of their beneficial properties in relation to well-being, mood and energy levels. It’s no secret that certain nutrients, such as Vitamins B and D, zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium, which are found in abundance in lots of tasty fresh foods, can have a profound effect on brain function – so why not give your mind and body a treat?
The Sandwich includes:
* Ajvar – this Macedonian roasted red pepper spread is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folate (Vitamin B9), and fibre. Red peppers offer almost 11 times more beta-carotene than the green ones.
* Houmous – houmous is a good source of protein and fibre, with chick peas providing high levels of iron, phosphorus and B vitamins.
* Rocket – this nutrient-packed green wonder contains large amounts of vitamins A, K and C, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, as well as several beneficial phytochemicals.
* Pumpkin seeds – these little seeds pack a punch - they’re said to have more mood-boosting powers than any other food. Jam-packed full of nutrients, they are loaded with omega-3 and zinc which have been shown to improve moods; Magnesium, which helps reduce anxiety; and Tryptophan, the amino acid which helps the body make Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood and can help you unwind.
* Served on sliced granary bread - wholewheat grains boost folate levels, and provide slow release energy, avoiding that mid-afternoon energy dip.
It’s healthy, vegetarian/vegan, good for the heart, super colourful and tastes great – which is vital, as it’s not going to boost anyone’s mood if you don’t enjoy eating it!
It is the perfect midday pick-me-up, to get your afternoon off to a great start – no mid-afternoon slumps in sight…
The sandwich is available from 20th May, freshly made to order at a price of £3.60.
So, if everyone in Helmsley suddenly looks a little chirpier and full of beans – you know why!