Here in the Holiday Discount Centre office, we’re getting very excited about the final of the Great British Bake Off next week. Who will be crowned the worthy winner and will any bake manage to beat the wow-factor of Candice’s gingerbread pub? We’ll be eagerly anticipating the launch of the GBBO Champion’s cook book too, but in the meantime we’re considering satisfying our sweet teeth in one of these five show-stopping destinations:
Cake Week: London
The perfect way to commemorate cake week is by making like the aristocracy and taking afternoon tea in the capital. The tradition for afternoon tea came about in the early nineteenth century, when Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained about that sinking feeling during the late afternoon. The solution was a pot of tea and a light snack bought to her home in Woburn Abbey. The practice soon spread through her contemporaries and peers before reaching London, where it is still practiced today. With Halloween coming up, we’re looking forward to the Frightful Fancies afternoon tea at the Lancaster where the cakes include a white chocolate and pistachio opera cake and a pumpkin cupcake. Outside of the spooky season, we recommend going traditional at Fortnum & Mason for scones, sandwiches and a selection of cakes from the cake carriage.
Biscuit Week: Munich
With Christmas coming up, we’re looking forward to visiting Germany’s Christmas Markets and buying some traditional lebkuchen. These giant biscuits adorned with messages, make a welcome addition to your Christmas tree and they’re pretty tasty too; containing treacle, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar. Also keep an eye out for zimtsterne, which are more delicately spiced Christmas biscuits usually made in the shape of stars. Both go particularly well with a nice glass of Gluhwein. Munich’s Christmas Market runs from November 25th through to Christmas Eve.
Bread Week: Paris
We couldn’t talk about baking without mentioning France. The country is known for its gorgeous pâtisseries and boulangeries, where you can buy many delicious sweet treats and breads, like croissants and brioche. According to insiders, the best croissants in Paris can be found at Michel Lyczak at 68 rue Paul Vaillant Couturier in the suburb of Malakoff. Competitors take the art of croissant making very seriously, and croissants should be made from a specific AOC protected butter. Even right in the centre of Paris, visitors can find many fantastic bakeries. For delicious brioche, try Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger, while Boulangerie Murciano, a kosher Jewish bakery makes a delicious sweet bread called Le Rabelais from chestnut honey, saffron, Perigord nuts and turmeric.
Chocolate Week: Brussels
We know there hasn’t technically been a chocolate week on GBBO, but we thought it sounded far tastier than Tudor week. When it comes to chocolate, it’s not hard to guess which destination gets our vote. Belgium’s capital is filled with chocolate shops and by far the best way to visit the crème de la crème is on a chocolate tour. Your guide will take you around six specialist shops and you’ll try an array of chocolates from traditional truffles to the more out-there specialities. If you’d rather go it alone, Planete Chocolat runs daily chocolate demonstrations.
Dessert Week: Vienna
Austria’s most famous dessert is easily the Sacher-torte, a rich chocolate cake traditionally served with unsweetened cream. The cake was first made in 1832 at the Hotel Sacher, which still remains the best place in the world to eat the famed dessert. However, Austria has more than one famous dessert – Café Landtmann serves the traditional Viennese apfelstrudel, the local way with a mug of frothy Melange coffee. When visiting Schoenbrunn Palace you can watch a traditional apfelstrudel being made and taste it for yourself if you book onto the Strudelshow. Culture and cake, what more could you want?