Sunday, 20 June 2010

Otley's Butchers

So my time in Leeds is coming to an end, I’ve about 4 weeks left up North as the Lady and I are relocating to London town. There’s a lot I’ll miss, but near the top of the list is definitely the food.

With limited time left we’ve decided to try and make the most of it and had a bit of a wander out to Otley to pick up some provisions for the coming weeks.

Otley was one of the first places I visited when I got to Yorkshire and it helped break me into the way of life in the Dales. It holds good memories for me; the pub I moved up North to work at is not far from here.

I can remember the first time I drove through town wondering what the hell I’d got myself into; it was snowy, freezing cold and unbelievably bleak. Its charms soon wore me down as I fell in love with the pubs serving beer better than I’d ever tasted before and it’s great butchers as well.

Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of bad memories as well, I’d need to take my socks off to help me count the number of times I’ve almost been beaten up in glamorous places like Korks for chatting up the wrong girl or for just being Southern… well maybe for being cocky as well.

Otley has 2 of my long time favourite butchers. Both are fantastic but for different things. Weegmans for me is the best place to get Pork Pies in the whole of Yorkshire, served warm literally straight from the oven being produced in the shop they are fantastic.

Sweet, salty and sexy I’d easily choose the Pork Pie as my desert island food. It’s all good though, you can get ridiculously great hot roast pork sandwiches, crackling, savoury ducks and scotch eggs as well.

On the other side of the square we have what a lot would consider some heavy weight competition in the form of Geo Middlemiss. This is where I’d like to get my meat from forever really. It is the picture perfect butchers shop.

I picked up some Tomato sausages, some great looking Middle Bacon and Duck Eggs as well. We had friends over for the weekend, so a Sunday fry-up was definitely in order.

The texture and flavour of these sausages is fantastic, deeply meaty and savoury perfect for breakfast and helping to bring you back to life after a long night drinking Champagne and playing monopoly… It’s just how we roll.

Otley is definitely a great little place to get your food shopping done and will be sorely missed. Having these 2 great butchers next to each other is so lucky and the little market isn't too bad either for some great fresh veg. If worst comes to worst you can always pop to Waitrose as well.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

How not to do a Guardian Article part deux...

Check out my second guest blog for the Guardian Leeds

It’s upon us… The summer, the World Cup both here and in full force. You can’t really escape the football, it’s everywhere quite literally. One thing that is ever pervasive is the advertising that comes with it, brands trying to jump on the band wagon and gain some advantage playing on that patriotic angle. With this in mind something our MP Greg Mulholland said got me thinking. He basically asked us to support England with English beer.

I may not be the biggest Football fan but I can tell you something, I really like our beer! Carlsberg are currently peddling their product with one of the most gloriously over the top adverts in history. If Carlsberg did team talks… The list of sporting legends involved is impressive though to say the least; Stuart Pearce, Sir Steve Redgrave, Kelly Holmes, Ellen MacArthur and Nigel Benn to name only a handful… Whipped up into a patriotic fervour; closing with the Ghost of Bobby Moore and a roaring lion. Great?

Well no to be honest, let’s think about this for a minute. Carlsberg is a Danish beer, it’s well liked in the UK don’t get me wrong with a 13% market share but it’s like saying support England eat a Frankfurter. All the more galling to us in Leeds is the fact they are no longer supporting us, the brewery closing and production moving to Northampton.

One company however is very much flying the flag for England and Leeds, though small in comparison with the mighty Carlsberg, Leeds Brewery is brewery right on our doorstep in Leeds and employing local people providing a product for Leeds first and foremost.

I had the chance to go down and visit the Brewery last week, tucked away hidden almost in LS11 the brewery is incredibly unassuming. If you weren’t looking for it you certainly wouldn’t find it… I almost couldn’t. On the day of my visit, the staff outside enjoying the sun and a barbecue, they were celebrating their 3rd birthday and the fact they’ve successfully brewed 2.6 million pints in that time.

Being shown round you really get a sense of the passion that goes into the beer, they make 6 brews a week around 60,000 pints a time. Walking into the cool air of the maturation room you get a kick of that beautiful beer smell. Like warm biscuits and Yeast, I absolutely love it! Leeds Brewery has made a concerted effort to only supply their pubs and local businesses. This means you’ll only find Leeds beers in and around Leeds.

After my tour I popped over to the Brewery Tap to try out the beers and catch the opening match of the World Cup on the big screen, South Africa versus Mexico. I really enjoyed the match and a few pints as well, like any sensible pub the Brewery Tap has a good selection of its own stock and guest beers as well. But by the time you read this the World Cup beer Two Halves, so named to cause maximum confusion at the bar, should be ready to drink and in the pumps.

It’s a great little pub, perfectly located next to the station and with the big screen and the beers on offer it’s perfect for watching the football as well. So if you want to get behind England in my opinion you should get behind local business first and as Greg Mulholland said support England with English Beer!