Recently, anyone shopping in Doncaster will have noticed a slight shift in attitude and approach. Yes, you might well see some empty shops and buildings but you sense a cultural shift. Would it be too premature to suggest that Doncaster is beginning to believe in itself once again? Doncaster food is definitely looking forwards.
Are we being too premature?
You might say:
’steady on, don’t get too carried away, we lost 5% of our shops in the past year.’
It’s true but they are being replaced by new offerings. Doncaster wants to develop something that is distinctly its own. We all need to get behind this and support our town centre and be an active part of what happens next. What will the look of Doncaster food be in the future?
Meadowhall is not the only option. Doncaster food is tempting
If you spend your time elsewhere you might still be labouring under the illusion that Doncaster has little to offer. You might also think huge retail centres like Meadowhall are the places to shop. I really do have to question that. Massive temples to shopping are great, in one sense. However, sometimes shoppers are looking for something more human, something that is more personalised.
Are we being ripped off?
Let me explain. I developed the habit of going into coffee chains for my coffee like so many others. It seemed nice enough, although perhaps, rather expensive. However, I put that down to convenience and something different. Yet, when you think about it why would we pay high prices for coffee when the following is the usual offering:
- You queue in noisy shops, wait an eternity for your coffee to be made, locate a table and then carry it there yourself.
- It’s likely you will have to remove someone else’s debris before settling.
- You sit perched at the tiniest table that wobbles throughout the visit and shoots coffee all over the saucer.
Recognise any of that? There’s nothing much that’s low carb or low sugar on sale and generally speaking it’s an unsatisfactory, very noisy, expensive and crowded experience. Surely its time for Doncaster food and coffee to develop its own image. Honestly? I think that’s happening already.
Doncaster food gives you a local experience that’s worth checking out.
Compare my experience to Woods Tea Rooms on Wood Street, Doncaster. It’s incredibly welcoming, and much effort has been put into the interior design. You are warmly welcomed and shown to a table where you are served, shock horror. There is a huge range of food available and all cooked to perfection. No matter what time of the day you arrive, the food will reflect your needs at that time. The difference was amazing. Carpet makes a great sound dampener and is such a delightful change to industrial metal and laminate floors. I do recommend you search out the independent coffee specialists around Doncaster and support the effort people put into making these establishments special.
Another foodie destination has to be Dream Bakes.
The Guardian recently featured this business in their pretty spectacular article:
Dream Bakes is the brain child of Carol and Hannah Shekle. They have a cake making business and are new entrants to the Donny hall of fame. What makes them special?
They ensure as much of their ingredient list comes from Yorkshire. Surely this is what we should all do to combat the Brexit spectre that is currently hovering over everything. Should the disruption, tariffs or whatever other thing we are being threatened with actually come to pass now is the time to start buying local produce. Doesn’t that make sense?
We should all support what we have around us for all kinds of reasons.
Of course, if you shop in the market and take your own bags you can recycle all the paper bags that hold your fruit and veg. In fact many things can be put straight into a shopping bag without any packaging at all. When I moved up from London eighteen months ago I was really impressed by the market and Doncaster food options. Yes, I have heard countless times that it isn’t what it was but I’m not the same as I was either! Finally it’s worth remembering that everything changes and we need to be creative about how we support and develop Doncaster and its historic market. If we don’t support what we have and encourage these businesses to feel they have a future then we know what will happen.
We are all being encouraged to eat well and look after our health.
Therefore we need to learn to spend both our calorie budget and our money wisely. If you are going to eat cake, save up and have a good one. If you want a coffee, work out where you can buy one that will directly impact on our local economy. If you want to see Doncaster market expand then go into town and buy things in it. It’s no good being nostalgic; retail needs our money and patronage not just our kind words and memories.
Shopping has always been an experience.
It was always a ritual where people would meet once a week, gossip and share a cuppa. There’s no reason why Doncaster can’t get back out on the street and get to know everyone else once more. There is so much to do and see.
Good Food Doncaster recommends:
- Magdalene Sports Bar for beautiful lunchtime wraps and Doncaster food at its best.
- CAST theatre for a peaceful cup of coffee and light lunches and great theatre of course
- Scicluna for any exotic ingredient you could ever want. I went out searching for Hickory Smoke liquid one afternoon – how bizarre is that? It was in stock at Scicluna; I was delighted and shocked!
- The Jam Horse is another jewel in Doncaster’s crown. They make chutneys, sauces, jams, preserves and all kinds of wonderful things all made from locally sourced ingredients.
- The Market Ale House and Deli is the destination for a great pint and all kinds of tantalising extras.
- Try Clam and Cork slap bang in the heart of the market if you fancy some delicious seafood washed down with something interesting.
- We are also waiting for the opening of The Wool Market in Spring 2019. When the scaffolding comes off the front of the Corn Exchange and the Wool Market opens I hope this represents the same kind of excitement and optimism we saw in Hull during their City of Culture year.
To conclude it’s obvious that Donny is on the cusp of something great. There are so many ideas and creative thinkers making a difference that you cannot help but notice the change. Yes, we have the big warehouses, the i-port and the Rail College and they are fabulous but let’s also see what we can achieve as individuals. Count your money and count the ways you can spend it in Doncaster. You can help underscore the confidence and investment local traders have put into the town. Doncaster food may make more headlines very soon! Watch this space!
If you want to make some recommendations do drop us a line. You can get in touch with Good Food Doncaster right here.