I don’t really need an excuse to eat cake so to go to an event and be surrounded by it was a bit of a challenge. Tea and Cake Planet is part of Eat! Festival and took place over two days at the Boiler Shop on Sussex Street, five minutes walk from Central Station. Featuring lavish Pop-Up Tearooms, a large selection of Street Food, great live music and dance from local acts and interesting workshops on topics from tea blending to the science of baking, there was no shortage of things to do and see. Certainly this was the place to be last weekend if you like trying new things and flavour combinations. With two sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday, hundreds of locals and tourists got the chance to indulge in the national obsession.
After last year’s Cake City (Newcastle made out of cake), this year plans got more ambitious – 2014 saw the entire globe as fair game to be created out of sponge. As you can see below, adventurous bakers tackled the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Christ the Redeemer, the Arc de Triomphe and even the moon (which was somehow dangling above it all, to scale). It was a shame to see this work of art cut up and distributed but no one was complaining – everyone at the second session on Sunday enjoyed a piece of their favourite landmark.
Die hard afternoon tea fans had the choice of four lavish teas to choose from in beautifully decorated settings all under the same roof. Fenwick hosted the modestly named “The Finest Tea on the Planet” including such loveliness as Fennel Matzos Beef Wellington Finger Roulade, green tea macaroons and cucumber ice cream sandwiches. The Vermont Hotel’s Champagne tea saw a traditional selection of finger sandwiches, scones and a Perrier Jouet and cherry tart amongst other sugary delights, with lashings of Perriet Jouet Champagne to wash it down. One of my favourite restaurants, Six Baltic offered a Cocktail Afternoon tea with a choice of drinks from their tried and tested amazing cocktail menu and a traditional tea with a red velvet cake and elderflower and strawberry jelly, amongst other sweet treats.The tea-party pop-up experts the Tea Shed did a Pop-Up picnic menu with a Poppaball cocktail upon arrival (if you’ve had bubble tea it involved the same flavoured bubble balls), mini burgers made with local beef and Northumberland fishcakes, cheese and crackers and falafel as savoury options with flavoured scones (rum and raison and apple and cinnamon) with the option of blending your own tea to enjoy.
Pop up Tea Rooms – Fenwicks, The Tea Shed, The Vermont Hotel and Six Baltic
Street food available came from China, Italy, India and numerous other countries with the best pizza in town Pizzette, Lulu Cooks Chinese, North Street Feast, Marco Polo, Food Nation and Fat Friars selling their wares.
Marco Polo Street Food and lush cocktails
I’m slightly ashamed to say I left early as I stuffed my face and didn’t feel too well. This was a great preview event leading up to future Eat! festival events. This year the festival is split into three parts, the first event being the aforementioned Tea and Cake Planet, the second coming up very soon – Eat! Out, a summer festival from Friday 8th to Sunday 17th August, where you can enjoy the best local produce in outdoor surroundings, (weather permitting). Then Eat! In is set to brighten up your February next year with secret events and a vast selection of warming comfort food at indoor events.