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!

Monday, 7 May 2018

Pop the champagne – we’ve made the shortlist for the Great British Food Awards!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been nominated for the Great British Food Awards for the third year running - but we do need to ask all of our fantastic customers a quick favour to help make sure we bring the trophy home to Helmsley later this year!

Hunters is nominated in the Best Independent Retailer category (North) and we’re one of six finalists, alongside some very tough competition. The voting is now open to members of the public, until 24th August 2018, at the website Not only would you be helping us out more than we can say, but there’s an added bonus for you too! Anyone who votes has a chance of winning £7,000 worth of prizes, such as kitchen gadgets and foody holidays. Top of the range ovens, cookware, nights away, kettles, BBQ appliances, hampers, booze, cookbooks – it all sounds pretty good we have to say!

The awards launched in 2014 to recognise the best in British food and drink, including restaurants, producers, chefs, food writers and retailers. There are 20 categories in total, and you can vote in them all or just the one (hint hint, nudge nudge).

We were genuinely stunned to make the shortlist for the third year running. It really does mean so much when we’re recognised for the hard work the team puts in – we love what we do, but of course, we want our customers to enjoy it just as much!

So, if you can spare two minutes, please do take a peek at – and we’ll keep our fingers tightly crossed for the awards results later in the year!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

To brew or not to brew – how do you make yours?

Last week was National Tea Day, and as you know, we conducted our very own in-store tea tastings. We wanted to see if people could spot the Yorkshire Tea at first sip (surely any self respecting Yorkshire man or woman could??). We’re pleased to say the vast majority did, earning themselves a free box of tea and – perhaps more importantly – a Yorkshire sticker to proudly display!

We enjoyed it and had a good giggle with our customers in store, chatting about how we like our brews - which is why a survey caught our eye that came out on the same day.

Apparently, according to Clipper Teas, we will each suffer through 9,828 disappointing cups of tea in our lifetime. How upsetting! We each drink on average 28 cups a week (4 cups a day) but at least three each week will fail to hit the spot.

We all have our own way of enjoying a cuppa and it is often a case of personal preference, but there’s some cardinal rules which should never be broken.

Apparently at least half of us have had to complain to a partner, friend or work colleague about their brew making efforts – or lack of them (we’ve all known that one person who never makes a round…)
But some of us are just too nervous to tell our loved ones (or the ones we share an office with all week) that we feel that way, preferring to just turn down the offer, or gulp back the offending item.

So, what were the top 10 complaints of the 2,000 people surveyed?
1.            Too weak – 36%
2.            Luke-warm – 35%
3.            Too milky – 30%
4.            Teabag not in for long enough – 26%
5.            Mug not been washed properly – 25%
6.            Incorrect amount of milk – 21%
7.            Cup is half empty – 20%
8.            Made with poor quality tea – 19%
9.            The cup is half full – 18% (although think that’s the same as half empty – just from the optimists rather than the pessimists)
10.         Too strong – 18%

But with there being a further 10 reasons why your cuppa might not be good enough – including leaving the teabag in too long, the milk was put in first, tea stains down the cup, chipped mugs, wrong type of milk, not enough or too much sugar, or the wrong brand of tea – you can see why tea making is a minefield!

Maybe I’ll just have a coffee…

Friday, 20 April 2018

We’ve giving you the opportuni-tea to prove your Yorkshire-ness this National Tea Day!

