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, 12 September 2019

No more excuses. (Chilli and Chives, Lavenham)

Chilli and Chives,
Lavenham,
Open Every day 9:30-17.00,
Highly Recommended
Now I’m back on my cycle cafe day job then today I was off to an area of Suffolk I was yet to explore. Not only would I be going to try a new (to me) cafe but I would be adding another car park to my list of the top ten best car parks to start a bike ride from. This time we opted to park at Felsham Village Hall. 
Car park on the road through Felsham
It’s not the biggest car park so the only spaces left were reserved between 6pm and 6.30pm on a Thursday (which today was) for the mobile fish and chip van. As it was only 10am we decided to risk it but we had now introduced some serious time based jeopardy to our ride.
Leaving today's free car park
This was at least the 3rd or 4th time I had attempted to do this ride as my planned cycling guests were Cliff and Sharon who we had made “friends” with on our cycle ride across India last year. They had foolishly let me have their email address and as they only live in Ely I regularly contact them suggesting rides they could join us on. For some reason my suggested dates always seem to clash with something or if a date is agreed then an emergency regularly crops up at the last minute. Last time they were saved by a rainy weather forecast. However with no more excuses available, and good weather, the ride was due to actually go ahead, on the condition that Mrs Crusader came too.

We met at the allotted time and location and set off into deepest Suffolk while we caught up on our respective cycling adventures. 
Setting off into deepest Suffolk
I spent most of the time telling them all about my cycling trip to the Alps which is happening in a couple of weeks time (watch this space) they did try and share tales of their trip to Sicily, which they had done last week, but as there appeared to have been little cake and too much culture I just nodded politely before returning to news of my cake based trips (from Dover to Norwich and Vienna to Budapest). I did ask if they had made any new holiday friends which apparently they had but had been careful not to share their email address with anyone on that trip as "they wouldn’t be making that mistake again".

Not knowing the area well my route had a couple of unplanned off road sections, the second of which was straight across a field that didn’t prove very popular. 
To add interest to the route I took as along a hedge row and through a field
 but it didn't go down as well as I hoped
Mrs Crusader was also unhappy with the number of hills we had to negotiate reminding her further why my forthcoming trip to the Alps (which I may have mentioned) was not for her.
Mrs Crusader didn't enjoy all the hills on the route
Possibly because of this and a strong headwind, we were more than ready for our refreshment stop when we arrived at Historic Lavenham which has more tearooms per head of population then anywhere else in the whole of West Suffolk. I counted six in the High Street area alone (although two were closed). It could keep a cycle cafe reviewer busy for sometime.
Lavenham High Street area bursting with tea rooms
With so much choice I didn’t know where to start or what cafe selection criteria to use so just went for the nearest one to where we had stopped, which was Chilli and Chives.
Outside Chilli and Chives
Lavenham was heaving with tourists, the majority of which looked like they had retired many years ago so the couple of outside tables on the pavement had already been mopped up leaving us to take a table inside, which was also pretty busy (although the service was very efficient).

The cake selection was on full display and was a very good one with several excellent looking cakes as well as some tray bake items and scones. Unfortunately the elderly tourists had already hoovered up all the fruit scones so there were none available for me to check out in my search for fruity scone of the year. However I still awarded a high effective cake selection (ECS) score.
Today's excellent cake selection
Sadly Cliff and Sharon went for tea as their hot drink and as we all know that means their hot drink quality rating would be capped at 7 as after all it is just a cup of tea. They also both choose the same cake, coffee and walnut, limiting their rating input further.

Mrs Crusader knows what she is doing on the cafe rating front and opted for an Americano and lemon cake while I went for carrot and ginger cake with my hot chocolate. The coffee and tea were all thought to be very good (real tea leaves, not bags) but my hot chocolate was rather too milky to score highly.
Our hot drinks featuring a rather nice tea pot
On the other hand the cakes were tremendous. I was able to try all 3 and each one was excellent being both moist and tasting of the advertised flavours, I awarded a whooping 9.2 out of 10.
All the cakes we tried were top notch
The Chilli and Chives had proved a great pick and I wondered how they compared with the other Lavenham establishments. It will probably take me a few more years of cafe cycling to find out but in terms of the Chilli and Chives I highly recommend a visit.

We now just had a short 7 mile ride back to the car park and had 4 hours to make it to avoid upsetting the locals evening takeaway plans. It looked like it would be a cinch until Sharon's bike had a mechanical when the chain came off and got stuck in the wheel. With the clock ticking it was with some relief that Cliff managed to free it successfully and as we made it back in time.
Last minute mechanical drama with Sharon and Mrs Crusader offering useful advice
I felt it had been an excellent ride so tried to organise another catch up 
when Cliff informed me they were probably about to move to somewhere along way away. Tomorrow I meet up with Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) for a training ride for the trip to the Alps I may have forgotten to mention. Step 1 is to find a mountain in Norfolk. 

Scores
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.1
7.5
8.72
9.2
7.3
7.76
Route

Click here to download 35 Mile Felsham Lavenham loop gpx file for your GPS

No comments:

Post a comment