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A Hunter Gatherer's Tale

Friday 13th August 1999

I've taken a few days off work, without any plans. Marg and I had thought about taking the Eurotunnel to Northern France for the Eclipse, then perhaps head south for a couple of days, but the less than favourable weather forecasts put us off, and we decided to have a few day-trips.

On Friday, we decided to head towards Skipton - a town we'd been to once before which we'd enjoyed as the start to a few days exploration of Yorkshire. Being late risers, we managed to set off about 1:30 pm!!!

On the way we stopped at Clitheroe and visited Cowman's Butchers - renowned for their large selection of sausages.

We bought:

  • Venison
  • Pork and Fennel
  • Pork and Orange
  • Clitheroe Hot and Spicy
  • Pork and Chestnut Chipolata Pork

Their range runs to nearly sixty different varieties, including Pork and Walnut which contains no preservative, colouring or rusk, and is thus gluten free. Cowmans also do mail order.

After stopping to buy some Mysore Nuggets from Exchange Coffee, and sampling their Wild Boar and Juniper Berry Pate, we headed towards Skipton, where we arrived just as the Market was being dismantled. A quick stop at Whittakers, where we stocked up on hand-made chocolates and an Ice Cream.

We bought:

  • Raspberry Cremes
  • Dark Chocolate coated crystallised Ginger
  • Turkish Delight
  • Chocolate Raisins
  • Chocolate Dusted Almonds
  • Plain Ice Cream Cornet

Onwards toward Ilkley, where we knew there was a branch of Betty's - the renowned delicatessen and tea-rooms. We arrived just as they were closing at six pm - but they confirmaed that the Harrogate branch was open until nine pm - so off we went...

Arriving at about seven pm, we had a short spell of window shopping - there are a few antique dealers in the neighbourhood, then in to Betty's.

I had a bottle of Black Sheep Ale, Marg a pot of tea, while we decided on what we were going to eat. The waitress recommended the Spring Onion and Mushroom Rosti, topped with Raclette - and I went for that. Marg went for the Masham Sausage. Both were very good, but the raison d'etre of Betty's is less the (undoubted) quality of the produce, more the genteel ambience, redolent of a more relaxed age - for example, a pianist was playing unobtrusively - I only really noticed him when he played someting I liked!. I didn't mind spending what I would have considered exorbitant in a lesser establishment.

After eating, we browsed the delicatessen, and came away with (another) jar of Bettys Tomato Chutney, and a packet of Ginger Biscuits. The Chutney would have warranted the trip on its own, according to Marg! Bettys also do Mail Order.

Bettys also run events - Musical Evenings and Gourmet jaunts, for example:

Magical Mozart
Join Flautist Fiona Mclaughlin and Pianist Pavlina Ognayanove for an
evening of Mozart Classics
Wed.25th August - Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, Harrogate
Thu. 26th August - Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, York (Belmont Room)

York Festival of Food and Drink (Mon 20th Sep to Sunday 26th Sep)

Festival "Grazing" Feast Eat your way around York on this special evening. Enjoy your starter, main meal and dessert at three different restaurants in York, including Bettys. Tickets 23 from York Festival of Food and Drink Ticket Agent on 01904 554425

This (half) day trip reminded me that it is possible to find good food in Great Britain - one just has to look harder and further than one should have to.

Cowman's Famous Sausage Shop
13 Castle Street
01200 423842
(Half-Day closing: Wednesday)

Claire Whittaker
25 High Street
01756 700240

Exchange Coffee
24 Wellgate
01200 442270
(Branches at Blackburn and Skipton, also Mail Order)

Betty's Cafe and Tea Rooms
Branches at:
01904 659142

1, Parliament Street
North Yorkshire
01423 502746




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(Mark Twain)

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