Shrek Afternoon Tea

To celebrate the arrival of Shrek The Musical at Bristol Hippodrome, Harvey Nichols have decided to open their doors to the swamp and create a gruesomely green afternoon tea for all of their customers, young and old.  At only £12.50 this is a treat that the whole family can enjoy, although I would suggest that the portions are definitely child-size!

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The fact that the plate itself features a giant ogre Shrek face definitely creates some excitement as your bite-size treats are placed in front of you.  I started with the savoury products and worked my way up to the sweet treats on the board.

I have to admit that my Shrek-themed afternoon tea got off to a very good start.  My donkey-shaped sandwich filled with a sardine paté was absolutely fabulous; the sardine flavour was strong, but not over-powering, and the paté was super smooth and creamy.  The Shrek-head avocado sandwich was also a beautifully creamy affair.  I thought that it was really great that they had really thought about what kind of colours, smells, and tastes would be associated with the swamp.  Next, I moved onto the giant pea and mint mound, which was the only disappointing part of the tea.  The flavours were very mild, and there was just far too much of it for such a bland flavour.  Neither me nor my best friend finished this particular piece, but that was fine, as we got to wash away the weird after-taste with the refreshingly zesty ‘swamp juice’.  In contrast to the pea and mint nothingness, the swamp juice was probably my favourite part of the whole experience.  The flavours were strong and distinctive, and really got us talking about what exactly was in it and what it reminded us of!  We both decided that it was definitely a non-alcoholic mojito, and much better than any we had ever ordered at a bar.

I also loved the detail of the gingerbread man, and the vanilla cupcake consisted of a beautifully fluffy sponge and a wonderful green frosting to accompany it.  However, I was glad I saved the ‘ogre’s booger’ until last, as it really was a gruesomely awesome treat.  The ‘bogey’ was a wonderfully fluffy marshmallow, covered in green sugar crystals, with a piercing lemon curd that oozed out of the middle.  Luckily, I had managed to save the best to last!

To top it all off, we concluded our session with some cocktails and prosecco.

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All in all, my best friend and I had a wonderful time enjoying something that we definitely considered a treat.  It was our first time dining at Harvey Nichols and we loved the whole experience and will definitely be going back at some point!  We may have left a little hungry due to the size of the portions, but considering many of the big hotels and fancy restaurants charge more than £12.50 for a standard afternoon tea in Bristol it is not something that we felt massively hard done by.  Next time, we’ll know to order a scone or two on the side!

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The Graduationsaurus Rex

Unfortunately, I have been so busy this summer that I have only just got round to posting about the cakes that I made for my boyfriend’s graduation at the end of July.  I spent absolutely ages trawling through beautiful graduation cake ideas with absolutely nothing jumping out at me.  I wanted to create something special that he would never have had before to celebrate his amazing achievement that had taken three long, laborious years to complete!  And it was in the middle of the night when I came up with this:

The Graduationsaurus Rex

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I had recently purchased some dinosaur cake moulds from Lakeland because I am such a big kid and absolutely love experimenting with fun shapes and decorations.  I knew I didn’t want to leave them plain and decorate them with icing pens in the same way that Lakeland had advertised them on their website, especially as I was baking chocolate chip dinosaurs instead of the vanilla recipe that they offered with the moulds.  Therefore, I decided that candy melts were the perfect antidote to my decorating woes!  I could create a fun and colourful dinosaur simply by covering my cake in blue chocolate and decorating with icing.  This was much easier said than done. I ended up having to paint the blue chocolate on with a paint brush that I had to constantly dip in hot water so that the chocolate was still melting and runny enough to spread over all the curves smoothly.  It took absolutely ages, but I could see that the end result was going to be worth all of the hard work, and creating the icing decorations was so much fun at the end of it all!

It may have been a little bit rough around the edges, but I was so ridiculously pleased with the finished product.

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Unfortunately, the dinosaur did get a little battered travelling around 100 miles from Bristol to London when I got the train up for the graduation.  But it was still clearly a graduation dinosaur and I think it did well considering the distance and the fact that it was all by public transport!

It was super convenient that I had loads of extra cake-mix left over to make some cupcakes for my boyfriend’s family who were also travelling up to watch him graduate that day.  Luckily, we were all meeting at my student flat in London, so I had enough time to whip up a quick vegan chocolate frosting there, as his mum is lactose intolerant and I didn’t want her to miss out.  I also managed to find some pretty sprinkles in my little uni baking box that I could quickly pour on them too!

