By Jane Pettigrew
Exploring England’s largest county along Yorkshire’s Tea Trail
Yorkshire, England’s largest county, fills her vast space with an astonishingly varied landscape of wild moorland; deep, craggy valleys with tumbling waterfalls and dramatic outcrops of granite-grey rock; gentle dales; rugged coastal cliffs; elegant Victorian cities; sprawling industrial towns; and neat, picture-postcard villages. An inspiration to the Brontës and a tempestuous backdrop to the passions of Wuthering Heights’ Cathy and Heathcliff and to Jane Eyre’s harsh and lonely early years, Yorkshire fascinates and overwhelms with its mercurial temperament—one moment calm, benign, and bathed in sunlight and the next, sulking beneath glowering skies, battered by rough winds and thrashing rainstorms that send sheep and cows into miserable huddles in the corners of sodden fields.
Perhaps this is what makes it one of the best regions in the country for wonderful afternoon teas and traditional local teatime treats. There are so many excellent tearooms and hotel lounges to choose from in every corner of the county that each year, the Welcome to Yorkshire Tourist Office publishes Yorkshire’s Delicious Tea Trail, which includes between 40 and 50 venues. Come rain or shine, Yorkshire fits tea like a cosy, hand-tailored coat! At teatime, Yorkshire weather calls for a Fat Rascal (a plump, fruity cross between a scone and a rock cake) or freshly baked Stottie Cake (a soft, flat round bread that is split and filled with bacon and egg or for high tea eaten with Yorkshire cheese and pickles). And tea tables are often laden with the sizzling larded dough of Singin’ Hinnies (flat, golden, and hot from the griddle, rich with currants and sugar); Yorkshire Parkin (a moist, sticky gingerbread made with oatmeal and treacle); and little Yorkshire Curd Tarts filled with a lemony curd cheese scattered with currants. All very traditional, satisfying, and filling—and all delicious!