Food & Drink

August Gourmet Short Break

August Gourmet Short BreakChesterfield has a quiet food revolution happening - with award winning restaurants that are attracting national media recognition, and independent coffee shops and pubs with a belief in local produce. There's plenty of choice in Chesterfield when it comes to eating out. Chesterfield is home to a number of independently owned restaurants which are proud to serve fresh, locally sourced food. There's also a variety of cuisines for you to try - from traditional Sunday roasts, to authentic Japanese food. Chatsworth Road offers a fantastic selection of eateries, from Italian Nonna's to French themed Mes Amis. In the town centre, the Soulville Steakhouse and Coco Bar Bistro offer varied menus. For a unique dining experience, why not try Buckinghams, known as 'the restaurant with one table,' where chefs will create one-off meals to suit your individual tastes.

This gourmet short break has been crafted with those in mind who really appreciate quality and varied cuisine.

Wednesday 27th August – Calabria

“Welcome to Calabria Italiana & Caffè Bar, Chesterfield’s award-winning Italian restaurant at Glumangate, home to many of Chesterfield’s professionals and long established businesses. Calabria by night serves a contemporary a la carte menu five nights a week. Our tasting menu, although bre-booking required, is also available every night. Guests can also choose from our two and three course fixed price menu on Tuesday – Thursday.”

01246 559944 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -

Thursday 28th August - Maison Mes Amis!

Maison Mes Amis is a beautiful French themed bar and restaurant on Chatsworth Road in Chesterfield. "I want to create a version of home" says Marcella Kirk, proprietor "Mes Amis (Marcella's old Coffee Shop) was styled around a lounge, dining room and kitchen. Maison Mes Amis will be just the same but with the addition of a bar in the lounge and an outside courtyard off the dining room. The kitchen is in two sections, behind the scenes is a typical industrial area together with an open rustic area, more like your kitchen at home, where you'll be able to see your food being prepared." Maison Mes Amis will be serving food all day, and a full evening menu from Wednesday through to Saturday. The bar will be open for for cocktails, fine wine and a selection of continental beers. "It's definitely not just about the evening menu" emphasis Marcella "we're still the same team, serving the same great coffee or tea, scones and cakes all day - and our signature Croque Monsieur's. But we now have a bar and will be open into the evening for evening meals - a grown up Mes Amis."

01246 768789 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday 29th August - O-Tokuda

O-Tokuda is an independent, family-run restaurant specialised in traditional yet authentic Japanese cuisine. We offer Sushi, Sashimi, Yakitori, Sumiyaki, among others. Delicious Japanese food served up by a team of Japanese staff in the relaxing ambience, conveniently located in the town centre, we are just a stone’s throw away from the Crooked Spire.

01246 556 996 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anis Louise Guest House,
34 Clarence Street,
S40 1LN

01246 235412

Malton - Yorkshires Food Capital

Malton - Yorkshires Food Capital. A little savvy marketing and a famous name go a long way.Malton’s reputation for its excellent food and drink offering earned it the reputation of ‘Yorkshire’s Food Capital’. Indeed it was Antonio Carluccio, godfather of Italian cuisine, who having visited the town several times first coined the phrase. Malton’s emergence as a food town can be explained by the abundance of amazing produce right on its doorstep and by some of the most productive and varied farmland in the country. The Malton area includes rare breed cattle and pigs, the famous Ginger Pig Farm is only a matter of miles away, along with lobster and crab in huge numbers, grouse, pheasant, partridge and venison from the North York Moors, cheese-makers, artisan bakers, chutneys, breweries, Yorkshire spirits and much, much more. Malton even has Britain’s most northerly commercial vineyard in the UK just a stone’s through away.

Add to this the famous annual Food Lovers Festival, the monthly Food Markets, Talbot Hotel with James Martin Restaurant, the “Made In Malton” project and the best food shops in Yorkshire.

Malton is proud to call itself Yorkshire’s Food Capital and has big plans for the future!

Malton Cookery School opened for business on Friday 16 May 2014, details about courses can be found on

Malton Food Lovers Festival took place on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May 2014. The dates for 2015′s Food Lovers Festival are Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 May.

The Malton Monthly Food Markets in 2014 take place on the following Saturdays: 8 March, 12 April, 14 June, 12 July, 9 August, 13 September, 11 October, 8 November, 13 December.