Anyone who knows the team at Hunters knows we’re potty about a good cup of tea. (Geddit? Potty!) In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s part of the DNA of this country to want to put the kettle on in times of strife, or indeed joy. There’s never a bad time to put the kettle on, to be perfectly honest. Did you know, Brits are said to drink a teapot shattering 165 million cups of tea every single day? And, actually, with over 3,000 different varieties, tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world, after water? Proof, if you need it, that’s it’s totally tea-rrific. So, we were overjoyed to hear National Tea Day was approaching! (It’s this Saturday – 21st April – just in case you hadn’t marked it in your diary. Sure you had though.) We didn’t want to let it pass without a little attention, so we’ve come up with our very own challenge, and we’re putting our customers to the test. Just how Yorkshire are you? (DUM DUM DUMMMMMM – that was dramatic TV gameshow style music, in case you were wondering) Throughout the day we’ll be asking customers in our store if they can spot the difference between a true Yorkshire brew and some imposters, in the form of a blind taste test. Don’t worry, you don’t need to wear a blindfold or anything. Unless you really want to. Yorkshire Tea will be up against two other popular teas – and we’re challenging you to pick out the genuine Yorkshire cuppa by taste and smell alone. Can you iden-tea-fy it? Just you wait – BBC One will have this as a tea-time quiz show before you know it. Those who succeed – as well as being able to walk around Helmsley with their head held high obviously – will also receive a gift box of Yorkshire Tea to take home and enjoy. Brew-tiful! And there’s also a Yorkshire sticker to proudly display on their lapel – telling everyone they’re a CHAMPION when it comes to tea. Of course, we know that everyone has their own personal favourite when it comes to a good cuppa, and there are literally hundreds of delicious teas available to suit everyone’s preferences. Whatever your favourite is – from chai or green to peppermint or good old English Breakfast, we’ve got the best of the best from around the world. We even sell 13 varieties as loose leaf tea from jars, by weight – shopping as it used to be! Must be time to put the kettle on?

Friday, 23 March 2018

Hop to it! Can you find our missing Easter bunnies?

Helmsley detectives-in-the-making we need your help!

We’ve had an invasion…. somebunny’s stolen something!

You see, we had an Easter window display and in it were some Easter-related words. Well, 12 letters have disappeared – and we think we know who the culprits are.

We’ve spotted 12 Easter bunnies hiding around our store. They’ve taken a letter each and got it all jumbled up, so we can’t even remember what it’s supposed to say any more!

So, we’re asking visitors if they can give us a helping hand to find the rabbits and unscramble the word. If you manage to do it, you’ll get as Easter treat – as well as being entered into a prize draw to win a Lindt Easter goody bag. And believe us – that would be something eggstra special to unwrap!

The bunny hunt will take place from Monday 26th March to Monday 2nd April.

We’re grateful for any assistance you can provide, and there’s no pressure to contribute, but running alongside our bunny hunt, we’re doing a voluntary donation of 50p for charity. The charity we’ve chosen is the Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool, which offers affordable outdoor swimming for the local community, and is so important to local families. It needs to raise funds for essential maintenance and renovations, so every penny helps.

As an aside for mums and dads - hopefully the missing bunnies will keep youngsters entertained for a little while, leaving you to shop in peace – hoppy Easter all round!

Monday, 12 March 2018

A most eggcellent Easter

Sorry – it’s that time of year when we get over eggcited and the Easter puns come out in force. We try and resist, but then we crack. We’re not even yolk-ing.

Easter, like Christmas, is a time of good food and the coming together of family and friends. Perfect. And for those people who gave something up for lent – it’s the chance to enjoy whatever it is they’ve been missing. The most popular thing to give up is chocolate apparently – so what luck that Easter Sunday is one of only two (possibly three) days a year when it’s acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast.

Here at Hunters we love looking for unusual Easter Eggs and treats – if you’ve done 40 days without, you want your first taste to be something eggstra special. We’ve searched the globe for the very best sweet treats to make your Easter.

All the way from Australia, we have a stunning box of nine chocolates from Xocolatl – master chocolatiers and fine artists. With a combination of six different colourful speckled eggs, and three chocolate Easter chicks, they are as beautiful as they are delicious.

Montezuma’s are one of the best British chocolatiers and they have some really lovely products this year.  The Eco Egg range comes in innovative eco friendly packaging – after all, those Easter eggs boxes and plastic shells can really mount up. The Eco Egg packaging is made of a sturdy biodegradable paper outer shell and a foil wrapping - no plastic in sight! Try the organic white chocolate with raspberry variety for a taste sensation.

Also from Montezuma, there is the Absolute Black Egg. Ideal for those who avoid dairy, sugar, gluten or soya, or who are just trying to make healthier food choices. It definitely has a dramatic cocoa hit – you have been warned!

Looking for something a bit sweeter? The Nutty Filled Chocolate Hen’s Eggs are lovely - three Hen-sized chocolate eggs filled with richest, decadent Praline - milk chocolate with orange and hazelnut, dark chocolate with almond and white chocolate with peanut butter.

