The York Insider - York's best food shops

If you're in York and looking for good food shops, here are a few of my favourites:

Via Vecchia bakery, The Shambles
Tasty, tasty bread
 The shop is easily missable, being a small, unmarked red building tucked away on the Shambles. The bread is easily missable too, as it sells out quickly.  However, you really must seek Via Vecchia out if you can, because the bread they make is great.  A particular favourite of ours is the cheese and marmite loaf, although the pesto rolls we had last week were good too.  Last night, a fellow Yorker told me he loves their olive bread.  You might be a bit baffled by the customer service, which is quintessentially British, but bugger that: theirs is brilliant bread!

(If you do miss out though, and you're not in York long enough to try again, The Hairy Fig also sells their bread, or you can always sample some of their delicacies by dining at The House of Trembling Madness.)

Rafi's Spice Box, Goodramgate

York has some good curry houses, such as York Spice and The Indian Lounge.  If you want the ingredients to make your own dishes, however, then you really have to go to Rafi's.  They stock all sorts of spices and flour and lentils and teas and snacks (including jalapeno cheddar crisps, apparently).

Best of all, though, are their freshly made curry mixes.  Choose a dish you like the sound of - such as Xacutti Masala - and the staff will combine all the ingredients you need and place them in a sealed bag for you to take home.  Once you're there, put the mix into a pan, add the requisite quantity of meat or vegetables (not supplied), and a delicious dinner is easily yours.

Milkshack, Church Street

Milky, milky shake
In York?  In need of a cool, crazy, sugary rush?  Ever wondered what a blueberry muffin, Haribo Star Mix, or Cadbury's Fruit and Nut tasted like when blended into a milkshake?

If the answer to all those questions is yes, then you should pay Milkshack a visit.  They have a very simple but very successful strategy: offer dozens of sweets, chocolates, cakes and fruit, and then turn them into milkshakes or smoothies before the customer's very own eyes.

Some combinations work better than others - Fudge was better than Skittles in my opinion - but what fun you can have, especially by adding extra flavours.  Anyone for a Pear Drops, Rusk and Custard combo?