We may not be able to eat out right now, but that doesn’t stop us from being able to have some fantastic food courtesy of businesses offering takeaways.
In particular, there are a number of companies creating delicious afternoon teas throughout the north-east.
Last year, I discovered one that was only a short drive away from home called Crumbs Cakes and Homebakes.
Based in Premnay, the home-run business started up in 2019 and provides a wide range of homebakes including traybakes, giant loaded cookies and brownies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookie cups and many more.
My wife and I had tried their afternoon tea last summer and found it to be of great value. After seeing that they had opened up bookings for their Valentine’s Day afternoon tea, we decided to treat ourselves and placed an order via their Facebook page. A time and date was arranged for contactless pick-up, where the food is placed inside a secure container for you to collect.
Contained in the Valentine’s afternoon tea for two pack were a selection of sandwiches (four varieties, two of each kind), four sausage rolls, traybakes (three types, two of each) and two scones with strawberry jam and cream. There were also heart-shaped sweets and some strawberries, pretzels and marshmallows with a dipping sauce.
The sandwiches (along with the scones) were baked and prepared on the day of collection, ensuring they are as fresh as possible. They came with four fillings; savoury cheese, coronation chicken, egg mayonnaise and ham and tomato. Each one had a generous filling between fresh slices of white or brown bread. The savoury cheese was very creamy with a hint of red onion that stopped it from being a cheese overload.
A thin layer of butter encased the delicious ham and tomato sandwich. The ham was of good quality and the tomatoes had been sliced thinly.
Another creamy filling could be found with the egg mayonnaise sandwich. Not usually a fan of egg sandwiches, we found this to be quite pleasant as it wasn’t too ‘eggy’, just the right amount for us.
The pick of the bunch was the coronation chicken. Perfectly spiced with curry powder in a creamy mayonnaise sauce, it also contained raisins that added a slightly sweet taste.
One of the undoubted highlights of the afternoon tea pack for me was the sausage rolls. Advised to give them five minutes in the oven to heat them up, they had a flaky pastry on the outside. This is one of the few sausage rolls I’ve had where there is more meat than pastry, and it was superb.
Up next were the scones, large enough to share one between two people and they came with cream and strawberry jam. You could tell they had been baked fresh that day, so light and fluffy they were. The jam was smooth and zesty, while the cream had a sweetened taste. Ideal with a cup of tea.
Having taken a little break from our feast, we eventually moved on to the traybakes.
We started off with the passion fruit and white chocolate shortbread sandwich. The heart-shaped shortbread was decorated with a slight shimmer of edible gold glitter, gold sprinkles and white chocolate stripes. Sandwiched between was a thick, but light, layer of vanilla buttercream with a very zesty passion fruit curd. A real treat.
The jammy dodger fudge slice melted in the mouth, the white chocolate very soft while some raspberry gave it a fruity kick. The biscuit base added a subtle crunch, with a mini jammy dodger being the ‘cherry on top’ of this traybake.
One of the best traybakes of the afternoon tea we’d had previously was the chocolate brownie. Baked to perfection, it had that slightly stodgy texture every good brownie should have. This time around, for Valentine’s, it was topped off with a chocolate buttercream, red sprinkles and two chocolate hearts. A nice touch for Valentine’s Day that worked well with the brownie itself.
One thing we noted about all of the traybakes was that they didn’t make you feel sickly with sugar, which is just as well when there is two of each in the pack.
The day before collecting the order I was asked if I wanted chocolate-covered strawberries, or a chocolate dipping sauce with strawberries, pretzels and marshmallows. Having opted for the later, I was advised to give the sauce 15 seconds in the microwave to heat it up. You can dip without heating it as the sauce is runny anyway. This was a nice treat to round things off, the strawberries in particular tasted great with the milk chocolate.
Crumbs Cakes and Homebakes provide great value for money. You can tell they take great pride in what they do such is the quality of food provided. Reading the feedback on their Facebook page it’s clear we’re not the only ones who think this.
Once we have some sort of normality in the future, we won’t hesitate in ordering more afternoon teas from them to share with family and friends.
Traybakes, savoury treats and sweets – what’s not to love?
Price: £28 (£14 per person).