IT'S food glorious food all the way for Stuart Arnold as he stops off in the North Yorkshire market town of Malton

DID you know that Malton has been dubbed 'Yorkshire's Food Capital' by none other than top chef Antonio Carluccio? Long associated with the horse racing industry – trainer Jack Berry has funded a rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys here – the town re-branded itself a few years back in order to cash in on its burgeoning foodie sector.

It now boasts a cookery school, a handful of annual food and drink festivals, popular monthly food markets and a growing number of artisan food producers. This year its Food Lovers Festival featured several Michelin-starred chefs, on the back of appearances last year by Bake Off judge Prue Leith and celebrity chef Levi Roots.

For our short break we stayed at the Grade II listed Margaret's Cottage in Old Malton, a lovingly restored and beautifully decorated cottage with an open fire and a modern finish. It is named after a past tenant, Margaret Evans, who lived in the cottage for more than 85 years. There are hints at the cottage's past with stone floors on the ground floor and steep stairs leading up to the bedrooms and bathroom. Owners Simon and Jacqui have created a cosy little bolthole for visitors with all the usual mod cons. It's also dog friendly, although 'fox friendly' may be a more apt description. We spotted fox-themed ornaments, drinking mugs, cushions, pictures and even doorstops.

On the edge of the town centre you will find the Talbot Yard food court, something of a gem in Malton's foodie crown. This rustic-looking former coach yard hosts several businesses including a coffee house and roastery, bakery and the Rare Bird Distillery selling various varieties of gin brewed in-house. I had a giant ice-cream from ice-cream parlour Groovy Moo Gelato and we also went away with a box of macaroons from patissier Florian Poirot. It didn't take long to engage this friendly Frenchman in conversation and a bit of detective work led to the discovery that he used to work at Nestle in York before branching out into making and selling his own macaroons. Florian is a pastry champion, competing successfully for the UK in a 'World Cup of Pastry' earlier this year. Who'd have thought such a thing existed?

We also called into Yo Bakehouse in Market Street, another artisan bakery and coffee house. Check out the huge meringues in the window if you do visit.

There are several pubs to choose from in Malton. We liked the Brass Castle Brewery, which has a bar serving beer from the brewery in its back yard. Brews served include 'Bad Kitty', a vanilla porter and 'Sunshine', an Indian Pale Ale. Also worth checking out are the Blue Ball Inn, a higgledy-piggledy pub with lots of nooks and crannies and a tiny bar, and the slightly quirky Suddabys which has been in the same family for 135 years.

Malton's lofty ambitions are only slightly undermined by a slight lack of variety in its restaurants, but that's not to detract from what Malton has to offer for food and drink lovers. It's now firmly on the map thanks to its re-brand. Food for thought indeed.

  • Margaret's Cottage sleeps four and costs from £271, depending on the time of year. W:; T: 07835-445250.