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About A Week: A Slice Of Brack

Peter Hinchliffe, writing with gustatory enthusiasm, tells of one of Yorkshire's greatest treats.

A tasty slice of brack is just the thing to fill the mid-morning gap in a hungry tum. Yorkshire brack, washed down by a cup or two of Resolution tea.

Go to Whitby on the Yorkshire coast, find a spare seat in Bothamís busy tea rooms, then enjoy the snack of the gods.

Bothamís sell their own blended tea, Resolution. And the brack, a delicious brown loaf, contains dried fruits which have been infused with that tea.

Eat it with jam or cheese, eat it sliced and buttered, and you begin to wonder whether youíll need more food at mid-day.

Alternatively you might try a succulent slice of sticky stem ginger brack.

I was a customer in Botham's Baxtergate and Skinner Street tearooms when I could only just see over the table top when seated.

Throughout my boyhood and teens family holidays were spent in Whitby. My dad so loved the town that he named his home Bagdale, after the area where his favourite guest house was located.

When I was old enough to be let out on my own I spent whole days fishing with a hand-line from the lower deck of one of the harbour piers.

After an early breakfast Iíd head for that pier, carrying a can of bait and a carrier bag containing a bottle of pop, three cheese sandwiches and three cakes. Bothamís cakes, naturally.

Elizabeth Botham opened a bakery in Whitby in 1865. Members of the Botham family still run the business and their cakes and teas now tickle palates world-wide.

The firm established an award-winning Web site five years ago. Customers in Japan, Australia, the USA and scores of other countries receive Bothamís cakes and teas by air mail.

Another Yorkshire lad, explorer Captain James Cook, who worked in Whitby as a boy, was on the scene too early to enjoy the delectable treats from Bothamís bake-house.

However, when the replica of Cookís ship, the bark Endeavour, sailed the Atlantic it bore gifts of Resolution tea and Bothamís biscuits, which were presented to the then mayor of Boston, Tom Menino.

Time was when England was famous for its cheery pubs. Enter a hostelry nowadays and you are more likely to be greeted by the smell of food a-frying than the sight of locals in animated conversation.

Drinkers at the bar are not welcome unless they study the food menu then order something from it.

Maybe we should now publicise - particularly to the tourist trade - our tea-rooms as the epitome of English social drinking.

And Bothamís, where the waitresses wear white lace pinnies, is the Queen of English tea-rooms.

Do excuse me now. I must bring this column to an end. Iím ready for a cuppa and the tea has mashed. Resolution tea, of course. And a slice of brack!

Give your taste buds a treat. Visit www.botham.co.uk

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