During my trip north this week I had a treat.I travelled south to Northallerton in Yorkshire, yes a large part of England is even further North than Yorkshire.I met up with a friend from University days and we did what we do best ,drank ,ate and gossiped.We have gone up-market since student days in Durham and had lunch in the wonderful BETTY’S TEA SHOP.Established in 1919, mobile phones are banned, the head waiter could audition for Jeeves and the waitresses are immaculate in black with white pinnies. This is such an institution in the North folks get homesick just thinking of their cake trolley.
You can buy fresh each day twenty-one different kinds of bread. The cakes are to die for and rich fruit cakes are tinned and shipped all over the world.Feeling frivolous after a light lunch and a goldfish bowl of Swiss Rose wine I ordered a silly cake.
Maybe feeling homesick for Puyloubier! I would suggest you look at the website http://www.bettys.co.uk My aim is to find the time to go to their cookery school and discover the secrets of their wonderful creations, I know of nowhere in the world better.I have a traditional SIMNEL CAKE to put into our auction in April in France.I know several English ex-pats who will be willing to fight for it!
Today I have been to cookery school.Many Welsh residents are of Italian stock.They started Italian coffee shops and sold ice-cream up the Welsh Valleys.One particularly famous and well-loved local is Franco Taruschio OBE.This legendary chef ran the WALNUT TREE RESTAURANT near Abergavenny for 38 years.In its heyday a mecca for foodies across the UK.He now shares cookery classes with Enrico De Vita at the Trattoria Cookery School run by the FLORIMONTE FAMILY in Wales.
This was my birthday present and one I really enjoyed today, check it out on http://www.trattoriarestaurant.com
There was a mix of hands on , demonstration and non stop tips, hints, and short cuts. At times it was hard to keep notes on all the gems of knowledge that he threw into the light-hearted banter.
Enrico is keen to use local produce and traditional recipes with an Italian twist.We were encouraged to go foraging for wild Garlic leaves which are in season, and use the best CAERPHILLY CHEESE for this meat free sausage.
The SEA BASS was served on wild garlic Bubble and Squeak another great fusion dish which tasted delicious.
Franco’s liberal use of Tia Maria and double cream for dessert reminded me of the night at the Walnut Tree when choosing dessert was just too difficult so I shocked our table by ordering two…. and eating them!
One of our fellow students was enjoying her birthday so typical of the atmosphere of the day Franco found candles and we all sang.
Many students had been given a voucher for the class as a Christmas or Birthday gift… I highly recommend it.
For that really special occasion in May and October there are a weeks course in Italy itself. http://www.gustoinfinito .Set in a four star hotel in Le Marche it looks heavenly.This is apt as Franco’s philosophy is,”Cook with love-cook with your soul”.