Feast your eyes

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

Just a few miles over the York­shire/Lan­cashire bor­der in the beau­ti­ful Rib­ble Val­ley is North­cote, a 26-bed­room in­de­pen­dently-owned coun­try house ho­tel. It has been qui­etly gather­ing a stack of pres­ti­gious awards since it was first founded in 1984 by Nigel Ha­worth and Craig Ban­croft; the most re­cent, the AA Ho­tel of the Year for 2016.

Ha­worth, the chef pa­tron and a regular on the cook­ery pro­gramme cir­cuit, was also short­listed for AA’s Chef of the Year Award at the same event and the ho­tel’s restau­rant has held a Miche­lin star since 1995. Each year, some of the finest chefs from around the world make a pil­grim­age to North­cote for a 17-day gas­tro­nomic ex­trav­a­ganza.

Called Ob­ses­sion, and now in its 17th year, it is, says Ha­worth, ‘a cel­e­bra­tion of great food, wine and a meet­ing of friends oldand­new’.

Orig­i­nally a 19th cen­tury manor house, North­cote also boasts an in­ter­ac­tive cook­ery school and chef ’s ta­ble, a kitchen gar­den and a cel­lar filled with award­win­ning wines.

North­cote has worked very hard to es­tab­lish it­self at the top of its game and has never lost sight of its goal to be a Mecca for food lovers and a cham­pion of lo­cal pro­duc­ers and sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents. A re­cent multi-mil­lion pound re­fur­bish­ment added eight lux­u­ri­ous gar­den rooms in a sep­a­rate build­ing in the grounds and a gleam­ing stain­less steel kitchen with a 12-seat chef ’s ta­ble that also serves as a cook­ery school.

We stayed in one of the beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated gar­den rooms with op­u­lent soft fur­nish­ings, top-notch tech­nol­ogy and a cav­ernous bath­room with walk-in shower. Should the weather have been more for­giv­ing, we could have made use of the ter­race which led out to a pa­tio and pri­vate gar­den with chairs and ta­ble. Nice touches abound in­clud­ing a line of rain­coats in the en­trance to the Gar­den Room should you be un­pre­pared for the weather.

We were at North­cote to ex­pe­ri­ence their two-night gourmet break which com­bines food and wine with coun­try pur­suits in­clud­ing clay pi­geon shoot­ing

Great food and beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings, a short hop from York­shire, make North­cote the per­fect des­ti­na­tion for a week­end break says Julie Mar­shall.

and off-road driv­ing. The week­end be­gan by the blaz­ing fire in the cosy snug with glasses of Louis Roed­erer cham­pagne and canapés be­fore we were es­corted to the glass-fronted chef ’s ta­ble for our five-course gourmet din­ner cooked by ex­ec­u­tive head chef Lisa Good­win-Allen.

Good­win-Allen, one of four win­ning chefs on sea­son five of the BBC’s Great Bri­tish Menu is young and pas­sion­ate and an ab­so­lute de­light: she leaves her post at regular in­ter­vals and comes to our ta­ble be­tween cour­ses to ex­plain the ethos be­hind each dish. Som­me­lier Alexan­dro Kit­sos fol­lowed on with an ex­pla­na­tion of the wines he’d paired with each dish.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing it was back over the York­shire bor­der to the Land Rover Ex­pe­ri­ence Cen­tre at Broughton Hall (york­shire.lan­drover­ex­pe­ri­ence.co.uk) which has part­nered with North­cote and of­fers a dis­count as part of the pack­age. We were able to see just how mag­nif­i­cent th­ese ve­hi­cles are over tough ter­rain.

I’ve done a fair bit of off-road­ing so was well within my com­fort zone. Not so when we were then driven to the Kel­brooke Shoot­ing School (kel­brook­shoot­ingschool. co.uk) after a fine lunch at The Bull in Broughton, one of six pubs owned by North­cote. I was by far and away the worst shot in our group and I only man­aged to hit a clay or two by luck. Nev­er­the­less it was great fun and in­struc­tor Michael Meg­gi­son, who rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain in two Olympic games, was in­cred­i­bly pa­tient.

The most ba­sic gourmet pack­age at North­cote costs from £350 per cou­ple for one night then you can add on the half-day Land Rover Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence (£395 per four-per­son car) and clay pi­geon shoot (£65 per per­son) and an ex­tra night for £185. north­cote.com.

TOPOFITSGAME: North­cote, whose restau­rant has held a Miche­lin star since 1995, re­mains a Mecca for food lovers.

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