The sad thing about friends moving away is that you don’t get to see their lovely face everyday. The good thing is you get to visit them and find new amazing tea rooms!
A dear friend from work moved to Suffolk at the end of last year and last weekend another friend and I finally got the chance to visit her. Knowing me as she does she found a beautiful little tea room for us to visit in the quaint medieval village of Lavenham.
My friend and I had hit the road early to find this rural retreat, winding our way through country lanes, the grey sky draping itself over naked trees, surrounded by muddy, fallow fields patiently awaiting spring. Amidst the grey February drizzle the new pad emerged and like a pocket of sunshine in the gloom there she was welcoming us with open arms.
On such a dreary afternoon it is a struggle for anywhere to look appealing, but Lavenham still managed to entice us. Narrow streets lined with wonky cottages lead us to the village square, frozen in time you can visualise the bustle of a medieval market horse and cart now replaced combustion engines and sat navs!
Tucked just off the main square is Lavenham Blue Tea Room. A stunning 15th Century listed building, it was once the village barber but now welcomes people for tea and cake. Amanda, the owner, welcomes you with a smile, a picture perfect tea lady with her pinnie round her waist, clutching a cosied tea pot. She was so accommodating, moving tables to fit in our party of 5 and making sure we were comfy throughout our visit.
Amazingly this tearoom is set in the downstairs of Amandas home. Lovingly converted it displays nicknacks from her life including four generations of family photographs. A grammar phone plays in the corner transporting you back to the 1940’s as you peruse the RAF memorabilia. Lavenhams RAF base was utilised by the USA during the second world war leaving it’s international influence across this traditional British village. The artefacts and photos take centre stage on the white washed walls, framed by exposed beams and surrounded by antique furniture.
The menu was a delight with locally sourced produce at its heart; the bread from the main square and scones from just two doors down, handy should they need a fresh batch. Breakfasts and brunches, soups and sarnies all homemade and hearty. I opted for the ploughman’s lunch, a platter to nibble on leaving room for cake of course!
None of us were disappointed as the food arrived, fresh and delicious. The portions were generous with the cheese cut in slabs and the bread served in hunks. Thankfully there is no rush in Lavenham and we were free to graze as we chewed the cud.
With time to rest before we embarked on cake I was ready for something sweet. The counter was laden with everything from traditional Victoria sponge to warming ginger cake and indulgent chocolate fudge. The toffee apple cake had caught my eye, topped with slices of fresh apple and doused in thick, gooey caramel dripping down it’s sides. To accompany it I ordered a pot of Assam, warming and malty it was the perfect brew.
The lace covered tables were set with doily adorned plates, vintage china tea sets and cake stands. Dainty sugar cubes ready to be tonged and a china bell on each table which can be chimed to summon a free teapot refill. Our cakes arrived with a side of ice cream to compliment the flavour of the slice, for me vanilla and caramel.
The cake was stunning, moist chunks of apple encased in light, gluten free sponge. The caramel on top was rich and smooth, the cold ice cream cleansing the pallet between each bite. The apple on top gave the slice freshness and crunch to contrast the soft, sweet apple within. All I needed was a sparkler and it’d be like bonfire night all over again!
With our bellies satisfied we kept the afternoon nap at bay with some fresh air and a wander around the local antique store. This little village is ripe for exploring but both time and weather were against us on this occasion so we headed home. The perfect excuse to head back when the sun is shining!
No matter the time of year Lavenham Blue Tea Rooms will bring sunshine to your day. The drives around the Suffolk countryside are stunning and the welcome you receive is whole hearted. So whether with new friends or catching up with old ones, order a refill and catch up over cake.
Lavenham Blue Vintage Tearoom, 6 Market Place, Lavenham CO10 9QZ
TEL: 01787 248295