<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today click here

Malton - Yorkshire’s foodie mini-break

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 April 2017

Malton's food festival attracts thousands of visitors over two days

Malton's food festival attracts thousands of visitors over two days

not Archant

Malton is calling itself ‘Yorkshire’s food capital’ with an impressive and growing list of artisan producers. But can it really compete with the likes of Leeds and York, asks Tony Greenway.

David Elkington checks the coffee roast at Roost Coffee and Roastery based in Malton's Talbot Yard David Elkington checks the coffee roast at Roost Coffee and Roastery based in Malton's Talbot Yard

For a good while now, Malton has been looking... well... rather delicious. I used to live there 27 years ago when it was a pretty little market town but, food-wise, wasn’t much to write home about. It didn’t even have an Indian restaurant. It’s still a pretty little market town. Now, however, Malton has morphed into a foodie paradise that’s home to myriad artisan producers, and has taken to calling itself ‘Yorkshire’s food capital.’

In the stylish Talbot Yard Food Court alone, for example, there’s the brilliant Groovy Moo gelateria, the Roost Coffee and Roastery, the Food 2 Remember butchers and The Bluebird Bakery. Drop down into the town centre and you’ll find the Yo Bakehouse artisan bakery and coffee house, Mennells chocolate and sweet shop, McMillans of Malton (for all your specialist gin and whiskey requirements), No 46 Cafe and Cocktail Bar, Chapter One Bistro, Kingfisher Cafe Gift & Bookshop, Leoni coffee shop (whose owner, Simon Robertson, has been crowned UK barista champion in past years), Dales of Malton fruit and veg, Costello’s bakery and Derek Fox Butcher and Game Dealer (although this last one is hardly new, having been in Malton for around 100 years). Brass Castle, meanwhile, is a microbrewery whose Burnout beer was crowned UK Supreme Champion at the Society of Independent Brewers national beer competition.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

There have been some disappointments: Butterbees of Malton — the UK’s first butter boutique which was widely publicised in the press — has closed, for example but the Malton Cookery School, the monthly markets, and an acclaimed food festival (which returns in May) have put the town squarely on the culinary map. So much so that other names are now considering Malton as a location, such as bar and restaurant company Stew and Oyster, who are reportedly looking at setting up in the renovated town hall building plus a wood-fired pizza restaurant and a gin distillery.

Tom Naylor-Leyland, organiser of Malton Food Lovers Festival with Sharon Foyle  of Mennells confectioners Tom Naylor-Leyland, organiser of Malton Food Lovers Festival with Sharon Foyle of Mennells confectioners

But ‘Yorkshire’s food capital’? Isn’t that tag a bit... well... overblown? Can Malton really compete with the likes of Leeds, Sheffield or York, when it comes to food and drink?

Tom Naylor-Leyland, from Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, is the man leading the Malton food town project. He says that’s not really what the town is trying to do. And, anyway, it wasn’t Malton that came up with the ‘Yorkshire food capital’ title. That was something chef Antonio Carluccio said on his first visit here (he’s now something of a regular).

The truth is, says Tom, cities have more food outlets and producers than Malton because (no spoiler alert necessary)... well... they’re bigger. Obviously. ‘But Malton is specialising in food,’ he points out. ‘We have food businesses, producers, makers, markets, the festival, the cookery school... it’s not just one aspect with us. It’s the entire food world. The idea is to offer the customer a complete foodie experience when they visit. We’ve been calling it a “foodie mini-break”. You can stay here, have a fantastic dinner, then go on a food tour, visit the producers and see how the food is made. You might go to our markets, the festival, or you might spend the day at our cookery school. Malton totally engrosses you in Yorkshire food — and British food, as well.’

Michelle Walker, the owner of Groovy Moo, set up her business in Malton after reading a newspaper interview with Naylor-Leyland. ‘Tom mentioned Talbot Yard, so we went to have a look,’ she remembers. ‘I took a gamble, bearing in mind this is prime farming community here. They can be set in their ways, but they value what I call “the experience” — customer service, value for money and (buying) something good. If it’s not good, you won’t survive in this town. So I don’t think it’s about ‘come to Malton and you’ll make a fortune.’ I think you have to believe in (what you’re offering). And if you believe in it, you will succeed here.’ Indeed, Groovy Moo has been so successful Michelle is now in the process of opening a second unit in Howden, East Yorkshire.

Malton's  food festival attracts big names including chef Rosemary Shrager Malton's food festival attracts big names including chef Rosemary Shrager

The lesson for would-be retailers in Malton is this: Michelle hasn’t simply opened her business to tie in with the festival or the tagline. She’s here for the long-haul and admits the food capital title can be a bit overdone. Malton gets most of its revenue from the local people, which she says, speaks volumes for the town as a whole. It’s a loyal kind of place. ‘When I came here with a cabinet full of gelato with all different flavours, do you know what?’ she asks. ‘They got on board — and they’re all singing with us. And now the net is spreading and people are coming from far and wide to Malton.’

Navigation Wharf — the next phase of Malton’s foodie development — is now opening. This is an area of former riverside warehouses that has been developed by Fitzwilliam Estate and Costello’s, famous for its pies, will be moving in soon (and probably will have done by the time you read this).

Yet are more developments really necessary? Isn’t the Talbot Yard Food court and other units in the town — not least the renovated town hall — enough to be getting on with? ‘Navigation Wharf will be a little bit different,’ says Tom. ‘We don’t see it as raw retail. It’s more production. Costello’s will be going into a large unit there and will be visited on the food tour, for example.’ Yo Bakehouse will also be taking a production unit.

And anyway, Tom says that one of the biggest changes to have happened in Malton over the last few years hasn’t been to the physical infrastructure. Instead, a feeling has been growing in the town. ‘People have become excited by Malton and are starting to really believe in it. We had 1,000 people at our first food festival nine years ago. Last year we had 30,000 visit us over two days. Food is such a universal, emotive subject.’ There is still work to do, he admits: the restaurant offer could be bigger and better, he says, and he’d really like to entice in a chocolatier and a cheesemonger. ‘And it’s not that we only want food businesses, because we have some fantastic non-food businesses here. Food is just the catalyst to get people in.’

More from Out & About

Wed, 19:22

The ‘Rural Oscars’ Are Back

Read more

It might be a record-breaking Capital of Curry, but there’s so much more besides on Bradford’s multicultural menu.

Read more
Sunday, October 15, 2017

Halloween is all about remembering the dead particularly saints and martyrs but for most especially youngsters, the night before All Saints Day is about trick and treating, costume parties, carving jack o’ lanterns from pumpkins, watching horror films and visiting haunted houses.

Read more
Things to do in Yorkshire Autumn
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Take in the beauty of the North York Moors as you walk along its pathways and wooded tracks

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A recent Office for National Statistics survey found that residents of the Craven District were the happiest in UK. We’ve picked some our favourite places that show why this rings true with the locals.

Read more
Yorkshire Dales
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

There is almost too much to do in a North Yorkshire town that doesn’t believe in standing still, says Martin Pilkington

Read more
Monday, October 9, 2017

Tony Greenway visits the North Yorkshire market town and takes his young daughter for a second opinion.

Read more
Thursday, October 5, 2017

A group of Yorkshire knitting and craft enthusiasts have turned an unlikely bi-product of wildlife conservation into a range of fundraising products

Read more
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cheers to charity

Read more
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

It is all too easy to forget the rich past that belongs to this South Yorkshire town, as Richard Darn reports

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Yorkshire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Yorkshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search