Monday, 11 July 2011

Weeton's Shop & Cafe

Weeton's in Harrogate, Thursday 30 June 2011

Something about this place captured me as I walked along outside, making me have to go inside and check it out. And I was glad I did, my heart literally leapt with joy as I entered this foodie heaven. The first thing I noticed was the light and airy atmosphere, created in part by the large glass front, and also by the spacious layout and the fact that there were no tall shelf-units in the middle of the room blocking the view throughout the shop. Looking more closely around me I spotted a fantastic range of products; there were oils and vinegars, jams and preserves, freshly baked bread, spice mixes and much more. There was also a deli counter with fresh meat, cheese, cakes and quiches. The meat is from local farmers, and the cheeses from small producers, some from England and some from further afield. The quiches and cakes were made on the premises. At the far end of the shop was a small café. It only has three large tables, seating a total of 22 people, plus a few chairs by the counter, but somehow it worked perfectly well, with a steady stream of customers but no crowding. Customers, some in groups and some alone, sat down and shared the tables, and rather than feeling intrusive as one might think it would, this somehow contributed to the friendly feeling of the place. A place where you can leave your bag while going to the counter to order another drink or more food. A place where you can sit and read your book without feeling rushed, and where the staff smile and are friendly. After perusing the shop and filling my basket with things I didn't need but just had to have, I sat down at the corner of one of the tables with a cup of hot chocolate, made from a fairtrade chocolate lolly immersed in steaming milk. Yummy. Just what I needed on a rainy day. I was going to leave it at that, but at 12 noon they brought out the lunch menus, and since it was lunch-time and my tummy was starting to rumble, I let myself be tempted by the 'Goats Cheese, Red Onion and Beetroot Tartlet', made with fresh baby beetroot in a savoury pastry case, Weeton's red onion marmalade, topped with Bouche log goats cheese, and served with fresh leaves and Weeton's own dressing. With it I had a small glass of the Pinot Grigio Rose Ancora, a refreshing wine that went very well with the food. The tartlet was delicious. It was sweet and fresh at the same time, with the beetroots and cheese melting in my mouth. The taste was intense yet in no way overwhelming. My nearest neighbours at the table, a lovely couple with a wonderful sense of humour, had ordered a sandwich each, and what sandwiches they were; proper large chunky slices of bread, one filled with tomato and mozarella, the other with dry cured bacon, tomatoes and sauce. Judging from the yummy noises that were emitted throughout the meal the sandwiches were definitely a hit. As I sat there pondering my afternoon and the lack of sunshine I came to the conclusion that this was a place I definitely have to come back to. Soon.              

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