18 Mar Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb
This month is all about our new Spring Seasonal, Rhubarb Soda! We’re mad for it, you’re mad for it, the world is mad for it!
We took our freshly made Rhubarb soda up to Leeds this year for a little launch party at the all new Turk’s Head set behind the magical 300 Year Old Whitelock’s Ale House (making it the oldest pub in Leeds no less!).
Continuing our Meet the Producers theme we made a lengthy pit stop in Wakefield, the home of our amazing Rhubarb supplier, E Oldroyd & Sons. With 5 generations of family expertise under their belts, Janet, Neil and their son Lindsey are masters at growing some of the worlds best Rhubarb. So far renowned is their Rhubarb that each year tourists from far and wide flock to their farm at Carlton to see the rhubarb growing in the dark being harvested by candlelight. Ed and Robyn were lucky enough to be given the full tour upon arrival and were shown the absolutely huge growing sheds where the indoor rhubarb is grown from fat root bases which have been built up over two years of outdoor growing before being moved inside for harvest. It’s a strange experience in the sheds, with low lighting a must to protect the delicate rhubarb and a sweeping quietness only broken by the creaks of new shoots of rhubarb breaching the root base for the first time.
After the indoor tour it was over to the fields where this years outdoor crop is grown. The first shoots of the earliest varieties were shooting out of the ground ready for harvest around April time. The farm grows a host of traditional varieties including Timperly Early, Queen Victoria as well as the modern Stockbridge Harbinger (what a name!)
We had some amazing sweet treats cooked up for us by the amazing Noisette Bakehouse including Rhubarb, Blood Orange + Black Sesame Frainds, Cardamom Cream Rhubarb Pistachio Tarts and Buttermilk Biscuits with Rhubarb Jam & Early Grey Compound Butter. All were, of course, delicious but Ed particularly loved the Frainds and scoffed about 5 of them to himself (don’t tell Sarah at Noisette!).
The guys behind the bar we slinging a special menu of Rhubarb themed cocktails – the Rhubarb Shrub was particularly well received – a mix of Yorkshire Rhubarb, cider vinegar and sugar combined with soda water to lengthen. Tasty and tarte, sweet and sour – a great balance (Robyn’s favourite). Rhubarb Soda was popping off the shelf and out of the fridge and going down a storm served up with local favourite Whittaker’s Gin – A fragant herbal gin made by an awesome and passionate couple who started distilling in an old agricultural building near Harrogate. Proper.
It would be hard to finish writing this without mentioning the great work being done by the kitchen crew who bashed out he tastiest Moroccan Lamb and Rhubarb stew we’ve ever tried. All in all quite a culinary adventure and a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing ingredient that we showcase in our own Rhubarb Soda!