If you’re not bothered about it being egg shaped, how about Peters Pecare Cassis Marc de Champagne, from Germany? Coming in a lovely tin, the slender, creamy white chocolate shell combines wonderfully with the zesty cassis and champagne centre. It’s making my mouth water!

Made in Cornwall, the handmade Buttermilk Artisan Confectionary eggs are delicious. The Caramel Sea Salt Egg is a Belgian chocolate egg, decorated with indulgent butterscotch chips and filled with a bag of buttery Caramel Sea Salt fudge which melts in the mouth.

So whatever Easter treat takes your fancy – we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to rustle something up to keep you happy! After all, we wouldn’t want any hot cross bunnies.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Get a pie-ce of the action this British Pie Week

It’s British Pie Week and we couldn’t be happier!

We know there seems to be loads of these awareness weeks – celebrating everything from clam chowder to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We think anyway, we haven’t checked those two specifically…

But PIE WEEK! Everyone loves a pie, surely? A dish that dates back to the Ancient Egyptians and the Romans. A family dinner that everyone can agree on. A dinner party pleaser. A midweek lunch eaten cold on the run, or eaten warm and savoured! However you eat them, there’s nothing quite like them for Britishness. Probably most of us have fond memories of our grandparents and parents making pies – sweet or savoury.

So, this being Pie Week and all, it’s the ideal time to get your fix. And we’re not bragging or anything (ok, well maybe a little bit) but we have some truly amazing flavours to tickle your tastebuds…

From the wonderful Yorkshire Baker at Malton, how about traditional and ever popular steak and ale or chicken, bacon and mushroom? Or for something a little bit different, we are the exclusive stockist of the amazing Slow roast pork in cream and cider sauce, with cider provided by the fantastic monks at Ampleforth Abbey. Perfect for a treat for you, or we can also offer its family size frozen pies which you can order at any time.

Johnsons of Thirsk provide us with amazing pork pies of all shapes and sizes. There’s the traditional pork pie sold as it comes, then how about pork with apple, or red onion marmalade and wensleydale? Or maybe you’re partial to a bit of piccalilli? There’s also the lattice pie sold by the slice or whole – pork, black pudding and apple. Mouth watering yet?

We also have game pie and a family steak plate from Johnsons – ideal for a winter warmer dinner idea, or a Sunday lunch.

If any of these pies take your fancy, once you’ve had a little try we can also take orders for them in a larger size. Up to 4lbs of loaf pie – plenty to feed your extended family and more! Although given the World Record for munching a 10cm by 3cm meat and potato pie is just 32 seconds, being as tasty as it is, maybe it won’t take that long to get through it…

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Food of love

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw

So, according to flower delivery company Bloom & Wilds, Yorkshire is the third least romantic region in the UK.

Ranking 10th in its survey to track the most loving regions in the country, only East Anglia and Scotland trailed behind.

Come on Yorkshire – we can do better than that! And what better time to show you care than Valentine’s Day (although to be honest, any day is a good day to do that. But with February 14th on the doorstep, it’s an easy starting point!)

It doesn’t have to be about expensive gifts. How about making your partner their favourite meal, or cooking something that reminds you of a great holiday you shared together? That amazing pasta you enjoyed in Italy, or a Thai Green curry you had from a beach cafe – you know your loved one best, but we can help with the ingredients to pull it all together! Whether you’re a top notch chef, or someone who needs a bit of assistance (it doesn’t all have to be made from scratch) – have no fear.

If cooking really isn’t your thing, how about taking them on a picnic (it might have to be indoors looking at the weather!), or making them a thoughtful packed lunch to take to work? No cooking involved, and again, plenty of opportunities to show you know what they enjoy. Pork pie, roast beef sandwich, humous, cheese, pickles, fruit cake – whatever tickles their tastebuds, you can create something unique for them.

Of course, if you want to treat them to a little gift, the thought would no doubt be appreciated. Perhaps they’d enjoy a bottle of fine wine, or some of our miniature SLOEmotion gins to sample. If they love chocolates, take a trip to our fresh chocolate counter and hand pick them their very own box of Hunters or Lauden chocolates, tailored to include all their favourites. And then don’t ask them to share!

