Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Yorkshire food joy at Porter Brook Deli in Sharrow Vale Road - visiting Granny in Sheffield


I've been visiting Sheffield all my life....but somehow never realised how charming Sharrow Vale Road is before. Perhaps this is recent. Maybe I've been there before and forgotten what used to be there. My Granny lives in Sheffield and we went to stay with her this weekend just gone. On the Saturday afternoon she sent us out for a walk as her knee didn't want a long walk but us young people should have one. Granny is a great believer in daily walks. So am I! Mine have dwindled and I'm feeling the difference.


Anyway, Granny suggested we head through the park and up Sharrow Vale Road.

"There's a deli there with a back room full of Lubeck marzipan!"

(Granny adores marzipan, particularly Niederegger Lubeck)

"Oh, and a health food shop you might like. If you go there, please get me some Ricola."

(Granny always likes to have some Ricola handy.)


We walked up Sharrow Vale Road with delight. It is full of independent shops and the walls are painted with fun animals! We passed lots of little tea rooms, kitchen/diy supplies, fruit and veg, gallery space, alcohol, furniture and fashion/accessories.

Porter Brook Deli was easy to find and full of exciting treats. They source many of their products locally so there was so much we hadn't seen before. I have been to quite a lot of farm/deli type shops and have seen the same brands over and over in them. It was exciting to see stuff that was new to us and to know that plenty of it was from Sheffield and the Yorkshire area.


We bought Granny some Lubeck marzipan and ourselves a hot sauce and some vegetarian blue cheese (Blue Ribblesdale). All the cheese was clearly marked to show if it was veggie with a green V. Which was super appreciated. Thanks Porter Brook Deli, you're great.

Also, the Ribblesdale was excellent. It tasted like a blue Emmenthal to me. Subtle and tangy. Yum. I think it's a Yorkshire cheese, and Granny used to buy it for me when I was a child. I liked the name (and the taste). But she stopped buying it years ago. She said she couldn't get it anymore. I guess the shop she got it from stopped stocking it.


I only took pictures after I left the shop, through the window. Which isn't the best way but I actually quite like the effect of all the reflections.

It doesn't capture the food magic contained within though...slabs of date and fig bricks, nuts, flavoured salts, teas, cheeses, olives, jams, chutneys, chocolates, ice cream, chilli sauces. All sorts of fancy foodstuffs that I wanted to play with.



We dawdled around the little shops a bit long. We found the health food shop and got Granny her Ricola (and some nutritional yeast for us to experiment with at home) before heading back. Granny was getting worried, she hadn't expected us to take so long.


We were immediately handed a Tupperware and sent into the garden to pick the blackberries she has been struggling to pick.



I love Granny's garden. There's a normal flat part, which is all neat with roses and other pretty flowers, interspersed with the blackberry and raspberry plants. Then you head to the back and climb the steps to 'the slope'. Which is a slightly wild garden on a steep uphill. A little path of flattened grass zigzags to the wall at the top, where a gargoyle-y face peeps at you. There are blackcurrant plants. And the little apple tree, beneath which we scattered Grandpa's ashes (over 15 years ago now). Granny has put a sign on the tree engraved with a verse she wrote.

"Instead of in our bed with me
you're ashes beneath the apple tree."




I can't believe this was our first Sheffield trip this year (maybe it wasn't but I think it was). I speak to Granny most weeks on the phone and I have seen Granny throughout the year at family things, trips to London, Easter etc but I don't think we visited till now. It feels hard to find the time but I want to and need to.

She is amazing. She lives alone (which I worry about) and always cooks proper meals for herself and cleans the house and goes for a daily walk. A cleaner and a gardener come occasionally to help her out. Her social life is packed - she's always going to a birthday party or hosting book group and although she says her knee bothers her, she's still playing table tennis and croquet. And she's 90 next year.

"I'll have a big party next year if I'm still around!"

She mentions her death casually and I hate it. I hate the reminder that she's old and will die one day, probably sooner than anyone else in my family now. She's my last grandparent.

I love all my grandparents but I think I've always been closest to Granny. Our birthdays are a day apart and we are both over sensitive over thinkers who can be unthinkingly blunt/unintentionally rude. And we both love books. Granny reads and writes every day. She has kept a diary since her childhood. Some of her early diaries have been published, which is an amazing thing for me, to be able to have such a clear insight to her youth.



Stu drove us the 3 hour drive from London to Sheffield. I'm so grateful for that because I'm terrified of driving and haven't been able to do it for a few years now. And it's not something I'm working to get past right now because I don't need to drive in London. If I ever leave London, I'll get refresher lessons. Driving does give you more freedom though. Buying train tickets in England is crap. Either you book 3 months in advance and are tied to a specific train at a specific time in specific seats, or you pay an extortionate price. It's slightly different depending on the rail company, but that's about right as a general rule. Bah.



We left Sunday morning, full of plans to come back soon for some of the Off the Shelf festival next month. And stopped at the services for a sneaky second breakfast. I love chocolate twists and black coffee.

Are you/were you close to your grandparents?




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