Six of the best rhubarb products in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 12:27 11 March 2014 | UPDATED: 22:19 09 November 2015
Tony Greenaway searches for the best rhurbarb products
I was in London last weekend and played a game of word association with my mates, writes Tony Greenway. I said ‘Yorkshire’ and they replied with the first word that came into their heads. There isn’t that much going on in their heads, so this was more difficult than it sounds. I should also point out that my London friends — whose idea of ‘the frozen north’ is Tottenham — can’t point to Leeds on a map and think that Dean Clough is an actual person. Anyway, my first friend, predictably enough, said ‘whippets’, so we’ll pass smartly by that one. The second said ‘Life’ (so was probably related to the Editor in some way) and the third said ‘unopened wallet’ (which is actually two words — and may have just been a dig at me as it was my round). But the fourth said ‘rhubarb’ which I thought was original, interesting and surprising. When I asked him what he meant, he said: ‘Well, Yorkshire’s part of the rhubarb rectangle, innit?’ Yes, he sort of spoilt it a bit there. The point is that if one of my mates knows that Yorkshire is well-known for its rhubarb, then it must be pretty bloomin’ famous. So, this being the end of the season for forced rhubarb and the start of the season for main crop rhubarb, we thought we’d point you in the direction of six of the best rhubarb-flavoured treats. All from Yorkshire, of course. Enjoy.
Siberia Rhubarb Saison
The Ilkley Brewery created their earthy, farmhouse Siberia saison beer as a one-off initially, but it proved so popular it’s become a permanent fixture, and goes down particurlarly well in the USA. Siberia is available in UK independent bottle shops too, and in various watering holes across the country, including MOJO Bar and Notes coffee shop in Leeds. Luke Raven from the Brewery tells me that, originally, the idea was to make a French-style beer using a seasonal local product (hence the name ‘saison’) and hit upon the idea of rhubarb from Yorkshire. That’s not to say that the beer tastes of rhubarb exactly — peppercorns and vanilla are also used in the brewing process — but it instead uses characteristics from rhubarb to balance out the flavour. There’s a hint of sourness, but it’s also refreshing and has a bittersweet finish.
E Oldroyd & Sons are one of the most famous rhubarb-growers in Yorkshire, and one of the largest in the country. A key part of the Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb, the company arranges hugely popular rhubarb tours from January through to March. These include information about the history of rhubarb and its health benefits, and a look in the forcing sheds.
The award-winning Yorkshire-based Bracken Hill Fine Foods makes a knock-out red onion and rhubarb chutney, using rhubarb from E Oldroyd & Sons. Where else?
I’ve mentioned Cryer and Stott before, but their rhubarb cheese is so good, I’ll happily mention it again. Actually, there are two rhubarb cheeses you should check out from this chain of Yorkshire cheese shops: Rhubarb Gold and Rhuby Crumble. The Gold is tangy yet sweet and made from ewes’ milk, the Crumble is a creamy Wensleydale with Yorkshire forced rhubarb and vanilla pod.
Rhubarb Ice Cream
LICC — run by the ultra-welcoming Dawn Argyle — is one of the best ice cream shops in York and now back from its annual hols in time for the spring rush, with a massive 150-odd flavours, including a range of rhubarb ones; so try rhubarb custard, rhubarb and ginger, strawberry rhubarb, orange and rhubarb and rhubarb crumble ice cream. You’ll be mightily pleased you did.
Trust Harvey Nicks to make a delicious Yorkshire rhubarb preserve. To be precise, this is Yorkshire rhubarb preserve with orange, and the rhubarb comes from the Yorkshire triangle and is harvested by moonlight. Sounds romantic, tastes like heaven.