Posted by: marymarthatours | January 18, 2013

Fabulous Eating Fun in York


Last fall during our two week “holiday” in York, England, my husband Collie and I were treated to some wonderful eating experiences.  Our visit coincided with the annual York Food and Drink Festival.  The week-long schedule was chocked full of various activities and experiences.  There were three special events that we booked immediately.  Not to be missed! 

One was a Chocolate and Whisky tasting.  We tasted single malt whisky along with fine chocolates.  The flavors enhance each other beautifully.


Lord Mayor’s Mansion, York, England

Another event was a three-hour long, 18th century dinner in the Georgian period Mayor’s mansion in central York.  We learned about the manners and entertaining customs of the period as we enjoyed a formal dinner.  We were extra surprised to have the Lord Mayor and his wife greet us dressed in their ceremonial attire.

My favorite event was the “Taste of History – Roving Historical Feast”, sponsored by the York Archaeological Trust.  The three course dinner took place at three locations of historic significance.  Between courses the diners walked to the next location.  Not only did we enjoy great food, but we also enjoyed three amazing museums with all they had to offer.

P1000161The meal began with the appetizer course of canapes and wine at the Jorvik Centre, which showcases the Viking community that lived in York (then called Jorvik) in the 800’s.  The dessert course was held at Jorvik DIG.  Tiny, dessert canapes were served; great for tasting a wide variety of sweets.  The DIG museum is a hands-on archaeology-focused museum housed in a deconsecrated church in the Hungate area of York.  This museum contains 2000 years’ worth of artifacts from the city of York.

First course of the Roving Dinner at Jorvik Centre

The main course took place at Barley Hall, the restored medieval building which was home to the prosperous Snawsell family in the 1400’s.  Mary has recreated the great hall of Barley Hall in miniature and is now working on the service rooms. 


The Snawsell family in Mary’s Barley Hall (see the penny for scale?)

When I told Mary that we would be eating a meal in the “real” great hall, she said, “Oh, I am so jealous, take lots of pictures”.


When we entered the hall, I wondered where we would sit and learned that we had been assigned a table.  Well, our table was the high table on the raised platform and our seats were the middle two seats, right where Lord and Lady Snawsell would have sat.  What a thrill.

After visiting Barley Hall several times in the past and seeing the progress of Mary’s incredible miniature replica, I was in heaven eating a feast there with Collie.  I repeated many times, “Mary would absolutely love this”.   We enjoyed our mead wine and dinner of meats and vegetables eaten from a bread trencher and served by a lovely young wench, although some might consider the food bland for our 21st century taste buds.

P1000173    P1000176

We had a blast talking with the delightful English lady next to us.  We reminded her that we had no potatoes with our meal, as they had not yet made the trip from the Americas to Europe.  I had fun telling our new English friend several tidbits abut trenchers, utensils, and being “upper crust”; things about English history that were unknown to her.  And we laughed a whole lot.  Was it the mead, the company or the room we ate in?  Hum, everything!!!

The video below will give you a flavor of the outdoor food stalls and demonstration areas at the Food and Drink Festival.  This filming must have been shot in the early morning.  We ate lunch from the stalls on three different days, and the area was mobbed by mid-day.  Best three lunches ever.

(By Martha)


Photo credits:  All photos in York by Collie or Martha Liska; Miniature Barley Hall by Mary Wallace.



  1. What great experiences in York! My husband and I loved that city, too, but didn’t have the opportunites for fabulous meals as you did. When we were in Winchester, years later, we were invited “out of the blue” to a tea in the Mayor’s home! We met the Mayor, Sheriff and city council members, all of whom were women and very friendly. While chatting about Jane Austen with the Mayor, I asked who was the distinguished gentleman chatting to guests; turns out he was her chauffeur! We always meet the most interesting people when we travel! — Ginny

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: