Slightly off the beaten track in York city centre we stumbled upon Dickensian delight The Hairy Fig. Self-confessed ‘purveyors of fine fodder’ this magical little deli with even tinier hidden café is an absolute must for any foodie in York. Vintage wooden boxes & dark wooden shelves are stocked to the brim with locally sourced quality foods as well as Mediterranean & Mexican delicacies. Savoury speciality foods include British & continental cheeses, pate, truffles, truffle oil, truffle honey, hams and salamis. Sweet treats include chocolates from around the world and one of the biggest collections of liquorice we’ve ever seen!
With its original pane glass windows and wooden frames painted cheerfully in bright turquoise, The Hairy Fig’s deli shop front is deliciously enchanting. Huge bundles of rusty red dried chillies and bulging bags of onions hang in the window, boxes of fresh kumquats and French chestnuts lie at your feet, all enticing you in.
The original deli opened in 2008 and quickly expanded in ’09 to a bigger shop next door. Inside the walls are sumptuous red and lined with dark wooden shelves, Victorian apothecary style, with dark wooden floorboards. This old-fashioned interior creates a truly historic ‘Harry Potter-esque’ atmosphere – stepping inside The Hairy Fig is like stepping back in time.
Most impressive was their selection of unique aged balsamic vinegars ranging from 12 to 100 years, all available ’on tap’. Balsamic creams, dressings & glaze in a wide array of mouth-watering flavours lined the shelves in vintage glass casks, creating a bewitching display reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory or the sensory laboratory of olfactory genius Jean-Baptiste in Perfume. Flavours included cranberry, sundried tomato, apple, blueberry, mango, lemon, red bell pepper and blood orange. Yum!
Now as a liquorice lover (Livi, Alex hates the stuff!) their luscious collection of liquorice stocked in 25+ jam-packed vintage jars was a sight for sore eyes! Shiny black gems of gorgeousness in so many varieties is not something you come by very often in England, so to see a collection including Livi’s favourite Swedish chilli & cherry liquorice was just too damn exciting! (Sweden on the other hand is a liquorice lover’s dream destination – think liquorice ice-cream, Marabou ‘Black Salt Lakrits’ chocolate, and thick, shiny salted liquorice dessert sauce!!) The Hairy Fig’s extensive assortment included sour & salty liquorice toads, liquorice and caramel twists, yellow citrus liquorice, salty skulls, Dutch honeycomb liquorice, sugar free & gluten free liquorice and chocolate covered liquorice. Now that’s a lot of liquorice!
Tucked away in the back is a tiny little café with 4 or 5 tables seating a maximum of 11 people! We were lucky enough to grab a vacant spot and sample some of their beautiful freshly prepared food. If memory recall is correct, we were on a cake mission (as always!) but upon seeing the specials blackboard with ‘Fresh figs baked in Honey & Chocolate Balsamic with Mascarpone’ we were sold! Other offerings were Strawberry & Vanilla Cheesecake and a Quince & local Bramley & Blackberry crumble. Our dessert was impeccably tasty and the perfect accompaniment to our coffee and hot chocolate on a cold & blustery November day in York.
The Hairy Fig promises floor to ceiling quality produce in an ‘exciting, quirky shopping environment’ and they absolutely deliver to their word. Visitors are transported to another world once over the threshold and will find it impossible to leave empty handed! There is something for everyone in this sensationally stocked shop so we urge you to swing by and enjoy the magic✩•*¨*• .