The cakes went down an absolute treat.  My boyfriend and his family loved them and really appreciated all the effort that I had gone to.  If you ever get stuck deciding on sentimental present ideas, especially for events like graduations, cakes are definitely the way forward.  I mean, let’s face it, who doesn’t like a good cake when celebrating something special?!

Foodies Festival Highlights

This weekend Bristol Harbourside has been graced with the Foodies Festival, which is popping up in different locations all over the country this summer.  There are lots of different food tents hosting cooking, baking, and beer-tasting demonstrations – whatever takes your fancy, there will be something for you.  However, the highlight for me is the variety of stalls selling thousands of wonderfully different food and drink products, and the happy atmosphere with smiling crowds drinking, eating, and watching live music performances in the hot summer sunshine.  I had a wonderful time at the festival today, so I have decided to share with you some of my personal favourites from the event.

1. Custom Creams

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As you can see from the picture, Custom Creams offers their customers a bespoke ‘create your own’ ice cream/sorbet experience from a multitude of fresh and seasonal ingredients.  You can even choose to mix together two flavours that are not ‘tried and tested combos’, so you can really get your creative juices flowing!  Once you have chosen your flavours, you get to watch the very friendly men in charge of the magnificent machines freeze your chosen flavours ‘in a spectacular theatre of nitrogen mist’ right in front of your eyes!

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I chose to create a refreshing raspberry and mango sorbet and it was absolutely delicious!

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2. The Bourneville Waffle

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I had this wonderful waffle for brunch and I do not regret my choice in the slightest.  I opted for the Rocky Road waffle, although the Banoffe Pie waffle was extremely tempting!  However, I just could not resist marshmallows this time round!  My waffle was made with absolute precision.  After being made fresh in front of my own eyes, my hot waffle was delicately loaded with whipped cream, crushed cookies, chocolate buttons, mini marshmallows, and topped with a generous helping of luxuriously dark chocolate sauce. It was crisp on the outside, whilst being light and fluffy on the inside, and there was enough topping to make every mouthful a spectacular tasty treat.  It was rich and indulgent, and the perfect start to a fun and busy day!

3. American Kitchen

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Unfortunately, I was so focused on getting the last slice of ‘Fat Elvis’ pie that I completely forgot to take a photo of any of American Kitchen’s beautiful brownies or pies.  They had a wonderful variety, ranging from orange and raspberry brownies to the classic key lime pie.  However, I just could not miss out on this wonderfully strange sounding ‘Fat Elvis’ pie, and was more than enthusiastic when I was asked ‘would you like candied bacon with that?’  At no other point in my life have I ever thought that I would want candied bacon, and especially not on a pudding pie.  However, one spoonful of this wonderfully sweet and salty treat told me that I had made the right decision.  If you have the chance, buy a slice of this peculiar pie!  It looks magnificent, and it tastes magnificent!  It is completely unlike anything you will have ever had before.  And the portions are so big that I still have some left for pudding tonight.  Good old American food and portions for you there!

4. Dimkins Patisserie

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Today I had the pleasure of sampling Dimplin’s Blueberry and Liquorice flavoured macaroons, a flavour that I have never come across before.  Naturally, I was quite excited about this discovery, as I am a MASSIVE macaroon fan.  They were light and airy, yet crunchy on the outside, and beautifully creamy in the middle.  The flavours were very subtle, which gave a lovely contrast in flavours without the liquorice overpowering the delicate blueberry flavour.  With lots of different flavours to choose from, these will attract anyone who loves a little bite of everything!

5. The Fresh Lemonade

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Last but not least, The Fresh Lemonade Company is the perfect place to grab a refreshing cocktail to sit down with and listen to the live music that has been put on for your own enjoyment.  I had a wonderful Cherry Bakewell cocktail (left).  All of these cocktails are made with the company’s fresh lemonade and are absolutely beautiful.

If you are heading to the festival tomorrow you are guaranteed to have a fabulous time.  There is an amazing variety of foods and drinks for you to try and buy, and a multitude of entertainment acts to enjoy whilst you rest your feet and arms from all the bags full of fresh food (and the cheeky bottle of elderflower gin) you have purchased!  I hope the summer sun stays out for you and that you have as much fun as I did today.  Happy eating my fellow foodies!

