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

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Saturday 23 January 2016

Start at the very beginning. (Number 1 Cafe and Deli. Clare)

Number 1 Café and Deli,
One of my most exciting cafe cycle based projects is to try and visit cafes named after their street numbers from 1 to 100. So far I've done Numbers 5, 7, 14, 24, 28 and 51 so with 94 cafes still to go I thought I needed to pull my finger out and get more numbers under my belt. 

Over Christmas I was once again able to enjoy watching the Sound of Music on the television. During the viewing I had been inspired by the wise words sung by Maria while out on a sportive with the von Trapp family. She sang "Start at the very beginning, its a very good place to start" before going on to describe what a series of random things (e.g a doe, ray, tea, me, far, sew etc) were. Why this particular set of things I have no idea but I did feel she was spot on about needing to start at the start. Therefore I decided to see if I could find a Number one cafe to visit next. Some extensive internet research found several such establishments but I was most excited to see the nearest was in Clare in Suffolk which (with the help of the train) would only require a 55 mile round trip.

The weather forecast did not look good when I met Big George, today's cycling guest, at Norwich station and he was already questioning if going for a 55 mile ride in the wind and rain was a good idea. Fortunately there is an old Chinese proverb for just such a dilemma: "don't worry about the rain until it actual starts, as it often does not" which I quoted to him. As it hadn't started to rain yet then this seemed to do the trick, and inspired by these wise words he agreed to come along. Before he could change his mind I quickly bought our tickets and we got on the train to bound to Stowmarket just as it started to rain.
Windy and raining conditions, although you can't tell in the picture,
at Stowmarket Station
On arrival at Stowmarket station I was begin to think it may have been better to call off the ride after all, as the wind had got up and the rain was quite hard but I can hardly be a Cake Crusader and then quit over a 'bit of rain' so cursing those wise old Chinese I manned up as we set off into a gale. 

Early conditions were harsh with strong winds and heavy rain. I was just thinking to myself that the last thing we needed was one of us to get a puncture. Big George then got a puncture. 
Another photo of Big George mending a puncture
We were now really cold and wet but determined to make it. Fortunately for the remaining 20 odd miles to Clare the rain changed to a more showery nature offering tempting respite before starting up again. Even so we were mighty relieved to find the Number 1 cafe and deli on the corner of Clare High street just as the latest downpour started.
Outside Number 1 cafe and Deli plus a close up of Big Georges cold finger
It was quite hard to spot as there was no big signage or any sort of outdoor seating area. We went inside to find a cosy old fashioned layout, in a converted post office, with wooden tables spread amongst neatly laid out display units of jams and chutneys. It all felt very warm after our experience getting here.
Inside Number 1 cafe and deli
I checked out the cake selection which only had two proper cakes but a good selection of slices and brownies. As 2016 is the year of the flapjack it was great to see three varieties on show helping to boost the effective cake selection (ECS) rating.
Cake selection majoring on slices
I went for some chocolate cake and sticky cherry flapjack. Big George was right on message and picked some date flapjack to go with his filter coffee. I taught him about how we would be rating flapjack this year in the build up to the flapjack off in December. Using the three flapjack T's of quality (taste, texture, and topology) these flapjacks scored very well. The date flapjack had particularly good topology being a double decker.
Cakes and Flapjack featuring the date double decker
Our drinks were both good and warmed us up nicely. My chocolate cake was excellent so combined with the top quality flapjack I gave a high taste cake quality (CTQ) score. I was pleased that Number one Cafe and Deli had set a good standard at the head of my street number cafe project.
The drinks line up
While we had been inside the rain had really picked up so we were now in for a proper soaking. To help morale I shared another old Chinese proverb with Big George. "When the sky's turn black, the rain comes down and you will get very wet". Which like most Chinese proverbs was spot on and we did. 

The roads were now turning to rivers but fortunately with the energy giving properties of flapjack inside us we powered through the rain back towards Stowmarket.
Very wet conditions
Once safely on the train I Googled 'Cafe Number 2' but the only Cafe Number 2 I could find was in Copenhagen. Work has therefore started on persuading Mrs Crusader that she has always wanted to visit Denmark, especially by bike.
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 56 mile Stowmarket Clare loop GPX file for your GPS

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