Food & Drink
Yorkshire is well known for its traditional cuisine and Pontefract is the perfect place to sample many local dishes from across this region! You can delight in some wonderful homemade dishes in Pontefract served up in one of the many ancient and quaint little inns that grace Pontefract town centre or try one of the tearooms or cafes for light snacks.
Traditional Pontefract Cuisine
You cannot visit Pontefract without trying a homemade Yorkshire pudding as part of your Sunday Roast! These are not bought in the supermarket the day before but prepared and cooked from scratch in the traditional Yorkshire way.
Expect to see many stews and casseroles on the menu as hotpot is also a Northern favourite and a deliciously warming winter fare.
For sweets, you can enjoy a Yorkshire curd tart, a light summer tart made with rosewater. Parkin is best eaten in winter as it’s a spiced ginger cake made with oats and treacle. And let’s not forget rhubarb! The Rhubarb Triangle as it’s known, is a section of Yorkshire that is famous for producing high quality rhubarb at any time of the year.
A section on traditional Pontefract delicacies is not complete without some mention of Pontefract Cakes! Visitors expecting to be served an actual cake may be surprised when they are given a small round, black disc for Pontefract cakes are in fact sweets made from liquorice which used to be grown in Pontefract itself! Originally the sweets were used as medicine for easing stomach complaints and coughs but when sugar was added to sweeten the taste, the medicinal cakes became popular sweets! These sweets are now sold all over Pontefract so make sure you stock up on this famous Pontefract delicacy!
Places to Eat in Pontefract
There are so many quaint little inns and tearooms in Pontefract that it seems a shame to only pick out a few, but here are some favourites.
Cromwell’s Tea Rooms is a local haunt that is hidden down a small sideroad just off Market Place and is famous for its delicious local cuisine. Rumour has it that Cromwell himself used a secret passage from this building to get into Pontefract Castle!
The Rustic Arms in Ackworth is also popular for its pies and large platters of homemade food. It has spectacular views of the Yorkshire countryside and a great play area for the kids within the beer garden outside.
For light snacks, try DJs Cafe near Cromwell’s Tea Rooms which is another local favourite serving homemade scones and cakes.
Food Events in and Around Pontefract
The beginning of July is the best time to visit if you want to know more about Pontefract’s liquorice past and sample all the sweets on offer! The event promises street entertainers, children’s activities, craft stalls and of course the delicious liquorice sweets themselves in many forms!
Wakefield also holds a Rhubarb Festival in February to showcase talented local chefs and celebrate all things rhubarb! Street performers, bands, tours, tasting sessions, demonstrations and more are on offer including the opportunity to buy some rhubarb jam, rhubarb wine, rhubarb pie, rhubarb cake, etc!