Wallace & Gromit Cupcakes

Bristol is well known for its association with Aardman Animation’s much-loved characters, Wallace and Gromit.  So when I spotted these beautifully decorated Gromit and Shaun the Sheep cupcakes whilst enjoying a leisurely weekend stroll around Bristol Harbourside, I just couldn’t resist trying one!  Unfortunately, the Wallace and Gromit themed cupcakes did not come in a great choice of flavour. The Gromit cupcakes were all vanilla, and the Shaun the Sheep cupcakes were vanilla with strawberry jam.  Despite the cute little marshmallows creating a fluffy sheep coat on top of Shaun’s head, I just couldn’t say no to the cute Gromit faces staring up at me, as he was always my favourite character growing up!  But if there happened to be a greater variety of flavours next time I stumble across Lilymead Bakery’s stall, I doubt I’ll be able to resist these cute little Shaun the Sheep cupcakes!

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Despite my reservations over vanilla cupcakes, mainly their blandness in flavour, I decided that I would still give these gorgeous cupcakes a shot!  I have to admit that these were a bit more flavoursome than most vanilla cupcakes, given the strong buttercream topping that was swirled on top, and the thick icing that was used to create the Gromit decoration.  However, the thickness of both these toppings did make them rather sickly, and I’m not sure I could have managed a whole one!  (Staying with my dear mother, I have the pleasure of sharing every sweet treat with her, as she has even more of a sweet tooth than I do!)  Nevertheless, this cupcake was a lovely treat at the end of a lovely day.

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Aesthetically, these cupcakes are perfect for anyone who loves Wallace and Gromit as much as I do.  They stood out as being simple and unique, and were simply irresistible!  The flavours may not have been magnificent or adventurous, and the sponge may have been slightly stodgy, but the decoration and attention to detail was absolutely beautiful, and they definitely pull at the heart strings of a Bristolian who grew up with Wallace and Gromit as a central part of their childhood.  I love that Lilymead Bakery obviously put a lot of thought into what represents Bristol to Bristolians, and supplied us with these gorgeous cupcakes for the weekend.

Brilliant Bill’s

Everybody I know has been raving about Bill’s, a small chain that has grown over recent years to become a foodie favourite.  I first heard about it from my best friend, who enjoyed her first experience at the new Bristol branch about 6 months ago.  Then one of my friends in London mentioned that she really wanted to try their afternoon tea, as she’d been told about their delectable homemade jam.  Having heard great reviews, I was hardly going to turn her down!

Unfortunately, my first experience at Bill’s did not quite meet my expectations, as the staff at the Covent Garden (St Martin’s Courtyard) restaurant were rather rude and abrupt when dealing with our complaint that our afternoon teas had been apportioned unequally across the two stands that six of us were told to share from.  Aside from the unpleasant service, the food was rather good, with an excellent variety of sandwiches; warm scones, clotted cream, and fresh jam; chocolate cake, strawberry and cream tarts, lemon meringue pies, and flapjacks, especially when you consider the bargain price of £9.95.  If there is one thing that Bill’s cannot be praised enough for, it is their dedication to providing good food at excellent prices.

Luckily, Bill’s in Bristol saved the day with their impeccable and friendly customer service, whilst still managing to serve great food, exactly as expected from all the wonderful things I had heard about this restaurant.  Whilst my best friend tucked into her burger, I started on dish one of five: hot cross buns with a whipped cinnamon butter.

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As it is coming up to Easter, I decided to treat myself to a traditional holiday indulgence.  I was automatically drawn to this dish on Bill’s menu, as I have always loved hot cross buns, but have never seen them served with a cinnamon butter.  I have to admit the flavours in this butter were a great addition to these warm, toasted, fruity hot cross buns; it was almost like a sweet, melted peanut butter.  These would make the perfect Easter treat in between shopping for Easter eggs!  (Plus, Bill’s have some extremely colourful chicken shaped ‘eggs’ for you to pick up on your way out if you’re much more interested in the easy life like me!)

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Next up were these beautifully fresh mini cinnamon doughnuts, with sweet strawberries and a pot of hot melted chocolate sauce, all served on a cute, rustic wooden board, with an elegantly designed greaseproof paper.  These were literally bite-size pieces of heaven.  Soft, warm, and sugary, there was no mistaking how fresh and wonderful these mini doughnuts were, and the chocolate sauce just completed the whole package.

