Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.
Once well caffeinated, I would move on and meander slowly amongst York’s cobbled streets, up to Kings Square where buskers would be setting up for the day ahead, down St-Andrew’s gate, marvelling at how quickly one could get away from the hub and buzz of the city. Arrived at Bartle Garth, my feet would take me left and there I’d be, seated once more at a quaint table in front of Bedern Hall, York’s most hidden (and perhaps most haunted) Guildhall. Roger would be out in a minute, and after a bit of a chat, I’d be served with tea and spreading thick cream on fresh scones. Home-grown Blackcurrant jam? Yes please.
By then, I would often call up on a friend to join and help out with the rest of the day’s eats and drinks. Meeting in the Shambles, we’d stop by Bluebird Bakery for a bit of bread or, my favourite, their Savoury Danish. At the Shambles Tavern we stocked up on a few bottles of (Yorkshire-made) Kinoko Kombucha, a very refreshing drink made from fermented tea. In the Shambles Market, we’d pick up fruits and veg and maybe a crêpe or a falafel wrap to share from one of the street food stalls. Arrived at the Museum Gardens, we’d unwrap the picnic and begin the feast — and we never forgot to grab a few pork pies at Appletons Butchers on the way.
If the sun was particularly bright, the next stop would invariably be Trinacria Café, down on Bishy Road, where gelato is true indulgence and seems to put everything back right back in its place.
You might be quite full by now, we understand, so a walk on the Walls is definitely in order. While strolling around, you notice a beautiful garden and there, propped around a bright green table, two friends are having a drink.
Spotted! Here we are, sat in the gardens at The New School House Gallery and sipping on a Negroni cocktail, perhaps a bit of wine, a cold beer or, of course, a welcome glass of G&T. It’s only after two years that I discovered how to actually even get into these gardens and the gem I uncovered truly is a very special one.
The sun is lowering slowly now and the day is coming to an end, so once again, we re-embark on the walls onwards to the final destination. On Gillygate, an unassuming and very busy street, Love Cheese offers you a secret courtyard with views on the walls and the Minster up ahead. Here, you can sit in the garden while nibbling away at a board stock-full with cheese and a row of wines to pair.
The Minster bells ring, the evening breeze sweeps at the air of gold and you think that York is, really, our own secret sort of a French Riviera.
The first words of greeting I received when landing in York ran something like this:
“Luv’, up here in Yorkshire we have just two seasons; 3 months of Bad Weather and the rest, well, the rest, we call them Winter.”
Well, dear Tim, I’m afraid this year has finally proved you wrong.
With days of endless sunshine, beautiful blue skies and abounding heat, this Summer begs for glasses of crisp cool drinks, alfresco dining and hours spent indulging in what my travels have helped me identify as the Supreme Art of La Dolce Vita.
I first came to York from Canada to study Archaeology but, quickly enough, it is the buoyancy of the city’s culinary scene that captivated me, much more than the depths of the city’s mysterious and undiscovered past ever rose up to haunt me.
Since March 2017, I have been busying myself with leading Food Tours in York, indulging in a few hours of happy chatter with guests as we ate and drank our way through the city to slowly unravel all her hidden stories and unearth a few of her secret foodie caches.
On days where tours did not run, however, and where the drudgery of admin tasks did not cloud over the sky, I would take to town myself, making it my mission to seek out the best spots to revel in the rare Summer’s sun and fill up on some much much-needed Vitamin D. How difficult a mission it was…
The day would inevitably start in York’s own French Riviera, at Mannion & Co, a lovely little deli serving up beautiful, wholesome food created with locally-sourced products and a continental flare. I nibbled happily at my almond croissant while sipping on coffee (served alongside a crisp biscotti which, by the way, might just put the Italians to shame) in the courtyard which once belonged to the family’s greengrocers.