Mollie Sharp's Cheese Shop Selby reviewed by Gill Townend - Pontefract

Mollie Sharp's Cheese Shop Selby

Review by Gill Townend - Pontefract

I must admit Selby would not normally have been a chosen destination for a day out. Not that we have anything against the town, my husband and I used to visit the market some years ago, but it seemed to be in decline. So last Wednesday when we had decided to have a day out at the coast we both felt very let down when we realised that our car had other ideas. It Overheated as we entered the town and my husband discovered some belt or another had fallen off. We called the AA who said they would be with us within the hour. Jim stayed with the car and I headed into Selby to get us a couple of cold drinks.

I was pleasantly surprised by the improvement in the town. It's maybe a year since we last passed through and I noticed new housing had been completed on one corner and a new Turkish restaurant on an adjacent corner. The town looks fresh and clean with flower in hanging baskets along the main street, much improved from the rather grey and dismal place we previously used to visit. I returned to the car and the AA man had fixed the car. I suggested to Jim that we should have a look around before we carried on to the coast.

Up a side street that I remember used to be filled with market stalls we stumbled upon a real treasure. A delicatessen and cheese mongers the likes of which you might expect to find in Harrogate or up in the Dales. (Editors link – Molly Sharp's cheese shop) The owner was so nice, we felt more like old friends than customers he'd never met before. After spending a very pleasant half hour we left with a treasure trove of cheeses, wine and a bottle of sherry which we've discovered is truly spectacular. I sent this review in the hope that the owner will see it as there seem to be quite a few articles about Selby trades. I and my husband will certainly be back, only this time Selby will be our destination.

Editors Note:-

Thank you so much for your review Mrs. Townend. I will make certain that Richard Sharp owner at Mollie Sharps's is made aware of your kind review.

Sunday morning fry up anybody? The Bacon Wizard may well have saved your bacon...

Sunday morning fry up anybody? The Bacon Wizard may well have saved your bacon...On Wednesday the 10th of March 2013, Jasper Aykroyd AKA Bacon Wizard attended a stakeholder’s meeting at Noble House in London: The Headquarters of the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs. Subject du jour was the move by Brussels to ban use of saltpetre and nitrites in the organic curing of meats. It has been something of a surprise to the EU that certain producers in The UK object loudly to these proposals; the committee in Brussels probably feel they are doing the right thing. Bless.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed.

No surprise that your friendly Bacon Wizard has strong views, and was determined to make them heard. Thanks to Robin Fransella from DEFRA, they were indeed heard loud and clear. There was agreement and welcome support from the UK’s industry leaders, food technologists, legal experts and government departments. Saltpetre has been instrumental in the successful curing of artisan meats since at least the Roman era, and possibly as far back as prehistoric times. (It is a salt found in caves, although latterly manufactured, especially when needed to make explosives!) While its early use was driven purely by what was seen to work and with no science to support it, one can hardly compare this with some of our other ancient practices which thankfully did not make it into modern usage:

[ Deadly nightshade is seen to make an excellent eye-drop if you wish to
a) appear in love
b) die slowly and horribly! ]

As so often happens, the greedy sought greater convenience and profit for themselves. Saltpetre and its derivatives became abused in amounts that might affect the greater population's health (In much the same way as farming has overused it on the land in the past, too) Laws were therefore passed to prevent this, once scientific knowledge caught up with the practice. Now though, the political impetus to completely ban the use of saltpetre or more potent cousin “Sodium Nitrite” in organic bacon production, threatens not only the artisan but the consumer too. Authorities are so poorly educated in these increasingly specialist (and if we’re not careful, extinct) areas of craftsmanship that to make useful judgements on behalf of a public; to inform the public even, is impossible. Unfortunately it seems that knowledge is not power. Certainly we are seeing once again that one can exert power without knowledge. In answer to this increasingly obvious deficit, and in self defence, wider industry has made inroads to understanding the curing process over the last 2 years: Hardly complete, but groundbreaking nevertheless. Especially considering how unbelievably complex it is in biochemical terms. some might even say magical. It was indeed the alchemists (who included people such as Newton among their number) who first identified nitrates (saltpetre being such a thing) as the “source of life itself”.
A statement too far in-fact, but in modern science confirms the vast importance of these compounds in biochemistry.

Shame then, that until yesterday’s Stakeholder meeting, nobody wanted to know.