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My favourite dish was the pecan pie accompanied by banana ice cream.  I find that pecan pie is one of those desserts that feature so infrequently on restaurant menus that I get insanely excited when they do eventually pop up!  Pecan pie was my favourite dessert growing up, until Marks & Spencer discontinued my one true love and created a pecan pudding shaped hole in my life, and I have spent those long, empty years trying to find the perfect pecan pie to fill that void.  Tonight, I may have finally found a winner! This pecan pie was everything that it should be: soft, sweet, gooey, with so much pecan goodness you could weep with joy.  I literally couldn’t be happier right now!

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I followed up the pecan pie with what I assumed was going to be my favourite pudding of the evening (as normally the pecan pie is a complete disappointment and everyone knows I am a MASSIVE fan of jaffa cakes)!  However, I was shocked that I was quite happy to leave half of this pudding due to the fact that I did not fall head-over-heels in love with it.  It certainly had all of the right components to make a jaffa cake: an indulgent chocolatey coating and a soft cake bottom, which sandwiched an orange jelly elegantly in between them.  However, something just wasn’t quite right, and I believe it was the cake:chocolate:orange ratio.  Essentially, the orange was wonderfully strong in flavour (this is certainly not a criticism; I am never one to complain about too much flavour!), but the chocolate was overwhelmingly thick on the edges and the cake was disappointingly thin in contrast.  It also wasn’t as fun to eat as a traditional jaffa cake, as I’m one of those people who love to tear the cake off from the delicate jaffa centre, leaving the best bit for last.  However, if you have a real craving for something chocolate orange after your main, this is definitely the dessert to go for!

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My last pudding was the crème brûlée with raspberries and shortcake biscuits.  This was truly a beautiful crème brûlée: it was smooth and creamy, with a beautifully crunchy caramelised topping.  Unfortunately, there was only one raspberry in my dessert, but the raspberry certainly added a lovely contrast in flavour to the delicious vanilla custard.  I loved the fact that the vanilla seeds were visible in every spoonful, confirming that the freshest ingredients are used for every dessert.

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All of this was washed down with my favourite drink of all time: a pink lemonade and vanilla ice cream float (a drink that I discovered on my first trip to Bill’s).  Attention to detail is as prominent as ever, with a delicate strawberry propped onto the side of the glass.

This was a truly wonderful evening – great company, great food, and great service.  I am glad that I finally got to experience the side of Bill’s that everyone has been raving about for so long, and I can’t wait for my next visit, where I might try something a little more savoury from the menu (finished off with a large slice of pecan pie, obviously)!

Heavenly Sausage Rolls, But Mediocre as a Whole

Tart, Bristol 

Quite often people describe me as weird.  Not in a freaky ‘who invited this girl and why does she keep staring at me?!’ way, but more in a quirky ‘you have a weird sense of humour’ sort of way.  I take it as a complete complement because in my opinion, anything weird, quirky and different makes the world more fun and interesting and I absolutely love discovering anything slightly new and unusual, especially when it comes to food.  So when I discovered the Tart Afternoon Tea, which sounded like a mini West Country-themed feast with its selection of sandwiches, home-made paté and pickles, home-made chicken pasties, home-made sausage rolls, cheese scones, chutney, and cream cheese, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to try it all; it reminded me of all the farm shops my parents used to take me to when I was younger and I thought that it would be a lovely nostalgic treat to share with my best friend before I headed back to London for another gruelling semester at uni.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.

Today was quite possibly one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong.  I’d already fallen down the stairs before even leaving my house, I got stuck behind a manoeuvring lorry for about 10 minutes on Gloucester Road, and once I had finally found a parking space within walking distance of the café, I read a text from my best friend informing me that she was going to be 15-20 minutes late.  However, I had managed to park rather perfectly next to a giant tree without smashing my wing mirror off, so I was still in a pretty good mood and didn’t mind that I had a bit of a wait.  As my best friend was, in fact, 40 minutes late, leaving me shivering in my little wooden seat, playing sudoko on my phone, and telling the waitress three times that I was waiting for a friend and was definitely not being stood up, I had a lot of time to look around and take in just how delightful this little café is.  Everything is presented beautifully, from the cakes, jams, pickles, and other fresh produce behind the giant glass counter which draws you in as soon as you walk through the door, to the stacked panettone and other boxed delights on the shelves and cabinet behind the first set of tables.  A lot of thought and love has clearly gone into this café to make it as homely and welcoming as possible.  It was bright, bustley, and the smell of freshly ground coffee danced around the room doing flips and turns underneath your nose.  However, a bit of heating would have gone a long way to making the customers just that little bit more comfortable (in as much that they could actually take their coats off) in what otherwise was a charming little place, quite typical of Gloucester Road’s array of independent businesses, which all offer something quite unique compared to the big corporate brands that are slowly starting to edge their way onto this notorious hotspot of creativity in Bristol.

