We’re sat outside at a cafe table in shimmering morning sunshine. With an elegant flourish and a prego, the waiter brings us cappuccinos and canolli. But we’re not in Italy. WE ARE IN BRADFORD.
A confessed Italophile, I’m also unbelievably happy at that point on my experiential graph where the Things To Do With Books axis intersects with the Fantastic Coffee axis. So I’m in my element in Emily’s – the Italian coffee bar and delicatessen at the Brontë’s birthplace in Thornton, BD13.
This Victorian terraced house has had a chequered past. In the two-hundred years since the Brontës were born here (on a rag rug in front of the fire, is what I’m imagining as I sip my Sanpellegrino), it’s been neglected by remiss landlords and tussled over by Brontë enthusiasts with different MOs about its future. Thankfully, it was bought in 2014 by the de Luca family (who once-upon-a-time came to Bradford via Naples) and turned it into one of the nicest places to go for a caffe latte in the whole of Yorkshire.
It’s quite an unassuming building, to say it once managed to contain the irrepressible Brontës within its four walls, but it’s incredibly pretty and well-appointed. Inside it’s been refurbished beautifully with reclaimed school desks and antique enamel pendant lights, and, in true Yorkshire-Italian fusion style, polpa di pomodori tins have been reappropriated as hanging planters.
The coffee is so good I can’t help but have one too many. The Nutella and banana piadina is also a highlight (I find Nutella weirdly glamorous – it always makes me feel like I’m in Continental Europe) but it’s quite a tricky dish to eat with dignity. It’s much too delicious to tackle carefully so I find myself covered in dripping hot Nutella almost immediately.
A wise person (Giuseppe Verdi) once said, ‘You may have the universe if I may have Italy.’ An even wiser person (my mum) quite frequently says, ‘And that’s why Yorkshire is God’s own county.’ So, borrow a bit of wisdom from both of these great thinkers and, when you’re next in the West Riding, pay a visit to Emily’s. With your feet in Bradford and your heart in Naples, raise a macchiato to the remarkable Brontës.
3 Caffe latte 7oz £7.20
Nutella & banana piadina £4.50
Berries, bio-yoghurt & granola £3.90
Toasted ciabatta & focaccia w/ jam £2.00
Blueberry & banana frutta yoghurt £3.50
Emily’s 72-72 Market Street, Thornton Village, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD13 3HF, (01274) 834853.
Open Thursday-Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 10am-3pm.