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

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Cheese Scone Travesty. (Olive Branch, Tunstead)

Olive Branch is now closed down
In case I haven't mentioned it before then next week I will be judging the Cake Crusader Cheese Scone of the Year 2015 competition (see cheese scone of the year update). Over two days I am cycling to where I had the best cheese scones this year to purchase some more of them for a full scone off. I will be doing a South and North selection ride. However there is one cheese scone I would like to have included but couldn't logistically fit in on either trip. I did think it was only fair to return to that cafe today to at least enjoy another scone even if I couldn't include it in the judging.

The cheese scone in question could be found at the Olive Branch in Tunstead that I last visited back in February (See day of records). Since then it has also become a fully fledged cycle cafe as they have opened a small cycle shop on site as well. 

With weather set fair I met up with Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) at Hard to Please House in Alysham for the start of the ride. Andrew had never been to a proper cycle cafe before so was excited at the prospect.

Later this year myself and Andrew are going back out to Europe to cycle up some mountains in search of the best alpine cafes. One of the rides planned is the last 70 miles of the final mountain stage of the 2014 Giro (tour of Italy) which includes a climb over Monte Zoncolan 'one of the toughest climbs in professional cycling'. As it looks rather steep we have decided to do some training via a cycle class at the UEA gym every Thursday. This meant we spent the ride out to Tunstead discussing heart rate zones and if cycling in the gym should really hurt that much or actually be fun. It is obviously meant to hurt so I suggested to Andrew he stick a picture of Monte Zoncolan profile (provided below) to his fridge to help inspire him during times of cycling weakness.

There were no mountains on our route today so we soon arrived at the Olive Branch and were impressed by the extended cycle rack facilities now available.
Outside Olive Branch in the bike racking area
Inside the cafe is decked out with cycling memorabilia so we selected a table under posters of the cycling monuments (one day races) as we see ourselves as one day specialists. We also checked out the cycle shop section which had some smart bikes in it.
Bike shop area
This obviously led to a high atmosphere and ambiance score being awarded. With bicycles inspected it was time to check out the cake selection. It was quite a small one but they did have two nice looking sponges and their excellent looking scones available. We ordered our drinks and cakes before returning to our table.
Nicely presented cake selection
Regular blog readers will know that over the last year I have been on a campaign to stop cafes serving cake on top of the serviette as it renders them useless for their primary crumb wiping function. #keepcakeoffserviettes. On my last visit here this practice had been in operation but after reading about my visit the Olive Branch had promised me they would not be doing it in future. I was therefore looking forward to see if they would be good to their word when scone, cake and serviette arrived.

Before my Honey cake and Cheese scone arrived our drinks made an appearance. Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) was very impressed by his cappuccino. Apparently it hit the mark on all three of his notoriously hard to please criteria of temperature, flavour and strength resulting in a high guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) score. He then ordered an unprecedented second cup. My hot chocolate didn't fair as well not being strong enough for my liking.
Nicely presented drinks
With drinks rated there were still the questions on the cheese scone quality and serviette status to be answered. We didn't have to wait long to find out as they soon arrived. It was great to see the napkin was neatly folded next to the scone. This was very satisfying as with another cafe now using serviettes correctly I felt I had successfully moved a step closer to cutting out this abhorrent practice worldwide.
Scone and cake correctly not served on serviette
The cheese scone had been correctly warmed and was delicious. The honey cake was good too leading to a high cake taste quality (CTQ) rating. It was a travesty that the cheese scone won't be contending in the cheese scone of the year 2015 judging just because someone couldn't make the effort to cycle the extra miles to purchase one. I felt I needed to raise the matter further but after discussing it I was unable to convince myself to change my mind. Outrageous!

The Olive Branch had performed well on my last visit and with some nice improvements did even better this time. I would certainly highly recommend a visit.

We cycled back steadily to Hard to Please House as we didn't want to tire ourselves out before tonight's cycle class although with two cappuccino's inside him Andrew should have no problem in getting his heart rate up.

Scores based on 2 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 27 mile Alysham Tunstead loop gpx file for your gps

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