Posts tagged ‘independent food store in Leeds’

February 13, 2014

George & Joseph cheesemongers, Leeds.

It’s safe to say that avoiding supermarkets is a lot easier if you have brilliant local alternatives. Specialist shops might mean that you need to go from place to place rather than buying everything from under one roof, but the pleasure you can take from buying your food from someone who really knows their stuff turns food shopping from being a chore to a delight.

In North Leeds, one such shop is George & Joseph, a cheesemongers in Chapel Allerton. Tucked away down Regent Street in LS7, this little gem specialises in Yorkshire cheese and warm welcomes. I’ve been in a few times now, and always come away with gorgeous wax paper-wrapped cheese which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed. There’s something for all palates ranging from soft, mild goat cheese to strong blue cheeses as well as the crackers, chutneys and platters you need to serve your cheese on.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Fleming

Photo courtesy of Stephen Fleming

The first time we visited, Stephen the friendly owner of George & Joseph recommended the Old Winchester cheese which has become a firm favourite. It’s not a Yorkshire cheese—it’s from Lyburn cheese makers in the New Forest— but its firm, almost crunchy texture and strong nutty, Parmesan-esque flavour have got me firmly hooked. It’s genuinely my favourite cheese of all time. And that’s not a thing I say lightly.  Also, the cheese is made with a vegetarian rennet, which means its great for those looking for an Italian style hard cheese without the animal rennet that Parmesan always contains.

I’m thinking that a George & Joseph themed cheese tasting evening might be round the corner. Although don’t expect me to share the Old Winchester…

Do you have great local stores near you? Are there any other places in Leeds I should try too? Let me know!


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April 8, 2013

Seed and Bean Chocolate from Millies, Leeds.

Easter has come and gone for another year and with it, an enormous quantity of chocolate has been consumed by my kids. I fight a losing battle when it comes to chocolate, particularly with my daughter. Even if I’ve bought it specifically for myself, she usually ends up eating most of it! I think I’m too much of a pushover. However, this Easter, I planned to secret some away for myself. Grown up chocolate from Seed and Bean – just for me. Or so I thought …

Seed and Bean are chocolatiers with a difference, as they are one of the very few ethical chocolate producers in Britain. It’s organic, fairly traded and sustainably produced. Excellent stuff. Award winning too – they’re rated as 100% ethical by the Ethical Company Organisation.  But to be honest, although that is a wonderful result, it doesn’t help if the chocolate itself isn’t great. Their five Great Taste Awards suggest that it is actually really good.  Which is why I was excited to be given the chance, thanks to the brilliant Millies in Leeds to try some of their wide range of chocolate for myself.

After some deliberation, I chose Creamy White Chocolate with Lemon and Poppy Seeds, Rich Milk Chocolate with Sicilian Hazelnut and Almond and Extra Dark Chocolate (72% cocoa) with Pumpkin Seeds and Hemp Oil. If I’m honest, I was choosing rather more grown up flavours especially to make sure they’d be less attractive to my Dairy Milk loving daughter!  Other flavours include lavender, espresso, cardamon, and chilli and lime, alongside the more usual white, milk and dark, so it would make a good gift choice for a serious food lover too.

Beautiful chocolate. Image courtesy of Seed and Bean and Millies.

Beautiful chocolate. Image courtesy of Seed and Bean and Millies.

And, let me say, the taste does not disappoint either. First to be eaten was the White Chocolate with Lemon and Poppy Seeds. I sometimes find white chocolate too sickly-sweet, but the lemon oil helps to somehow cut through that sweetness and the little savoury crunch of poppy seeds continues that. This one was my favourite of the three that I tried. The fabulous Jo Murricane made white chocolate mousse with this chocolate, which sounds amazing. Might have to give it a go myself!

Then, the Rich Milk Chocolate with Sicilian Hazelnut and Almond. I didn’t actually open this one myself. It was opened for me. The conversation went something like this:

“I’ve had some of your chocolate”

“Well, that’s ok – what did you think of it?”

‘Erm … It’s really good. I might have actually eaten quite a lot of it …”

“It’s nearly all gone! I’ve only been out of the room for five minutes!”

“Well, like I said,  It’s really nice.”

After which I made damn sure that I got to try some for myself, before it all vanished. And, he wasn’t wrong. It is really good. Smooth, rich and creamy, with a lovely light taste of the nuts it contains. Very moreish too. Obviously. So, my cunning plan foiled, it appears it’s not just my children who eat all my chocolate. I could sulk, but I suppose that it’s a good way of demonstrating how great tasting it is – so good it gets stolen from me by my loved ones!

The final chocolate of the three I tried was the 72% dark chocolate with Pumpkin Seeds and Hemp Oil. This is definitely a grown up chocolate, to be eaten slowly, a square at a time. Definitely not a chocolate to be wolfed down in one go (which is a good job, otherwise I’d never get any!) it has an unusual, somewhat savoury flavour, but I liked it. I also think it’d be an interesting chocolate to cook with.

Having tried these three very different flavours of chocolate, I’ll definitely go back to Millies for more, assuming that I find a decent enough hiding place to keep it …