Six of the best apple based treats from Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 October 2016
Question of the month: do you prefer a sweet apple or a sharp, sour apple, asks Tony Greenway.
I like both, depending on my mood — I’m a creature of whim — but whatever the taste, the texture has to be crisp and crunchy. I’m not here to denigrate other apples, but there’s nothing worse than taking a bite out of a particular variety and then finding yourself with a mouthful of apple-flavoured cotton wool. And OK, yes, I do mean you, French Golden Delicious.
Then there are apples whose very name puts you off eating them. Or, at least, puts me off eating them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy the Dog’s Snout variety (an old Yorkshire cooker) or the Bloody Ploughman or tucking into a Sheepnose, Ballyfatten, Hangdown, Redstreak, Manks Codlin, Knobbed Russett or Maiden’s Blush. And the least said about Slack-ma-Girdle (an old variety of cider apple) the better. Then there are those strange apples that are named after people: Cardinal Von Galen, Ben Davis, Charles Ross, Arthur Turner. (‘Great! There’s a nice, firm, juicy Arthur Turner in my lunchbox.’) Although, strangely, Granny Smith sounds fine.
But the things you can make with apples — even the mushy-textured ones — are quite remarkable. In Yorkshire there are various producers working wonders with various forbidden fruit varieties, creating a range of products including wine, cider, vinegar and chutney. Here are half a dozen of my favourites
Yorkshire Apple Wine
A 14.2% wine made by Halifax producer Luddenden Valley Wines, using a blend of local cooking apples and eating apples from Luddenden’s own orchard, with some surplus apples sourced from the local community. ‘It’s a popular wine,’ says Luddenden’s Gwyn Evans, who uses cultured wine yeast to increase the alcohol content. ‘I’d describe the flavour as a grown up version of cider, with a mellow apple nose.’ You can find Luddenden Valley Wines (who produce 16 different wine flavours, including parsnip and rhubarb) on Facebook and Twitter, or buy products as individual bottles or by the case through their website.
Toffee Apple Cider
A delicious medium sweet cider (coming in at 4.0%) from Orchards of Husthwaite, near Thirsk. ‘We only make one cider,’ says owner Cameron Smith. ‘I mature it for six months and then I sweeten it and, for the toffee apple variety, add caramel syrup as it’s the easiest way to do it without losing alcohol content.’ A great idea and great cider, too. If you don’t fancy toffee apple, then Orchards of Husthwaite produce lots of other flavours, including a mulled spiced cider, a rhubarb apple cider and a raspberry apple cider.
Sweet Apple Vinaigrette Dressing
The Kilby family at Wharfe Valley Farms, near Wetherby are third generation farmers who grow, press and bottle all their own oil. They also sell a fabulous sweet apple vinaigrette dressing. Enough said.
Pork and Apple Pie
Do you know what goes really well with apple? Pork, of course. (Actually, it might be the other way around; apple goes really well with pork.) Kendall’s Farm Butchers in Pateley Bridge makes an award-winning pork pie that is out of this world, topped with conserve made from locally grown apples. If you’re looking for an extra slice of foodie heaven, they also produce an award-winning pork, black pudding and apple pie.
Apple and Raisin Chutney
Raydale Preserves was born in 1978 when Lesley and Derek Kettlewell started making their own preserves and chutneys after discovering their son was allergic to additives. Awards began to follow. Raydale’s apple and raisin chutney more than hits the spot for cheese fans — as does their blue cheese lover’s pineapple chutney, made with apples and... er... pineapples (as you might expect).
Yorkshire Wolds Apple Juice
A bit of a Yorkshire Life favourite, this one, as it was voted drink product of the year at the Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards 2015 (our 2016 awards will be announced shortly after this issue is published). Made by hand on the edge of the Wolds, flavours include traditional apple, apple and rhubarb and apple and elderflower. You can buy them at various outlets, food festivals and farmers’ markets, so see the website for a full run down.