Global food tour comes to Ripon to celebrate the flavour explosion of international cuisine and explore the city’s ancient history
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The new tour, founded by Kay Atkinson, a former teacher, was inspired by her experience in Chicago in 2011.
The tour, which is supported by Ripon BID, aims to encourage visitors and locals to explore the city’s gastronomic delights.
Since then, Mrs Atkinson has delivered tours all over the globe when she decided to bring it to Ripon, and celebrate the city’s culinary venues and rich history.
Harrogate Advertiser Series reporter Natasha Audsley went along for a little taste of the hype.
She said: “Knowing Ripon’s high street has been going through a new buzz, I wasn't surprised to be introduced to things I hadn’t noticed as a local.
“Oliver's Pantry on North Street, I’d previously assumed, was a first floor cafe with a standard menu.
“We were swiftly ushered upstairs, which was reassuringly busy.
“Impressed by its ornate old town feel, all originally furnished.
“Food and service was delicious and professional.
“Meanwhile, we all had a chance to get to know each other and find out a bit about Ripon’s history.
“Every stop was expecting us, food was light and fresh, whilst company was curious and friendly.
“Each place different from the last, always a welcome taste explosion.
“We even got a quick VIP tour of the Workhouse to break up the food.
“Entertainingly, it scared me to death when what I thought was a mannequin was a real life girl.
“It was an afternoon of trying things you wouldn’t normally order, and a five star way to feed your soul and make friends.”
Mrs Atkinson decided Ripon was a perfect place to bring her global tour after realising “the city has so much going for it for such a small place”.
She said: “You get a little bit of history, culture, hidden spots and well kept secrets.
“We’ve done one in York and even a vegan one in Harrogate.
“You get to know about places you otherwise wouldn’t have, these things that encourage you to return.
“The social part is brilliant, you always have something in common as most people can talk about food all day.
“You get a mixture of locals and visitors from around the world.
“People often make friends and go on another tour together.”
Mrs Atkinson has taken her tour to Barcelona, Rome, including various towns around Spain, the USA, and has plans to take it to Japan later this year.
After being a resident of Harrogate for many years, she had decided to discover more about Ripon.
She said: “I started visiting Ripon a lot more and finding out so much about it.
“So many amazing places, independent traders and the history here is so interesting.
“Linda Moore, our Ripon tour food guide, also volunteers at Ripon’s Workhouse Museum so she is full of information.
“The businesses come and chat to the tour, everyone’s got a story to tell.
“We try to stick to the independent places and support local traders.
“People return to these places, which is what we want.
"Ripon has so much to offer. Its independent trade and wonderful chefs and restaurants are really worth revisiting if you haven’t lately."