Review: Malton and the Talbot Hotel
Malton, United Kingdom
Huntin', shootin' n' eatin' (or, what the Dickens?)
10 people found this review helpful
It is a well known fact that Yorkshire folk like their grub. Not for nothing are we known as Yorkshire Puddings.
With wide open agricultural landscapes, moorlands, forestry and a superb stretch of coastline, there are so many sources of fresh food that many towns and villages have established and deserved reputations for local products.
Wensleydale cheese from Hawes, licorice from Pontefract, kippers and crab from Whitby, rhubarb from the Wakefield triangle, pork from the East Riding, smoked rapeseed oil from Ryedale, salmon from the Esk, Fat Rascals from Harrogate.
These are just some of the many products that spring to mind. Food and drink festivals can be found almost everywhere, but one town is establishing a formidable name for itself as the food capital of Yorkshire and that town is Malton in North Yorkshire, between York and the coast.
Sitting astride the River Derwent, which splits the old town of Malton from Norton, the town was once an important Roman stronghold in the North of England. It had a substantial cavalry fort, the remains of which can still be seen in the town centre.
The modern-day town is mostly comprised of Georgian and Victorian buildings, though many of the basements and foundations are of medieval origin. There are more than 150 listed buildings in this attractive town, which also has a large market place.
On non-market days there is 2 hours free parking here, to enable visitors to explore the many independent shops. Where else would you find a rope, net and cover maker's cheek by jowl with high-end fashion shops, cafes, curio shops and many others?
Charles Dickens was a regular visitor and he based the offices of Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol' on buildings in Chancery Lane, now The Counting House Museum. This has many artefacts from the times when Dickens used to visit his solicitor friend here. The lane is actually a narrow footpath between buildings and in the grey misty light of a November afternoon it looked spooky. Did the large lion's head door knocker have a look of Jacob Marley about it? And was that a candle I saw flickering inside the dusty window?
A traditional market is held here every Saturday throughout the year and this is boosted by the regular livestock market and an additional monthly food market held on the second Saturday in the adjacent Milton Rooms. This operates from 9am to 3pm and often has entertainment in the form of live brass bands.
The annual Malton Food Lovers Festival is held in May each year (23/24 May 2015) and this lively event attracts more than 10,000 visitors over the two days. It goes from strength to strength.
Malton Cookery School, right in the centre of the town, has a large number of specialist courses, from baking to fish to game among many others. All at very reasonable prices and a great idea for a different day out.
In a market town like this, country pursuits play a large part in local lifetstyles. Hunting, shooting and fishing form a large part of this, whilst Malton is also famous for a large number of horse racing stables and gallops, many of which have open days.
Artisan food producers are booming, with the 'Made in Malton' brand becoming very well known. The recent addition of Talbot Yard, currently under development and nearing completion, will offer six start-up food producers a chance to get established.
Just across the road is the luxurious Talbot Hotel.
What is a Talbot?, I hear you ask. In keeping with the theme, it was a pure white breed of hunting dog, now extinct, which was brought over from France after the 1066 Norman invasion. It proved to be a good natured, very effective hunter and is an ancestor of modern beagles, foxhounds and bloodhounds.
The hotel itself was built in the early 17th century as a hunting lodge (thus the name) and became the property of the Naylor-Leyland family in 1739. It operated as an inn from 1740 and is still in the hands of the same family, operated by the Fitzwilliam Estate.
Until the First World War, Malton was a Spa town with visitors urges to drink up to four pints of the local saline-chalybeate spring water as a cure for most ailments. The grounds and gardens of the inn were laid out for spa visitors to relax and walk in. A wildflower meadow still runs from the hotel down to the River Derwent.
In 2011, the premises underwent a total renovation and refurbishment, emerging as the luxury hotel it is today. It is Grade II* listed and now boasts 26 individually designed bedrooms, some being suites containing four-poster beds and with every refinement.
There are many shoots nearby and the hotel has recently been voted the 3rd best shooting hotel in the U.K.
This month (November 2014) at the White Rose Awards run by Welcome to Yorkshire, the hotel received the award for the 'Best Small Hotel in Yorkshire'. It also holds an AA Red Rosette award for excellence of cuisine.
Malton born celebrity chef James Martin is the executive chef here and he has had great input into the regularly changing menus. Meat, game and fish feature prominently as might be expected.
We called in for one of their renowned afternoon teas and were soon settled in the elegant and refined drawing room. Complete with easy chairs and sofas we were surrounded by countryside prints and took in many of the Georgian features which have been retained and restored.
We sat by the huge marble fire place and our order was brought on a three tiered cake stand with accompanying items all on white porcelain. How about this to make your mouth water? Finger sandwiches consisting of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese with sloe berry chutney, Yorkshire Ham and Black Sheep mustard, local smoked salmon with herb creamed cheese, free range egg mayonnaise with watercress.
Our sweet tooths were more than catered for with an espresso cup of lemon cream topped with a fresh blackberry, dark chocolate financier cakes, lemon drizzle cake, Bakewell tarts and macaroons, all topped off with home made scones, jam and a huge scoop of clotted cream. The pot of tea for two was certainly needed, as was the box kindly provided to take home those items which defeated us.
Perhaps not the cheapest afternoon tea of its kind at £19.50 p.p. but worth every penny in terms of quality, surroundings and service. As an alternative there is a choice of three home made cakes and tea or coffee at just £5. A bargain indeed.
All the staff we encountered were very friendly and chatty and made us feel at home.
Transport to Malton is easy, being just off the A.64 road from York to Scarborough.
It has easy rail and bus links from York to the centre, whilst the ever popular White Rose Way Leeds to Scarborough long distance footpath passes through Malton over the river behind the hotel.
Further details can be found at www.talbotmalton.co.uk whilst for those travelling by car, follow the Sat-nav to YO17 7AJ.
You will not be disappointed and will take home an expanded waistline and lots of foodie goodies.
10 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.