Is it too late? Will a knee-jerk political reaction consign millennia of dedicated artisans to the history book? At the moment, just about, a bacon butty doesn’t have to be organic to be good. But the point is that if the proposed changes to EU law are passed, it will be impossible to be both organic, and good. That can’t be right. Organics have always claimed to be more about ethics than quality, which is a shame. But in the 21st century some joined-up thinking might now be the order of the day. The objective; to understand our ecosystem such that quality and ethics meet each other and go skipping hand-in-hand onto the consumer’s plate. In modern terms then, this represents a chance to declare once and for all where the organic movement hopes to go. Something that is truly relevant and accessible to the non-flag-waving majority might be a good start: The fruits of organic labour need to be a thing that non-subscribers can, nevertheless, both enjoy and afford.

This being said, such an aspiration would require a day-to-day understanding of food production and economics which are currently lacking in our population. Given the recent demise of close community and the nuclear family, our experiences come primarily through supermarkets and media. It seems strange to me that food knowledge is of any less importance than say reading and writing. After all, we put it inside our bodies! At base level, eating differs in no way from administering a complex package of drugs. It can also be hugely pleasurable, and helps quite a lot with not being dead, too.

So let me address one small part of that problem and ensure that you, dear reader, have been informed.

Saltpetre, and the “nitrites” into which they can be transformed quite naturally, are vital for pork to become bacon or ham, organic or otherwise. The quantities in bacon are vastly smaller than the amounts found naturally in green leafy vegetables. What concerns there might be for health can be very easily prevented by use of herbs and spices, or vitamin C which protects the consumer from any potential harm (which is itself a contentious issue) There are no alternative technologies to replace the last few millennia of nitrate use, and there never will be. Agreed, there are many, many reasons to resent the shrinking piece of something-or-other that you bought (2 for the price of one, no doubt!) and the scummy water you find in the pan. But that’s simply an issue of supermarket giants and their multinational suppliers making awful bacon, full of water and other undesirables in order to drive down price and increase profit. While none of the above parties might appreciate the role of nitrites other than for a bit of colour and shelf-life, the following statement is no less true:

For the absolutely everyone: artisan, multinational company, or for you and your family, the total banning of nitrites in curing would mean-


Bacon Wizard left that meeting in London yesterday confident that this was now understood by the DEFRA representative, confident in the UK’s international position and in the force of its argument. Other member states are perhaps used to thinking of Britain as a culinary midget. But in a moment when the rest of the EU are filled with apathy, they could be in for a very big shock indeed.

After all, we do make BLOODY good bacon! And you can't ignore that.

Contact Jasper on 07545 803 261


Good Oil Gone Bad?

Olive Oil - Good oil gone bad?The joy of olive oil lies in its many delightful aromas and flavours, from voluptuous ripe olive to bright green grassy notes and from a soft subtle finish to a zippy peppery kick There is a world of sensory exploration awaiting the adventurer. But like any great explorer, you will be faced with risks, crocodiles in the placid waters. The sad truth is that most people are accustomed to the flavour of olive oil that has passed its best. Olive oil is no longer an occasional presence in the kitchen so it is time to change that. We need to start by recognizing one essential fact about olive oil, it is a perishable product. Olive oil tastes best when it is fresh. Think of olive oil on a freshness continuum that goes from just-made, harvest-fresh at one end, to completely rancid at the other. How long it takes an olive oil to go from one end of this freshness continuum to the other depends on many factors: storage temperature, exposure to air and light, and the amount of natural antioxidants in the olive oil in the first place. All olive oils, even the finest ones, will go off eventually. This is why you must never hoard olive oil: use it and enjoy it. Waiting for a special occasion to use your good olive oil? How about dinner! It's olive oil, not a fine wine! Do you have a clear sense of what rancid oil smells and tastes like? A good image for many people is the smell of crayons. Another hint is something that almost everyone has tasted, old peanuts, with that soapy taste. Rancid is fat gone bad, something all of us have encountered at some time. On a rancid scale of 0 to 10, almost everyone will notice a 9 or a 10. The trick is to develop the confidence to pick out rancidity when it is a 5, or a 3, or lower. The flavour of rancidity in olive oil is usually accompanied by a greasy mouth-feel; in fact, the greasiness often is noticeable first.

Go to your cupboard and pull out the olive oil. How old is it? Is there a “Best Before” date on the bottle? Generally that date is two years from the time that it was bottled. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell you when it was harvested and milled. Sniff it. Taste it. Crayons? Putty? Old peanuts?

If so it's time to say goodbye....




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