A few weeks back I was invited to join Gerla at Cambridge Food Tours for a different view and tour of my home city, thanks to a Facebook competition that saw me win 2 tickets… It was all based around food pit stops around town and I didn’t need inviting twice!
We joined Gerla and our fellow food-loving companions for the tour at the
Fitzbillies bakery for coffee & a taster of their world famous Chelsea Buns before walking around the corner to the infamous (and hideous) clock that attracts so many tourists each year.
From there, we headed to “The Eagle” pub, of which is said to be haunted by children who perished in a fire. Interestingly, we went into the back of the building where we saw the scrawlings on the walls and ceilings from 2 air forces during WW2 by candle, lighter & lipstick.
I had no idea this was even here, having only ever enjoyed a tipple towards the front of this pub over the years, it was stupidly interesting and I most likely would have never known these scribblings were here otherwise.
From here we hopped over to the market to see the fresh fish stall and Gerla talked a little about the history and produce of the market and included a viewing of the bizarre and very modern statue on the edge of the market square, built in honour of a local legend, Snowy Farr. Snowy was an animal lover, raising £thousands for various animal charities over the years and each local man and woman remembers him visiting their school with his menagerie of animals over the years, myself included – very happy memories indeed!
We were also lucky enough to get a sneak preview of a new Italian coffee shop opening that very weekend, “Aromi”. We were allowed inside to have a taster of some of their homemade biscuits and take a quick look around before heading back out on the road again.
Gerla does try to incorporate her knowledge of new openings in every area of Cambridge, which makes each tour completely unique to the last.
We then made our way down Kings Parade to The Cambridge Fudge Shop, which was about to celebrate its 30th birthday, pretty exciting for them, now owning 7 shops on the High Street, including a stand at Selfridges and even one in a theme park!
We headed back up the Parade to Kings College, being told that some of the Cambridge colleges occasionally let you can dine a few times a year with the fellows.
Once sat down you can’t leave – if you get down to pop to the ladies or gents, you can’t come back in apparently! Gerla sometimes hosts supperclubs with St Johns, so do watch out for these throughout the year. In fact, this is the only college allowed to eat swan. They used to serve it at their May Ball, once called the “Swan Ball”, very interesting information, having never heard this before, just shameful as a local ; )
The Cambridge Cheese Company was our next stop, fuelling us with melt in the mouth scotch eggs with pork & pickle pie tasters whilst we browsed this Aladdin’s cave – I’m heading back here next time I need my picnic hamper filling up!
As we walked to Norfolk Street Deli (a superb Portuguese bakery with the most delicious homemade custard tarts I’ve ever tasted!), we were educated on the Cam Cattle and the whereabouts of this superb meat throughout the summer season. The green areas and commons in Cambridge are unusual, as you will see cattle grazing from April to October.
Mill Road Cemetery is just behind Norfolk Street and creates a peaceful meander to “The Sea Tree” fish and chip shop on Mill Road where we enjoyed some freshly cooked Cod Goujons, chunky chips & mushy peas. Gerla had recently been to a “Museum of Chips” in Bruges a few weeks prior to this and regaled us of stories and amusing titbits on the trusty chip, said to be introduced by a nun in Spain before become famous on the continent.
By this point we were starting to fill to the rafters, but there was plenty more to see including a visit to meet Matthew Barrister at Cambridge Wine Merchants who allowed us to sample spirits with cheese, apple and fruit cake and we had a lesson in matching spirits with food. It was a refreshing change from wine tasting and the whisky & port sent us on our way in a snoozy haze.
A great piece of local general knowledge was a quick stop outside the Sally Ann Charity Shop on Mill Road, which used to be a cinema years ago. The side wall used to be where people would queue for their tickets along the road and there are hundreds of little circular pockets indented into this wall. It’s said that people would get bored and bore holes into it with coins whilst twiddling thumbs in the queue…. I truly love this thought!
Nearing the end of our food tour, we stopped at “Bacchanalia” where we matched beer with South African meat and chocolate brownies, heaven!
We sampled Cambridge moonshine beer, a Black Chocolate Stout and a “Wild Beer” from Bristol. The guy that runs this shop is enthusiastic and was one of the highlights of the food tour for us personally, we will be back there shortly to stock up, he was just fantastic.
The tour finished at “Chocolat Chocolat” the most indulgent chocolate shop in Cambridge and the entire food tour lasted much longer than the 3.5 hours it said – 5 hours by time we left – fantastic value for money!
Book your food tour now, there are so many to choose from or you can arrange a tailored tour to suit your needs, either would be highly rated, this lady know her food! There is an afternoon tea at Sidney Sussex College in August and it’s going to be an exclusive look into one of our most beloved Cambridge locations, I will be going for sure!
You can view my full photo album for this tour by clicking here.