ASK any decent chef in our region why they love working here and top of the list will be the abundance of quality produce on our doorstep.

From the finest seabass and shellfish off the coast, to top breed rare meats, artisan cheeses, chocolates and breads as well as specialist drinks, we have it all.

And it is this bounty which is celebrated in The North Yorkshire Cook Book (Meze, £14.95) and features stories from many local producers and chefs as well as 40 recipes.

Appropriately, the foreword is written by Andrew Pern, chef/patron of the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome.

Andrew, who was born and raised in Whitby, says he is proud to "wave the White Rose flag for the fantastic larder of food we have on our doorstep".

He explains: "We lived on a farm just outside Whitby, where my father reared pheasants. I grew up watching the eggs hatch, later to become part of our 'rough shoot' and the cycle continued on to the Faison a la Normande that I began to cook, with a can of cider and a carton of cream from the village shop at the age of nine."

Andrew is just one of the many "local heroes" celebrated in the book, which is so up to date it includes some of the newest arrivals on the county's culinary map.

Culinary success stories are highlighted too, including the healthy-eating brand Filmore and Union, which began with its two-storey cafe in York and now boasts several sister sites including those in Harrogate and Skipton.

The success of Malton in becoming a foodie destination also comes under the spotlight. In the chapter, Made In Malton, Tom Naylor-Leyland, director of the Malton Food Lovers Festival, stakes his claim for the Ryedale market town being the food capital of Yorkshire.

He says: "I am proud that today you can taste your way around town, eating delicious dishes, buying local produce and learning how to cook it at Malton Cookery School.

"Malton still has traditional butchers, bakers and grocers, which is quite unusual for a small town these days. Now it also produces its own food and drink, much of it at Talbot Yard Food Court."

No feast is complete without some great drinks, and our county offers more to quench the thirst than a pot of Yorkshire Tea. Apples from the Ampleforth Abbey orchards now make a host of quality brews, from beer and cider to spirits and juices. Its cider and apple liqueur are included in a delicious-sounding recipe for an apple and cider cake.

The cook book is unusual in that it is part food guide and part recipe book - but all the better for it.

Bon appetit – or should that be cheers!


York’s Chocolate Story Raspberry and Orange Dark Chocolate Bar

Make your own chocolate bar at home with this easy guide to creating a tailor-made treat.

Makes 1 x 100g bar (adjust the measurements to suit your mould size)


100g good quality dark chocolate (preferably couverture with no vegetable fat)

3-4 drops raspberry oil

40g candied orange pieces or slices

10g freeze dried raspberries, crumbled


Clean and dry the mould, then polish with cotton wool to stop the chocolate sticking and give a better gloss.

Break up the chocolate into small chunks (or use buttons) and place into the plastic bowl.

Microwave for one minute and stir the chocolate thoroughly. Return to the microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring well in between until the chocolate has a few small lumps remaining. At this point keep stirring, using the residual heat to melt the last few lumps. Use the thermometer to check the chocolate doesn’t go over 32°c. Add a few drops of the raspberry oil to taste and mix well.

Pour into a piping bag (use a jug to hold your bag open) and tie or secure with a clip. Cut the tip and pipe the chocolate into your mould until it’s just slightly under-filled. Tap the mould on the counter to remove air bubbles and even out the chocolate.

Arrange the orange slices across the bar and sprinkle over the freeze dried raspberries. Ensure your inclusions are all touching chocolate or they won’t stick.

Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to set. Once the chocolate is fully set, give the mould a flex and gently turn out your bar. It should pop out easily but if it isn’t quite ready it may need a few more minutes in the fridge. If you’re using a silicon mould then carefully loosen the edges and peel away the mould from the chocolate.