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/

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Saturday 16 December 2017

SROTY Final winner annouced

SROTY Finals 
December 2017
It was the most dramatic final for a thing of the year since the competition started 3 years ago. This years thing was the sausage roll and over the year I have tried over 50 at the various cafes I have cycled to. 

After qualification finished last week the top 8 were selected for today's sausage roll off back at Crusader Towers. However before the final, thing of the year rules dictate that I must collect the finalists by bike and this is where the drama started.

On Wednesday I set off for the first 3 cafe finalists (Earsham Street Bungay, Gardeners Kitchen Bergh Apton and Little Pigs Poringland). I had gone less than a mile when I clipped the curb and flew off my bike on to the pavement. Unfortunately I landed on my face and felt my front tooth bend in my mouth, then my ribs landed on the phone in my top pocket causing me some pain. 

Despite some blood, a wobbly tooth and bruised ribs I decide to press on or the SROTY final would have to be cancelled. Although a bit dazed and in some pain I completed the the 38 mile ride and the first set of sausage rolls were in the bag. 
Sausage rolls collected from Gardener's Kitchen
After a rib resting day off I joined up with Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) at Hard to Please House for the North Norfolk sausage roll collection. Things didn't look good as it was a 60 mile ride, there was rain in the air and my ribs hurt but even though Andrew is a vegetarian he knew that the ride must go on and encouraged us to set off on another epic ride. There was a good sign as we were met by an early rainbow. I felt this was an excellent omen meaning we would find sausage rolls at the end of it. As it turned out what it actually meant was that it was about to rain, which it did.
Rainbow didn't have pots of sausage rolls at the end but just meant it was going to rain
As we approached Creake Abbey Cafe farm shop Andrew announced he had a puncture so I left him to mend it while I dashed off to collect the necessary sausage rolls. As I entered the farm shop the heavens opened and one of us got a soaking. To add to the drama there was only one super large sausage roll left and it was Christmas themed (with added cranberries and chestnuts) but as there was no alternative I had to go with it (although SROTY really requires the roll to be a non fancy one).
Andrew fixed his puncture while I brought the SR's
When I returned Andrew claimed he could no longer feel his extremities and seemed unconcerned that I had only managed to get a Christmas themed sausage roll.

We continued in a constant drizzle to the Great Walsingham Cafe for our next collection. Whilst there Andrew insisted we phone our last stop (Artemis in Cley) to make sure they had 3 rolls left as we were now past lunchtime. This was very wise as they had in fact sold out.
Sausage rolls collected at Great Walsingham
Fortunately my first reserve (Owl in Holt) was also in range so we replanned our route and headed there.

The Owl in Holt came up trumps as first reserve
Day two had been long, cold, wet and painful but very satisfying as I was still on track to be able to hold the final.

Today the plan was to go on a final 30 mile ride, with my tasting panel and official adjudicator, to collect the last two finalists (Four seasons in Wymondham and Piano in Ketteringham Hall) before the final would take place back at Crusader towers.

Once again things didn't go smoothly as after a few miles we hit a road that was covered in black ice and with cyclists sliding and a couple of falling off incidents the ride was abandoned. I was left to slide off to collect the last finalists.

Back at Crusader Towers with everything now in place the draw for the first round of the sausage roll off was made. Jenny (Vegetarian) supervised proceedings while my tasting team warmed up and cleansed their palates.
Crack sausage roll tasting team ready for the first round
The draw for the first round saw 
Earsham Street Cafe v Gardeners Kitchen
Little Pigs v Four Seasons
The Owl v Creake Abbey Cafe
Great Walsingham cafe v Piano Tearoom

Just to reach the knockout phase is a real achievement as all the sausage rolls were excellent. Earsham Street and Four seasons had comfortable early wins before The Owl v Creake Abbey sausage roll off, which proved to be a cracking tie. Some of the tasting team felt the christmas additions counted against Creake Abbey and they went out 4-3. The Great Walsingham v Piano match was a battle of the sausage roll giants (literally) and lived up to its 'tie of the round' billing with the judge's finding it hard to pick a winner but Great Walsingham eventually came out on top.
Sausage Rolls being prepared for first round action
The semi final draw was made with Earsham Street playing Great Walsingham cafe and The Owl against Four Seasons.

The Earsham Street v Great Walsingham clash was a classic match up and would have made a worthy final but in the end Earsham Street proved too strong and progressed through. In the other semi Four Seasons came out a 5-2 winner but it was an excellent showing from the Owl to get this far after its last minute call up to the finals.

After the finalists were heated up they were introduced to the crowd ready for the last tasting of the year.
Last two sausage rolls standing
It couldn't have been a closer match as the tasting team were split 4 votes to 3 but Earsham Street had just come out on top to be crowned champions and Sausage Roll of the Year winners.
Action from the SROTY final
Many congratulations to them and all the finalists in one of the best (or only) sausage roll off's anyone could remember taking part in.

I will shortly be announcing what thing of the year will be next year when I will return to something baked and sweet.

Friday 1 December 2017

Weather warning. (The Sitting Room, Sheringham)

The Sitting Room,
Opening times Mon-Sat 9:30-5, Sun 9:30-4,
Highly Recommended 
Yesterday morning I waited patiently for Andrew's (who is notoriously hard to please) text to arrive which would call off our planned ride due to the wind, sleet and snow being forecast, but it never arrived. Last time he called off it was on the basis that there might be a light shower (there wasn't). 

When setting off time had arrived and with no text forthcoming I was forced to leave for Hard to Please House in the rain. Maybe it wasn't so bad in Aylsham I thought.

When I arrived (in heavy rain) Andrew claimed he wouldn't dare call off another ride after the stick I gave him last time so with neither of us wanting to be the one to wimp out we were forced to go. The plan remained to head to Sheringham but at least we agreed to go the direct way.

As we left the the heavy rain turned to sleet which turn to hail which turned to snow all within the 12 mile ride to the cafe.

Our destination was The Sitting room which is next to an Art Gallery on the edge of Sheringham town centre.
Outside the Sitting Room
Inside was nicely appointed, although it may also have been because we were pleased to find somewhere dry that we both agreed it deserved a high atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) score.
Good AAA as Andrew attemots to warm up
It was an interesting if not huge cake selection with some posh looking individual cakes available as well as traditional style sponge cakes. I went for cranberry and orange cake but Andrew went for a croissant which doesn't count as a cake (although keen followers of Cake Crusader rules know that it would before 9.00am).
Cake selection including croissants which aren't cakes
We squelched over to our seats to warm up. Andrew liked his cappuccino and croissant but my hot chocolate was much more what was required on a day like this and was excellent. The real bits of grated chocolate on the top were a nice touch. My cake was also very nice so good refreshment marks all round.
Excellent refreshments espically the hot chocolate
The sitting room had turned out to be a very good stop on such a wintery day and I highly recommend a visit.

We were not keen to leave but then the waitress suggested that we go. She was not being rude but said a storm was on it's way so felt we needed to make most of the current lull. As coastal folk know about these things we dashed back to our bikes and set off in the dry. At least, that is, until we got to the top of the road when the rain and snow started again and we got very cold and wet on our return to Hard to Please House. 
Arctic conditions as we set off from the Sitting Room
Cycling guest cycling top tip No. 64. To avoid getting frostbite and hypothermia on your cafe cycle ride be prepared to postpone it when arctic conditions are forecast.

Next time I plan to follow Cycling guest cycling top tip No. 64. 

Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 36 mile Aylsham to Sheringham loop Gpx file for your GPS