On a delightfully bright summers day, Miss Windsor and her companions couldn’t wait to descend upon The Orchard Tea Garden for a jolly good munch on their pageantry of sweet treats!
So, riddled with excitement we bundled into our chariot and proceeded to The Orchard Tea Garden, Grantchester Village, Cambridge.
The Orchard began its life in 1868; and by a sheer stroke of serendipity it had morphed into a glorious outdoor tearoom by 1897. Of course, one must pay homage to the Cambridge students who asked Mrs Stevenson of Orchard House to serve their tea and cakes within the tranquillity of the fruit orchard. Since then this organic, yet harmonious form of ‘dining’ has been enjoyed by many for years thereafter.
Since it’s humble beginnings The Orchard Tea Garden has laid rather comfortably embosomed within the idyllic surroundings of the ‘postcard’ worthy village of Grantchester. A short trundle from Cambridge along the Grantchester Grind, and you’ll discover a most relaxing retreat, which is frequented by an impressive clientele – including those frightfully intelligent Cambridge students, tourists, the locals, and other luminaries such as Prince Charles, Rupert Brooke, Virginia Wolf, John Cleese, and Stephen Fry!
As our chariot approached the tea rooms, I enjoyed the features of the charming, yet quintessentially English scenery, awash with slate grey stone walls that had been fashioned from oddly shaped chunks of stone - albeit, they fit just perfectly, similar to a rather tricky 1000 piece ‘jigsaw puzzle’! Darlings, such a magnificent ‘erection’ – Oh, I say! stood with ease beside the quiet, yet busy thoroughfare, which was covered by a thick, tightly gripped cascade of deep emerald coloured Ivy.
When we arrived at the establishment, we all stood captivated by the tall, good-natured, flourishing trees that offered shelter to what the former owner – Mr Robin Callan called, “God’s little acre” – Oh, how quaint!
As quick as a flash, I found myself in the servery surrounded by an abundance of baked goodies – Angel Cake, Victoria Sandwich, Carrot Cake, gluten-free Chocolate Cake – to say the least!
Also, one quickly spied a mound of freshly baked, homemade, plain and fruit scones. However, according to the rather dashing Patrice – ‘gerant de restaurant’ (restaurant manager’) legend has it that The Orchard Tea Garden still follow Mrs Stevenson’s age-old recipe for scones – Well, what do ya know!
In readiness for our cream teas, including a not so naughty, but very nice slice of gluten-free Chocolate Cake! We set up camp beneath the sprawling branches of the apple trees, where I relished the opportunity to relax within “It’s peace and holy quiet,” as quoted by the illustrious Mr Robin Callan – although darlings, that didn’t last for long!
As I sank deep into the soft embrace of my bottle green deck chair, I felt an ever so slight tickle! It turned out that a cheeky fly had dive-bombed straight into my most appealing bosom – Oh, I say! Of course, Miss Windsor was aghast! and instantly moved her party to be ‘coddled’ within the safe confines of the indoor restaurant.
Now sat looking across the orchard, we merrily absorbed the ambience of by-gone days, which had been captured by the rather beauteous ‘bucolic’ setting.
Feeling a tad ravenous, the cream teas arrived. Warm, crumbly scones, festooned with fruit that yearned to be smothered by a generous helping of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream, followed by a resplendent, scarlet coloured splotch of Tiptree strawberry jam! Darlings, one bite and Miss Windsor immediately entered into a ‘hedonistic state’ of culinary heaven!
Having gobbled our way through a number of scones’, I took a few moments to digest the food and atmosphere, whilst enjoying the soothing properties of Red Rooibos Tea. Then soon after, I was ready for a huge slice of Chocolate Cake! A rich, velvety, moist cake, which oozed a creamy, yet light chocolate filling - I must say, although it was gluten-free, I highly recommend it!
I do hope you enjoyed my review about my cream tea experience at The Orchard Tea Garden.
I say, darlings, One shall certainly return soon to further explore the grounds and to sample the delightful ‘highlights’ of afternoon tea - Oh, how exciting!
But before we say our goodbyes, here’s a few wise-words from Patrice (the manager). Miss Windsor asked, “How would you describe the ambience?” he quipped, “Very English for a foreigner!” – and there you have it!
Until next time,
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MISS WINDSOR