Tuesday, April 6, 2010


We arrived home yesterday after a week in Manchester staying at my Aunty Sue's house. We were supposed to leave Guernsey on Sunday but the airport was fogged in, so after waiting around and spending a fortune at the Airport Cafe trying to feed the kids until they stopped whinging about the fact we were not actually going anywhere we went home and tried to leave on Monday. The fog stayed away this time - hooray - so we darkened my Aunty's doorstep mid afternoon.

On Tuesday we set off on our 'big' drive of the week and headed to York, which is about a one hour and forty minute trip if you manage to avoid the traffic; which we fortunately did. I have been to York once before, some fifteen years ago, and remembered it being a truly beautiful place. My memory served me well on this occasion as it was every bit as lovely as I had recalled.

We arrived in York at around 10am and went straight to that most wonderful of Yorkshire tea and cake supping Mecca's, Betty's at St Helen's Square. I had attempted on my previous Yorkshire jaunt to sample its delights but the thirty metre queue, which snaked its way down the road, put me off a little. This time I was prepared and went well before traditional tea times. I am very glad we did as by the time our drinks arrived the queue was some twenty people long. We were seated immediately and colouring in supplies appeared just as swiftly which gave Mr Bee and myself enough time to peruse the menu in peace. The Bumble B'eers all had the same, a mini chocolate milkshake, which contained a large dollop of chocolate ice-cream, and a chocolate brownie, which was really more of a sundae as the brownie seemed to form some type of raft on which another large scoop of ice-cream (vanilla this time) floated in a lake of chocolate sauce. The Oowwing and the Aaahhhing from the Bumble B'eers was quite loud at this point!

Mr Bee had his favourite croissants whilst I sampled their Eggs Benedict, as I had had no breakfast in anticipation. If I am being completely honest it was an expensive morning tea however sometimes you just need to throw caution, and a few pound notes, to the wind and just enjoy the experience.

As you walk through the door to Betty's you pass through their shop front, which sells bread, cakes, biscuits, tea, chocolates and all manner of tasty delights. Mr Bee ushered the Bumble B'eers out of the crowded shop so I could take a few photos. I bought each child a Lebkuchen Hen, which is a German gingerbread biscuit in the shape of a hen which is iced in fondant, feathers and all (sorry they were consumed before photographic evidence could be taken), an Easter Simnel cake for my Aunty Sue and a cook book for myself.

We ate some of the Simnel cake on Easter Saturday and it was truly delicious with its marzipan topping and another marzipan layer inside the cake. It was moist, fruity and one of the nicest fruit cakes I have ever tasted; except for my Mum's of course.

A Simnel cake is traditionally consumed on Easter day. It harkens back to medieval times, around the 17th century, when servant girls would bake this cake to give to their mothers on Mother’s day (Australian) or Mothering Sunday (English). As this day falls during Lent the cake was eaten on Easter Sunday, which signifies the end of Lent. The word Simnel is derived from the Latin word ‘Simila’ which means fine wheaten flour, which is what the cake was traditionally made from. The cake also has religious meaning as traditionally there are 11 marzipan balls around the rim of the cake which signifies the 11 ‘loyal’ disciples of Jesus. Sometimes eleven crystallized primroses are used instead of the marzipan balls. Some cakes also have a larger marzipan ball in the centre representing Jesus as well. The cake I purchased was of the smaller and easier to carry variety so it was simply decorated with patterned marzipan with six icing primroses of top.
Sorry the photo is a bit on the blurry side but I had to include it. The range of Easter eggs in Betty's were just gorgeous. The flowers were made of fondant and attached with a dot of chocolate on the back. After all we had spent this morning already our budget did not stretch to a Betty's egg as well, so a blurry photo will have to suffice.

I used to buy quite a few souvenirs when I travelled but these days I seem to limit myself however the thought of owning THE Betty's cook book was too much. I can justify the purchase however, as I can, hopefully, recreate the Betty's experience here at home - well that's my excuse and I am sticking to it ;P

1 comment:

  1. Aaaahhhhh Betty's. Expensive yes - worth it - YES!!!