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On our recent tour with Sir Simon Rattle, three brave members of the OAE set themselves a tough challenge. They would aim to have tea and cake in every city of the tour. Here’s how Tanya (harp), Jane (flute) and Rebecca (bassoon) got on…
Day 1 in Paris:
Amazing pain perdu in bert’s. No pic alas, it seems to be lost, like the pain…;)
Day 2 in Rotterdam:
Cup cake heaven right by the hotel. Upside down flamingos on the walls and flowery tree decorations. Incredible cupcakes that were beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Salted caramel and raspberry chocolate were particular hits.
Day 3 in Brussels:
Cool clean-lines organic café, with funky music and pot plants. Very small yapping dog sitting two tables down. Ananas cake like a baker’s pina colada, small squidgy muffins perfectly moist. Jane drinking Thé des Lords.
Day 4 in Cologne:
Today was too hot for tea and cake, so we strayed from the menu to iced coffee/hazelnut and a plate of that extraordinary German/pseudo-Italian creation, ice-cream spaghetti. With strawberry ‘tomato sauce’ and white chocolate ‘parmesan’. We actually found that the best use for it was to dollop it into the iced coffee…
Day 5 also in Cologne:
We had spotted an ironic twist in our search for foreign tea and cake in Cologne when we spied an ‘English tea and books shop’. This seemed promising, but alas no cakes so we moved on. We then sat for a long time outside a riverside café that had looked promising too, but the service was so bad we upped and left. At this point we did what we should have done all along – listened to the advice of Neil (OAE flautist), and go up to an Italian café near the cathedral. Here they were lovely, had the now pre-requisite funky chandeliers, and the most amazing homemade tiramisu. Yum. Thank you Neil!
Day 6 in Hamburg:
Our last stop turned out to be a fitting climax to the tour. Not only was the hotel super glamorous, but the quality of tea and cake here surpassed all others. We found a lake-side café with lovely views, and indulged in Lubecker Nusskuchen, Oma’s special Apple Cake and a strawberry cream cake, washed down with a variety of hot and cold tea and coffee from the splendidly-fullsome menu. Taking the experience one step further, for dinner we found the fabulous ‘Frauerncafé’ opposite stage door – a bastion of home-cooked food and tasteful setting decor. There was a twist here however… no boys allowed! A selection of poor male orchestral members were turned away – how times have changed! Let the girls eat cake!
Day 7 in London:
We had not intended to carry the challenge into London, as we knew full well we could get tea and cake here, but luckily for our now well-developed tastes the real food market behind the Festival Hall happened to be offering peppermint and cinnamon brownies. How could we say no?