Sunday, 18 December 2011


Last Sunday Petra and I had a gourmet trip to York and stayed at the Hotel du Vin. There are plenty of reasons we chose Hotel Du Vin – great food, great service, a Sunday night dinner deal that makes the room cheaper than the Premier Inn, but the main reason is that dogs are welcome to stay. This is important because Dylan was joining us and he is very much a dog.

He’d had a lovely time in Brighton’s Hotel du Vin in May and we’re slowly working our way round the country with him.  Another thing I love about Hotel du Vin is the complimentary half pint of fresh milk in the mini bar. I’ve stayed in lots of fancy hotels (yeah, get me) and it amazes me that so few hotels offer guests fresh milk instead of those manky little UHT pots. It costs pennies but generates disproportionate goodwill from anyone who likes a decent brew.

York was in full-on Christmas mode. Admittedly, you’re slightly hampered on a shopping and scoffing  trip with a dog, but you can eat your meals in the hotel and gaze through the shop windows at things, saving money at the same time.

You can also walk around the old city walls to avoid the crowds and have a stroll in the beautiful Museum Gardens.

I’ve been careful to take photos of Dylan with people this time, after Petra commented it looked a bit like he’d been to Brighton on his own.
Dylan stayed in the room and had a light snack on an old tissue while we went for dinner.

The Hotel du Vin Sunday night deal offers £75 to spend on food and drink on that day. We’d already blown nigh on £20 on eggs and tea for lunch, but one of the best things about being vegetarian, apart from the moral high ground, is that your dinner is never that expensive, making me a cheap date. IF ANYONE’S INTERESTED. I had mushroom gnocchi, goat’s cheese tart and the most superb pudding I’ve had in a long while: banana tarte tatin with peanut ice cream.

The next day we walked about York’s beautiful city centre and took Dylan for a muddy run along the River Ouse. Petra and Dylan’s train left an hour before mine, so I had a quick nip into some food shops.

The famous Betty’s, which has been serving treats across North Yorkshire since 1919,  was looking very Christmassy and I bought a fat rascal to take home. The first time I ever went to Betty’s it was with a boyfriend who was, to be honest, a bit of a chubster. A lady exhorted me to “enjoy the fat rascal”. I had no idea she meant the spiced tea bread and just presumed she knew all about him. Betty’s have added Christmas spice to their fat rascals this month and it was absolutely delicious.

I was also keen to visit a new chocolate shop, York Cocoa House that Lynn at Clandestine Cake Club had told me about. I bought a Snickers Brownie and a Ghost Ale Bombe, a rich bitter chocolate truffle made with Centurion Ghost beer. It was so rich that I left half for my dad. A true Yorkshireman, he rarely openly enthuses about much but ate the bombe and burst out “Oh this is gorgeous!” Not a word he often uses.

I caught the train home with my Snickers brownie for company. Our next Hotel du Vin stop is probably Cambridge in the summer, so if anyone has any tips for eating/ shopping/ dogwalking there, please let me know. Do bear in mind that anything involving Jesus College lawn and Dylan is NOT acceptable. 

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