YORKSHIRE’S “forced” rhubarb – the sweeter variety grown in heated sheds – is on the menu all weekend in Wakefield, part of the district famous for its “rhubarb triangle” of producers.
Forced rhubarb, which is sweeter than the outdoor variety, has a long list of supporters, among them renowned chefs Rick Stein and James Martin.
Yesterday it was the turn of the Shadow Chancellor and Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls to have a go at cooking up a treat using the sweet-tasting vegetable.
The Labour politician visited the forcing sheds of E Oldroyde & Sons at Carlton, Wakefield, producers of the pink stuff for five generations.
The sheds have become a tourist magnet in their own right as hundreds of people visit from around the world for special candlelit tours.
The status of Yorkshire’s unique forced rhubarb was elevated in 2010 when the product was given European protection, the same status enjoyed by Champagne and Parma ham.
Mr Balls later visited Oulton Hall hotel to support this weekend’s Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb.
The council-run festival – one of the first each year for confirmed “foodies” – continues today and tomorrow with a cookery theatre on Wakefield Cathedral precinct, featuring demonstrations by local and regional chefs.