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Enjoy a real flavour of fine Yorkshire heritage at The Craven Heifer

The Craven Heifer on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales celebrates the region's famous sons and daughters as well as fine food

The Perry Green room at The Craven Heifer, Addingham
The Perry Green room at The Craven Heifer, Addingham

He leant his two elbows on his knees, and his chin on his hands and remained rapt in dumb meditation. Upon my inquiring the subject of his thoughts, he answered gravely: "I'm trying to decide on the beef or the venison."

It has always been difficult for me to settle on a main course when dining out, especially when faced with a menu as tempting as the one at the Craven Heifer in Addingham (and you wouldn't believe how difficult it was finding a Wuthering Heights quote to spoil).

A Bronte quote seemed fitting, though, with The Craven Heifer residing in the birthplace of Yorkshire's most famous literary family, and having one of the seven bedrooms dedicated to Heathcliff from Emily Bronte's classic novel.

The other themed rooms in the recently refurbished inn pay tribute to six more Yorkshire heroes; Dame Judi Dench, Henry Moore, Captain James Cook, Amy Johnson, Fred Trueman and David Hockney.

Each room is uniquely named and beautifully styled with a high standard of fixtures, fittings and furnishings honouring the icons.

'The Big Splash' features custom-printed wallpaper of David Hockney's 'A Bigger Splash' artwork. It was in The Big Splash that my wife and I stayed for two nights.

Aside from the Hockney artwork, the stand-out feature of the room is most certainly the gigantic freestanding bath tub opposite the bed. The room is spacious with a high ceiling and bold furnishings.

 

The Craven Heifer is situated at the top of Main Street in the village of Addingham in West Yorkshire on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.

It is seven miles to the east of Skipton and three miles to the west of Ilkley, making it an ideal base for those seeking to explore the Dales or visit the historic sights on offer.

Our first evening meal was taken in The Craven Heifer's restaurant. With stone floors and open fires, it oozes charm and character.

Delightful canapés of smoked salmon mouse and 'posh' sausage rolls were served, as well as freshly baked 'Black Sheep' beer bread.

Our starters of 'cheese and pickle' (ravioli of whipped goat's cheese) and rabbit terrine arrived on slate serving plates. Both dishes were packed with flavour and worked exceptionally well with their accompaniments of scorched baby gem and pickles with the former, and a bitter sweet blood orange chutney with the latter.

Our friendly and efficient waiter served up our wonderful main courses: butter-roasted Waterford Farm aged sirloin beef and braised cheek for my wife and roast loin of North Yorkshire red deer for myself.

The venison was sublime, the new season carrots and Jerusalem artichokes perfectly cooked, while the fruity black pudding and candied ginger were an unexpected, but most welcome, taste.

 

The sirloin was served with sage roasted beets, hazelnut pesto and a garlic snail. I was informed the beets and pesto worked wonderfully with the beef. The snail, however, was left untouched by my better half.

It was with some trepidation I made my first foray into the gastronomic world of the gastropod. I must admit, it was quite pleasant.

On to dessert. Chocolate Fondant for the lady, and Blackberry Bakewell for sir. Both dishes were presented beautifully and tasted fantastic.

The following day we took in the local sights, including a trip to nearby Bolton Abbey. Set on the banks of the River Wharfe, and with over 80 miles of footpaths to explore across some spectacular countryside, it's well worth a visit.

We ventured along riverside paths to Barden Bridge and the medieval ruin of Barden Tower before returning to explore the Abbey.

Having walked up a decent appetite, we returned to The Craven Heifer to ready ourselves for dinner, this time dining at The Fleece, just a few minutes walk down the road.

I started with hot smoked salmon fishcake with tomato and chive beurre blanc. It arrived beautifully presented and tasted delightful.

It would have been rude not to have Yorkshire pudding so that's exactly what I had. Perfectly coupled with a tender piece of sirloin, a trio of vegetables, roasties and mash, it was the perfect Sunday dinner.

My wife's beer-battered haddock and chips went down a treat. Using Ilkley Brewery's Mary Jane beer for the crisp batter elevated the dish.

My other-half declined the offer of dessert, I, however, could not resist trying the treacle tart -a devilishly good decision.

The Fleece boasts it serves 'Yorkshire grub, done proper'. My stomach and I wholeheartedly agree.

:: John Lowdon stayed at The Craven Heifer, Main Street, Addingham, West Yorkshire as a guest of the owners.

:: Call 01943 830106 or click www.thecravenheifer.com for the latest room rates and restaurant menus.

:: For The Fleece call 01943 830 491 or see www.fleeceinnaddingham.co.uk for sample menus.

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