We also have boxed chocolates from fantastic brands such as Charbonnel and Walker and Prestat – which come in gorgeous packaging.

Maybe they don’t have a sweet tooth. Hand select them a box of pies and sausage rolls! Or how about a little hamper of cheeses, with some seeded oatcakes and a jar of tangy chutney?

If nothing makes them happier than a good cup of coffee or tea, treat them to some of the finest available, and make sure they wake up on February 14th with the perfect cuppa to enjoy straight away.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – pretty sure that’s the same for women too!

Friday, 9 February 2018

The end of Dry January – Cheers!

If you were one of the estimated 3.1 million people who did Dry January this year (can’t be just us who went for Ginuary instead?), the turning of the calendar last Thursday marked the end to your endeavours!

There can be lots of great benefits to giving up alcohol – many people find they lose weight, some save money and for others they just feel better in themselves. And as we’ve discussed before, there’s so many great soft drinks on the market now, you don’t need to feel like you’re missing out when everyone else opens a bottle of wine or pours a measure of gin – Seedlip is lovely with a glug of tonic, and from elderflower cordial to alcohol free Shiraz, there’s lots of choice out there other than the usual fizzy pops or boring orange squash.

But if you are one of the two thirds who apparently stuck to their resolution, you may now be feeling like you deserve to celebrate with one of your favourite tipples.

If you’re bonkers about beer, why not try one of the locally produced ones from the Helmsley Brewing Company? Striding the Riding or Helmsley Honey, you can take your pick. Or one of Wold Top’s wide range – from IPA and blond to bitter and even a wheat free variety, something should hit the spot!

If you’ve been craving a glass of claret – or any other wine – we’ve got some beauties in store. How about Le Charme Merlot or Monastier Shiraz? Or if you prefer a glass of Rose, why not go for Route 66 Blush? Of course, we also have a great supply of prosecco and champagne if you like a few bubbles!

If spirits are more your cup of….erm….booze…. then never fear, we have a well stocked supply! For Gin lovers, how about a Sloe or Damson gin? If Whisky is more your thing, then why not try Sloe Motion Sloe Whisky. Fans of Vodka, have no fear – we would highly recommend Masons Yorkshire Vodka.

We also have Port, Sherry, Brandy, Liqueurs and much, much more. Just go easy – if you haven’t had a drop since New Year’s Eve, you might find it goes to your head, so perhaps pick up a few snacks while you’re here to balance it out!

So long Dry January – welcome to fizz-filled February!

Friday, 26 January 2018

The food trends of 2018…. allegedly

With the start of a new year one thing is always sure – there will be a host of experts revealing what the ‘big’ thing of 2018 will be in their industry. From interior design to fashion (cowboy boots apparently), these lists – although sometimes a bit overdone – can prove useful for a bit of inspiration! After all, had someone told you 10 years ago that you’d be eating avocado smashed on everything, you’d probably have thought them crazy.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with food habits, sticking to the same four or five meals you know everyone likes, and which can be rustled up relatively quickly. Should I be embarrassed I’ve eaten exactly the same thing for breakfast every day this year? Perhaps… (although at least it’s porridge), but I hadn’t even really registered it was the case until I started writing!

So, some of these trends might be a bit ‘out there’, but you never know – it might just inspire you to try something new. Here at Hunters, we love finding new ingredients and ideas, so if there’s something you spot which we might not have in store, we’ll happily track it down for you.

2018….what do you have in store for us?

