On the way back from Scotland, we went through Northumberland and on a “memory lane detour” went via Wheelbirks Farm which is near Stocksfield. Memory lane because I was brought up on Wheelbirks Jersey Milk when the farm used to have a milk round, and so were my father and grandparents.
The Richardsons have since started making their own ice cream using their deliciously creamy Jersey milk for the base. You drive past a little village called Hindley and then up their farm drive and through the farmyard to the Ice Cream Parlour at the back. Other than the food, there is an decent play area in the orchard at the back, and for smaller children inside, and a small barn that you can look in to see some calves and a bull, plus as a working farm so you might see loads of other comings and goings. I love the web site where you can see pictures of past prize winning cows and current pictures of other ones, which shows their love of their Jersey herd.
The actual Ice Cream Parlour has been very tastefully decked out and split into two – half bright, light and functional looking like a 60s American joint while the other half is all dark wood for a warmer, more natural English country kitchen feel. They make their own ice cream using a tiny little machine that pasteurises the milk, then make the ice cream before they all get busy packing off the ice cream by hand into tubs for sale in the shop or sending off to Alnwick Castle.
There is a delicious range of flavours including New York Cheesecake, Licquorice & Caramel, Blueberry Muffin, Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Triple Chocolate, Mint Choc Chip, Peach & Raspberry and Amaretto & Honeycomb. Prices are £1.15, £2.65 and £3.65 for single, double or triple scoop ice creams. Alternatively, you can go for tubs, or slices of cake for £1.90 each; I had a huge slice of Coffee & Walnut cake then scavenged tastes of the ice creams from the kids.
The ice cream is deliciously rich and creamy in flavour, while the flavours are interesting and full of amazing taste. Really a luxurious place for a treat. Our favourites are New York Cheesecake which I could eat all day, Cookies & Cream and Blueberry Muffin, which were all seductively gorgeous.
If you can, you should also buy a bottle of their unpasteurised, unhomogenised full fat milk, which is tasty milk the way it should be, with a thick slick of heavy cream floating on the top of the milk for 80p. You can also buy Wheelbirks unpasteurised cream at 70p for 142ml, or try the Longley Farm Luxury Jersey Butter at £1.25 per pat of butter and uses their milk, which the Richardsons send down to Longley Farm’s factory in Holmfirth. It’s good to know that one of my favourites – the rich, natural tasting creamy butter from Longley farm – comes from a source that I like and respect.
Wheelbirks Ice Cream easily gets to the top of our list of favourite ice cream shops we have visited, so try and make a trip to enjoy it.