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December – By ‘eck it’s Christmas!

on December 18, 2020

Here at Yorkshire Appetite HQ we have just sent off the last of our festive Yorkshire Goodie Boxes so those who ordered, enjoy!!! There is still time everyone to get a Food Tour voucher (on our website, click gift certificate link at the bottom) for those people who love a foodie experience.
We’ve been looking a bit at some good old Yorkshire Traditions at this time of year. Clifford’s Tower in York has a Kissing Booth which dates back to Medieval times. Each Christmas, the tower hangs its own Mistletoe to create this Booth, with Mistletoe believed by Druids to have healing powers and to be a symbol of rebirth and renewal. Kissing Booths were quite a thing back in the 18th Century and Mistletoe was hung above doorways across Europe as a sign of blessing to the household within. In York, the Kissing Booth at the tower is a popular sign of the Festive Season and also a chance for all those ladies to be shown some love, although this year it is going to be more of a socially distanced blown kiss!

In the village of Dungworth in South Yorkshire, another tradition is ongoing with a twist this year. It is the usual tradition to collect together in the Royal Hotel to sing carols and it is a very popular event, often attracting over 200 singers. It comes from a time when singing carols was forbidden in Church so those plucky villagers took matters into their own hand. This year, not to miss this festive event, the villagers are running a community project so people can still sing together but safely.

Those of you from these parts will not bat an eyelid if you are offered a piece of cheese with your Christmas cake but for others it may seem odd. Yorkshire Food Historian, Peter Brears has traced the tradition back to Victorian times with the first written reference found in Joseph Lucas’ book ‘Studies in Nidderdale’ in 1871 (a real page turner). It is thought to date back to the times when Wensleydale cheese was traditionally only eaten in winter, as it was made in the spring and summer and collected from farms in the autumn at the end of the season reaching its full maturity in December so became a popular Christmas treat. Try it, it’s perfect!

And as you sit down to eat your Christmas Turkey, spare a thought for a certain William Strickland. William is said to be the first person to introduce the turkey into England. It is said that he acquired six turkeys when trading with Native Americans on an early voyage to America in 1526. He brought the birds back and sold them for tuppence each. He is said to have continued in the turkey trade making enough money to build himself a stately home in Boynton, East Yorkshire. For he was, you guessed it, a Yorkshireman born on the east coast near Bridlington. If it weren’t for our William, you would still be chomping down on a goose or boar’s head (not available at Aldi). Henry VIII was the first King to enjoy a turkey on Christmas Day so you’re in good company (or not, depending on your opinion of Henry).

The tours opened again on 2nd December and we have welcomed a few intrepid foodies this month so thank you! We will be open from 4th Jan, with our measures in place, so here is to a revitalised and booming 2021. Happy Christmas everyone and a Wonderful New Year.

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