After looking around at the other tables for about 10-15 minutes in the hope that I might spot a menu somewhere, and glancing hopefully at the chalkboards strewn across the walls with today’s specials on them, I finally plucked up the courage (something very hard for us Brits who politely don’t want to be an inconvenience) to ask the waitress if they did serve afternoon tea as advertised on their website.  She immediately brought a menu over so that I could choose from their selection of afternoon teas available.  As soon as my best friend arrived we set about ordering the Tart Afternoon Tea, but unfortunately they couldn’t do it as they didn’t have any home-made paté or chicken pasties.  In the end, I ordered the Classic Afternoon Tea, and Shelley had the Savoury Cream Tea, consisting of a giant freshly-baked cheese scone, with cream cheese and chutney.  We also ordered a plate of sausage rolls on the side – we’d come especially for the Tart Afternoon Tea and there was no way we were going to leave without sampling at least a little bit of it!

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Now I’m going to admit that I have never had afternoon tea outside of London, but I was quite surprised that my two-tiered cake stand (not quite in keeping with my blog name!) was presented to me with no explanation of sandwich fillings or cake choices.  In all fairness, the sandwich fillings were typical afternoon tea choices and quite obvious just by looking at them (ham and tomato, salmon and cucumber, egg mayo, and cheese and pickle), but my best friend and I treated the cakes like the taste-testing challenge on Masterchef.  Whilst this did add an element of fun and surprise into our afternoon, it did grow tiresome quite quickly.  The lemon cake was the only obvious one, and the nicest by far, as it was beautifully moist, light and fragrant, with a slightly sticky texture, and the perfect amount of flavouring to make this a delicious palette-cleanser.  Shelley and I both agreed that the chocolate cake was far too strong, bitter and heavy, especially for an afternoon tea that included two large scones.  The cheesecake was soft and very lightly flavoured with flecks of orange peel, but certainly nothing special; and what looked like a slice of bakewell tart, which is one of my favourite bakes of all time, had no trace of that sweet ground almond flavour whatsoever.  To say the cakes were disappointing is a grave understatement.

The saving grace of the afternoon tea was the scones.  My freshly baked sweet scones were absolutely perfect.  Served warm, with a beautiful, fruity strawberry jam and fresh clotted cream, each mouthful was sweet and airy, with the perfect ratio of crumbliness to firmness; when you sliced your knife through the centre, they broke apart so effortlessly to reveal their soft, fluffy centres.  No matter how full I was getting, I just couldn’t stop eating them!

Shelley’s freshly baked cheese scone was just as delightful.  The cream cheese was light and smooth, and the chutney contrasted beautifully with its deep, sharp tones.  And at the end of it all, you were left with the subtle after-taste of the cheese from the scone.  If you find yourself on Gloucester Road craving a scone, this is the place to go.  Sweet or savoury, you will not be disappointed!

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I don’t normally say this, but the most exciting part of our afternoon at Tart was the tea (other than our conversations that seemed to turn entirely inappropriate as soon as a waitress was within a foot of our table)!  Tart offer an extensive range of different teas, including ‘ATTIC Teas The finest Chinese teas, served in a special tea maker’.  I ordered the Jasmine Green Tea Pearls (the only one that was left).  If you are as easily amused as I am, I definitely recommend ordering one of these mesmerising teas.  It comes in a large, see-through container, filled with hot water and the tea leaves floating on top.  You leave it to stand until the leaves have dropped (like in the picture above), and then you place it on top of your teapot and it strains it for you.  Other than the fact that the cups and saucers were slightly dirty, with tea marks on them, it was a completely delightful, delicious and novel experience.  I love Jasmine Green Tea and this one was as light, delicate and aromatic as ever.

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I have left the home-made sausage rolls until the end, as I have always left the best thing until last when eating and I felt that these beautiful mouthfuls of joy deserved the same honour.  These were absolutely heavenly.  Both Shelley and I agreed that without a doubt these were one of the best sausage rolls we have ever tasted (although Shelley did admit that she had some from Asda yesterday so anything would taste good in comparison)!  They were beautifully seasoned, succulently juicy and the pastry was divinely crisp and golden.  They are the reason I want to return!  Although the afternoon tea, other than the scones, was average at best, these bite-size pieces of perfect contentment gave an insight into the potential that this café has to offer, and I am optimistic that the West Country themed Tart Afternoon Tea is everything I want it to be!  Next time I plan to go though, I will definitely ring ahead to make sure they have everything available in advance, and possibly visit in the summer when hopefully it’s a little warmer!

