Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

Available on Amazon

Friday 11 December 2015

Cheese scone of the year 2015 winner announced

Cheese Scone Year winner 2015
I have spent the last two days gathering and tasting the best cheese scones from 2015 in order to crown the Cake Crusader cheese scone of the year.

The plan for the scone off was as follows
1. Revisit all the cheese scone short listed venues, by bike of course, and purchase two cheese scones to take away.
2. The scones will be collected over two rides on the 9th and 10th December. Unfortunately the scones are too far apart to do on a single trip at this time of year.
3. Back at Crusader Towers I will correctly reheat scones ready for tasting
4. Myself and fellow judges will then blind taste the scones and rank them purely on our tasting experience
5. Winning scone will be announced and awarded a coveted Cake Crusaders winners certificate in time for Christmas.

I started day 1 by catching the train to Beccles. I was one of several cyclists on the train and wondered if any of the others were doing their search for cheese scone of the year today as well. 
Bike loaded on train to Beccles ready to start scone collection
The first destination of the day was Market Row cafe where the scones were fresh out of the oven and the only triangle shaped ones, non round scones shouldn't work but somehow they do. I was pleased to have the gathering phase of my search under way.
Market Row Scone in the bag
Next it was on to Jesters of Bungay in Bungay and then Earsham Hall tearoom. It couldn't have been much better weather for scone gathering as the sky was clear and sun was out.
Perfect weather for collecting scones
The first three venues were within the first 7 miles of the planned 66 mile ride so it was a bit of a shock when I had to cycle another 20 miles, into the wind, to get to my next contender of Coco Mamas at Eye, which is also a chocolatier so I bought some chocolate as well.
Coco Mamas scones and chocolate
Next it was on to the Pennoyer centre at Pulham St Mary where I was presented with the biggest scones of the day which I somehow managed to get into my scone bike bag without any getting squashed. 
Large scones in large bag from the Pennoyer centre
The wind was now more in my favour as I headed North to the Garden Tea rooms at Wymondham and then on to the final stop of Pandoras in Norwich. After announcing the time table Mr Pandora had dropped a sconeshell by letting me know they normally shut at 3:30 in the winter. This meant I had to really put the hammer down to get there in time and although I was a couple of mins late they had my scones ready for 'the Cheese Scone Man' as I was referred to by the staff.
Final scones loaded on bike outside Pandoras
With all scones in place it was time for day 1 scone off. Thanks to organisations like FIFA and the IAAF it appears people don't seem to be prepared to give bribes any more so sadly none were offered through out the day meaning the taste off would have to be done fairly.
Day 1 scones lining up for semi final scone off
I was joined by judges Chris (Mrs Crusader), Jill (renowned self acclaimed cheese scone expert, apparently) and George (son). I correctly warmed all the scones and let the blind tasting begin. As you can imagine all the scones were excellent and it took a lot of tasting, comparing and retasting before we eventually got to the two to go through to tomorrows final. These were the ones from Market Row and Coco Mamas my only two Suffolk scones.

With day 1 finalists decided it was on to find who the day 2 (North Norfolk) challengers would be.

For Day 2 I was joined by North Norfolk cafe expert Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please). The weather had turned and the forecast was poor with heavy rain predicted. I brought plenty of plastic bags to protect the scones from sogginess. Andrew had previously asked me what would happen if it rains on collection day. I explained that we would get wet.

Our first stop was Heydon Tearooms,

quickly followed by Reepham station and two scones bagged up within the first few miles and no rain, yet.

Next came the long 20 mile ride into the wind all the way at to Great Walsingham cafe, unfortunately it also started to drizzle. As well as purchasing the scones we stopped for some lunch by the warm log burner. It was very relaxing and I therefore forgot to photograph the scone.

Our final stop was Byfords at Holt and my collection work was done.

By now the skys had turned grey and it was raining hard. As I had correctly predicted this meant we were wet but fortunately the scones were dry.
Damp and dark ride back to Hard to Please House in Alysham
Back at Hard to Please House Andrew popped our 4 scones into his Aga (appropriate warming technique for North Norfolk scones) so we could decide who would be going through to the grand final. I only wanted one more in the final but we couldn't decide between Heydon and Byfords so like an episode of Masterchef we put them both through.
Day 2 semi final scones about to be warmed
After 115 miles of cycling and two semi final scone offs complete I was confident at the prospect of a cracking final later with it being too close to call. I had a team of 4 top cheese scone judges lined up and we would be tasting blind so it should be a fair result.

So with scones safely packed it was now back to Crusader Towers (this time in the car, I'm not mad) to prepare for the final.

All 4 finalist were correctly warmed by me before giving a section of each scone to myself and each judge for ranking. It was a very hard decision with much retasting and discussion until eventually it was decided that the Market Row scone just edged out the Coca Mama scone to be declared the winner.
Cheese scone of the year finalists
The judges thought it had an excellent crumb and the right amount of cheese making it enjoyable to eat whilst leaving a pleasant cheesy taste in your mouth.

Funnily enough this was the first scone I purchased on day 1 so I could have just collected this one and saved myself 115 miles of cycling, but that's hindsight for you.

I have now had over 50 cheese scones this year so many congratulations to Market Row for beating off all the competition and winning the title of Cake Crusader Cheese Scone of the year 2015. Also a big thank you to the other 10 scone providers as they were all a joy to taste.

I will be emailing Market Row their Cake Crusader winners certificate (once I've made it) ready for Christmas.

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