Restaurant reviews

A Friendly Ham indeed in the middle of Ilkley

Friends of Ham is a Leeds institution, but for those of us who live a bit more in the sticks it isn’t always easy to head down to the city centre to enjoy the foodie offerings. With that in mind, it was a pleasure to be invited to try out a cheese and wine evening at the Friends of Ham in Ilkley, which is a lot easier to get to if you live in north west Leeds and is perfect if you are looking to combine it with a day out in Ilkley or towards Skipton.

With a cosy but atmospheric setting and a deli that leaves you desperate to spend all that hard earned money, there is a risk you could come here and not leave as you sit back and enjoy the fabulous food, wine and beer on offer.

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For the cheese tasting evening, we were delighted the event was hosted by a true cheese lover, Andy from the fabulous Courtyard Diary, who we had previously had the pleasure of interviewing (read our interview here if you fancy). With all the cheeses being from St James, who produce spectacular sheep’s cheese (which is sold to fabulous restaurants like L’Enclume), this was always going to be something pretty special.

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Without taking you through every cheese, the range (from the same group of sheep just made into different style cheeses) was incredible and even featured a week old cheese! Andy brought the cheese to life and his insights and discussion made the evening truly informative.

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The Friends of Ham staff took us through the paired wines, which on this occasion were Pet-Nats & complex, vibrant skin-contact (Orange) wines. While some of this went above my understanding of the world of wine, the information was again interesting and for people looking to explore and enjoy new things this approach would be a winning one.

If you’re about in Ilkley or fancy heading out for an informative and relatively cheap evening (tickets for this event were £17 each) then check out the Friends of Ham website for future Ilkley events or just pop in when you’re next in Ilkley. With awesome food, staff who are passionate about their job and the produce they are working with, and connections to suppliers who know their stuff like the Courtyard Dairy, you can’t go wrong here.

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