1.      Plant-based food – veganism continues to grow in popularity, and that means more innovation in the sector – leading to more choice! Gone are the days of the only dairy free alternative being a carton of soya milk. And with some of the Hunters team being dairy intolerant, we do like to find the best products out there to give everyone a choice. Even for those who aren’t going vegan, there’s definitely more of a trend towards flexitarianism – eating less meat – and looking at ways to add protein to the diet without it. We’re confident this will be a BIG trend for the year.
2.      Gut healthy foods – we’ve talked before about how popular kimchi, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables are, and how healthy – along with how tasty they are! There is predicted to be an increase in people looking after the health of their digestive system by eating these types of foods, along with things like apple cider vinegar, miso and kefir. Onions and garlic also have good healthy-gut credentials!
3.      The next big cuisine will be…. - There seems to be some disagreement on whether this will be Middle Eastern and African flavours (like Harissa and za’atar), Indian street food, Japanese or Hawaiian (poke bowl anyone?). We think they all sound great, so let’s not worry about picking just one!
4.      Eating more or less often – again there seems to be some difference of opinion. Some people think we’ll all be eating four meals instead of three (maybe a snack before bedtime, or a light extra meal before exercise – although I’m not convinced people haven’t been doing those for decades, without labelling it). Others think fasting will increase in popularity. Do what works for you!
5.      Root to Stem and Nose to Tail – as the name suggests, this is eating everything from a plant or animal, in order to minimise food waste, which can only be a good thing.
6.      Eating local – this has always been important to us, and to many of our customers – but eating regional produce, grown, produced or reared locally, will hopefully continue to increase in importance. Seventy per cent of the items we sell (which, if you’ve been in the store, you’ll know is a lot), are produced in the Yorkshire region.
7.      No alcoholic drinks – whether you’re doing Dry January, or you just fancy cutting down on your alcohol consumption for whatever reason, non-alcoholic drinks are getting trendy. Long gone are the days of having a choice of lemonade or orange squash on a night out. Now there’s hangover free wine and even an alcohol-free spirit – Seedlip. Sip it with tonic, and you’ll forget you’re not drinking – although the clear head the following morning will remind you!

Our favourite kitchen gadgets…in the back of the cupboard

A recent story we spotted caught our eye. Apparently us Brits have a whopping £11 billion (yes, billion, that’s not a typo) worth of kitchen equipment that we never actually use.

A company called HelloFresh conducted the research which showed we each have approximately £415 worth of gear and gadgets and utensils in our kitchens which never, ever see the light of day. Probably after a disastrous or far too time consuming first outing, like our spiraliser.

For every one person who never uses their bamboo steamer, of course there’ll be another who uses it every other day. But as a rule, it is very easy to get caught in the moment with these things, and see yourself as a wannabe Nigella Lawson or James Martin, when in fact you’re more of a 20-minute supper-on-the-table kind of person.

Some of the gadgets which are buried deep in our kitchen cupboards include sushi mats, sous vides, tagines, pasta makers, potato ricers, pestle and mortars, tapas or souffle dishes, waffle makers and even professional chef knives (not sure why you wouldn’t use those – everyone needs a good set of knives!)

Of course, bread makers and ice cream makers also made the list – and there must be quite a few homes which have them taking up worktop space and gathering dust. It sometimes seems a bit of an effort knocking up your own granary, when you can buy so many wonderful, freshly made local loaves at reasonable prices.

Expensive barbecues and outdoor grills also got a mention fairly high up the list – so it’s not only our kitchens which are affected, our gardens are getting in on the act too!

Almost 60 per cent of those surveyed said they had no idea how to use the equipment – which seems odd if it’s just a tapas dish as that’s not exactly difficult. But we can understand if it’s more about not having the confidence to knock up a batch of fresh pasta, or the time to roll your own sushi.

But not only are we collecting gadgets and then having buyer’s remorse, we’re also stocking up on random foods when we go somewhere on holiday. More than half of the people surveyed said they had brought items home from a trip with the intention of cooking recipes they’d tried there – but many ended up throwing the likes of herbs, spices and cured meats in the bin. Those who did try it out said it was either a ‘disaster’ or nothing like the dish they’d had on holiday. We’ve all been there.

But have no fear. Hunters are here to help. Got a kitchen gadget that’s filling you with fear? Hanging on to a random ingredient you’re not sure what to do with? Trying to recreate a holiday recipe that just isn’t working? We all love our food here at Hunters, and if we can help by recommending ingredients, alternatives, help or advice, we’re happy to do so. And if you want to just discuss pointless kitchen gadgets we’re also happy to oblige. Now, where’s those escargot forks?

We heart coffee

We love a good cuppa here at Hunters – whether it’s a cup of refreshing English tea or a pick-me-up coffee, there’s nothing quite like a warming drink to get you feeling like all is ok in the world.

And apparently we’re not alone. We’re a nation addicted to caffeine!