The World’s Best Hot Chocolate!

Bar Chocolat, Bristol

There’s something about the winter months, particularly the Christmas holidays, that makes hot chocolate an absolute necessity.  Don’t get me wrong, I love hot chocolate all year round, but I have to admit I did avoid it this summer after I worked up quite a sweat the previous summer simply carrying my hot chocolate the short distance from Cafe Nero to my desk in the cupboard cum sauna, officially known as ‘the intern room’, which was just around the corner.  I then had to remove as much clothing as possible (or socially allowable) just to be able to drink it.  So sitting in the window of Bar Chocolat with my best friend today, watching people clad in thick winter coats and colourful scarves braving the frosted streets of Clifton was a far more relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Bar Chocolat is one of my favourite places in Bristol.  It is situated in the beautiful Clifton Village, which is full of quirky, independent (and some rather quite expensive) boutiques, all of which are within walking distance of Park Street and the city centre if you’re up for a serious spot of shopping.  Whilst on the other side you have a beautiful park to explore, which leads to the Clifton Observatory and Camera Obscura or the Suspension Bridge depending on which path you take, but both offer exquisite views over Clifton Gorge.

However, the main reason I have fallen head over heels for this gorgeous little family-run cafe is that it does the best hot chocolate in the world.  This may be a bold claim to make, especially as I haven’t actually tried every hot chocolate in the world, but I can’t actually comprehend a hot chocolate better than this!  Their Ultimate hot chocolate is made by melting high-quality Belgian chocolate with milk and it is literally like spooning thick, rich, melted chocolate into your mouth, made even more pleasurable by the sweetness of the fresh, light-as-air whipped cream and mini melted marshmallows that accompany each and every mouthful.  This drink is literally heaven in a mug and it will probably take you a few visits before you can finish the whole thing (the perfect excuse to return)!  When I asked for a glass of water with my order the waitress joked that I was ‘clearly an expert’ as this hot chocolate is more of a deliciously filling chocolate meal than a drink, but it is oh so satisfying!

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Anyone who has spoken to me for more than 10 minutes is probably well acquainted with the fact that I absolutely adore rabbits (and has probably endured me showing them lots of photos of my pet bunnies, and me with my pet bunnies, and one of me being bitten because one of them really doesn’t enjoy the fact that I pick him up just to take photos with him)!  I have grown up with pet house rabbits pretty much all my life and whenever I see anything bunny-related I get really excited!  Today was no exception.  Before you get to the counter to order your delicious hot chocolate you WILL stop at the chocolate counter, there’s no question about it.  You’re drawn to it’s beautiful chocolatey glow like shepherds to the star of Bethlehem (had to get a Christmas-themed simile in there somewhere)!  Their unique range of truffles and couverture chocolate, which their website describes as “a very high quality chocolate that contains extra cocoa butter(32-39%). The higher percentage of cocoa butter, combined with proper tempering, gives the chocolate more sheen, firmer “snap” when broken, and a creamy mellow flavour”, are all hand-made by their resident chocolatier, and I can confirm that they are completely and utterly delicious and exactly as described.  If you have eyes bigger than your belly (like me) and the Ultimate hot chocolate is not enough chocolate for one day, thus leading to your decision to buy a chocolate or two to accompany your beverage, I would recommend eating the chocolate first to truly appreciate the velvety, smooth flavour and to build up your excitement for the liquid chocolate finale!

I am also a complete sucker for glitter.  And cake.  Put the two together and I can NOT walk away from it.  So this little beauty was also delivered (very efficiently might I add) to my table: the brandy sponge.

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This festive little sponge cake was an absolute delight.  After my over-dose of chocolate, in solid and liquid form, I have to say I was quite relieved that I hadn’t opted for one of their chocolate options when it came to the cake!  Its firm, light-flavoured sponge was the perfect accompaniment to such a rich and indulgent afternoon treat, and its beautifully flavoured brandy icing did all the talking for it.  This really was the icing on the cake (pun totally intended) to end the festive season and all its wonderful, warm flavours.  I’m already looking forward to my visit next Christmas when maybe I’ll take them up on their suggestion of creating your own hot chocolate using their varied selection of flavoured syrups, orange oil or malt extract!