Perhaps more surprisingly though, earlier this year a poll showed that 61 percent of us prefer drinking coffee to tea – does the Queen know??

New research has now shown Brit consume 1,460 cups of coffee a year on average – which sounds a lot, but is only really 4 cups a day. Although when you think that’s 93,440 cups in an adult lifetime, it does sound a little more of an addiction!

The research, from syrup makers Monin, shows that the country’s favourite coffee is by far the Latte, with 41 per cent choosing that, followed by a cappuccino at 38 per cent. In fact, the top 10 went:
1. Latte
2. Cappuccino
3. Americano
4. Mocha
5. Espresso
6. Flat White
7. Iced Coffee
8. Frappe
9. Ground
10. Double Espresso

We spend an average of £13 a week in coffee shops (2.3bn coffees a year are bought and consumed outside of home). That equates to more than £50 a month, and you could buy yourself an awful lot of quality coffee, milk and even some fancy flavourings (if they float your boat) with that!

More than half of us now own our own coffee machine at home, and apparently we’re getting more adventurous with the different styles and flavours of coffee we’re willing to try. Still – come to my house and order a skinny, mocha, frappe, caramel, no foam cappuccino with an extra shot, and I think I might struggle.

When it comes to added extras, 18 per cent of us like caramel syrup in our coffee, while 14 per cent opt for vanilla and 10 per cent hazelnut. 

In store, we stock lots of flavoured coffees,  some of the most popular being Hazelnut and Irish Cream. We’re partial to a bit of Grumpy Mule and Taylors of Harrogate  – with a variety of strengths and origins available, you can even buy by weight here at Hunters – like a traditional sweet shop!

So, next time you’re after a caffeine boost – drop by and we’ll hook you up with your perfect blend!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Are Britain’s Forgotten Foods to be consigned to history books?

When was the last time you enjoyed liver and bacon or a nice Lancashire hot pot?

According to new research, it was probably quite some time ago as these dishes, along with things like kedgeree and faggots, are the British meals which could soon be consigned to the history books.

Some might say it’s about time – devilled kidneys aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – but in some ways it’s always a shame when traditions and things we grew up with (some of us of a certain age anyway!) go out of fashion – perhaps for good.

The research, conducted by Deliveroo, revealed that a pretty convincing 91 per cent of the nation now say they prefer “world food” to traditional British meals. Three quarters said they felt the days of us sitting down to a dinner of meat and two veg are pretty much over – I’m not sure that’s strictly true, as most families I know still enjoy a good Sunday roast. Although maybe not if the meat on offer was faggots.

In fact a lot of Brits had never even tried some of the more traditional dishes. And whereas I can understand how 70 per cent have never tasted Devilled Kidneys I was surprised one in three had never sampled a steak and kidney pudding. They don’t know what they’re missing! Even more surprisingly 20 per cent of Brits have never eaten Shepherd’s Pie, and one in four have never had fish pie!

In fact, the Deliveroo list of the top 15 British foods to be consigned to history were:
1. Devilled kidneys (70 per cent have never tried it)
2. Kedgeree (65 per cent)
3. Potted shrimps (59 per cent)
4. Suet pudding (55 per cent)
5. Liver and bacon (54 per cent)
6. Faggots (53 per cent)
7. Steak and kidney pudding (36 per cent)
8. Lancashire hot pot (34 per cent)
9. Bubble and Squeak (34 per cent)
10. Gammon and pineapple (29 per cent)
11. Fish pie (24 per cent)
12. Toad in the Hole (23 per cent)
13. Ham, egg and chips (21 per cent)
14. Mince and potatoes (19 per cent)
15. Shepherd’s Pie (15 per cent)

Of course it’s all down to individual preference, but surely there’s not much controversial in toad in the hole or ham, egg and chips?

So, if we’re all clearly not eating those things, what are we eating? According to the poll, the nation’s favourite food is Italian, followed by Chinese, Indian and Mexican. The favourite dishes were pizza, curries, spaghetti bolognaise and Asian inspired stir fries. All of which we’re a bit partial to as well, so perhaps you win some and you lose some!

Whatever kinds of food you’re in to, we’ll definitely have something to tickle your tastebuds in store. Except maybe faggots….