Bonbon Chocolate Boutique

Delicious treats from the Northern Quarter

 

With Easter fast approaching, we’ve been checking out Bonbon Chocolate Boutique in the Northern Quarter and chatting to chocolatier Sharon about some of her favourite flavours.

Regular foodie blogger Elaine and photographer Jenny were our lucky chocolate tasting duo! But we haven’t kept all the good stuff to ourselves – read on and you too could be getting chocolatey with our top Bonbon competition!

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I say forget diamonds, chocolate is a girl’s best friend (well for this girl it is anyway!).

Especially chocolate that is made with love and has exciting flavour combinations.

I like chocolates you can savour and really enjoy, so when Sharon from Bonbon Chocolate Boutique came to tell us about what she does AND brought some to try I was very happy indeed.

Sharon has been making her own chocolates for just over a year and started by selling at local markets before Bonbon opened its doors.

 

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique.

Hot chocolate

 

The boutique and cafe is tucked away on a corner of John Street and has just four tables inside to sit and enjoy their famous hot chocolate – some say the best in Manchester – or some of those renowned cakes from sister company Teacup Kitchen.

 

Handmade chocolates

 

Sharon prides herself on making all the chocolates and truffles by hand. She makes 100’s per day using fresh ingredients and no preservatives so they are actually better for you (good news) and many varieties are vegan or dairy free too, including the hot chocolate.

 

Sharon

 

Known for their flavour combinations, the chocolates are crafted so that you can taste all the different elements throughout.

We asked Sharon which was the most unusual flavour and without hesitation she told us it must be the Stilton & Caramel! However it’s one of the most popular flavours and so she makes them every week.

 

Salted Caramels

 

Our selection was less controversial but very enjoyable all the same.

 

 

Pistachio & Vanilla

 

A light vanilla cream centre that you actually taste first before the rich dark chocolate coating and then a subtle nutty flavour from the pistachio on the outside.

 

Coconut & Lemongrass

 

Toasted coconut pieces on a Valrhona milk chocolate shell. Inside is a fresh tasting lemongrass ganache – full flavoured but not overpowering. I would liken it to the ultimate Bounty, all that is missing is your own dessert island to enjoy it on.

 

 

Chocolates by Bonbon

 

 

Rose & Cardamom (v)

 

Dark chocolate with a gloriously perfumed centre. The filling has warmth from the cardamom and then the rose flavour really comes through to finish. It genuinely makes your mouth water and I think this is my favourite of the four.

 

Salted Caramel

 

A combination that is always a winner in my house. This unassuming looking cocoa dusted dark chocolate is generously filled with liquid salted caramel gold. You could very easily eat another so you get the enjoyment of the shell cracking and the caramel pouring out.

 

Chocolate and wine matching

 

If this has tempted you to pay a visit, Bonbon is open from Wednesday to Sunday (Monday and Tuesday are spent making more chocolates for us all).

There is also an upcoming event with Hanging Ditch where six of Sharon’s creations are being wine matched. Bon’ditch as the evening is called takes place on the 16th April (see Hanging Ditch website for details).

 

 

Competition time

Win

 

We’ve got a Bonbon Golden Ticket gift voucher (redeemable to the value of £10) and a box of luxury handmade chocolates to give away.

 

Bonbon vouchers.

All you need to do is leave a comment in the box below telling us all about your favourite chocolate story.

Me – It would have to be a trip to a chocolate factory in Switzerland where the air was so thick with the smell of chocolate you could almost eat thin air!

 

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique, 9 John Street, Manchester, M4 1EQ

Website: bonbonchocolate.co.uk

Tel: 0161 839 4416

Email: hello@bonbonchocolate.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/BonBonChocolateWorkshopt

Twitter: @Bonbon_NQ

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy, Bonbon

 

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Teacup Kitchen – Northern Quarter

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – Afflecks Palace

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Monday 21st April 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Monday 21st April 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February 2014). Winner Laura Vitty.

Ethical African Bags – win a BagsandMore demi lune bag and scarf (3rd March 2014). Winners Sandy Hendry and Jenny Miller.

Manchester Fashion Bee – win an Essential Burt’s Bees Kit (11th March 2014). Winner Angela Norton-Kelly.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – win a Mum’s Mumisms typography print (19th March 2014). Winner Natalie Gillham.

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Bonnie King.

 

 

Review – Teacup Kitchen

Taking afternoon tea to another level in the Northern Quarter

 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you”

                                                                William Gladstone

.

We’d heard great things about the afternoon tea at Teacup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter, so asked our regular foodie reviewer Elaine, and photographer Jenny to check it out for us.

.

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

It would seem there is never a bad time for tea, or a reason not to make time for tea.

As I write this at noon on a weekday afternoon a quick look at the UK Tea Guild website shows an estimated 84,997,936 cups of tea have already been consumed in the UK today.

I am responsible for just three of those.

 

In my opinion the only way you can improve on a cup of your favourite brew is with the addition of a cake or two.

Afternoon tea has seen something of a revolution in Manchester in recent years; no longer is it just the preserve of the high end hotel tea room or something to be saved for special occasions.

If like me though you still want some of the ceremony but without the stuffiness then I think we have found just the place for you…..

 

Afternoon tea at Teacup

 

Teacup Kitchen is tucked away on Thomas Street in Manchester’s Northern quarter. I have visited on a few occasions in the past – they do a mean fish finger wrap! I particularly like that they only take bookings for eight or more which means you really can feel free to just turn up.

 

Teacup Northern Quarter

 

All the cakes you can spy on the counter as you walk in are made in their own Teacup Kitchen and delivered every morning. You will always find their well known and well loved specialities waiting for you – the Rainbow Cake and the Flourless Chocolate Cake are not to be missed. Two girls travelling around the UK from Japan recently visited and ordered the rainbow cake, they told staff they had read about it online and made a point of adding it to their ‘to do list’.

Since expanding the bakery operation off site they also take external orders and have become very popular for wedding cakes.

 

Victoria Sandwich

 

This was the first time I had been for a full afternoon tea, but I will definitely be going back. I loved the cute individual stand it arrives on – no need to argue over who had a scone already or count how many sandwiches you’ve all had.

I also like that you don’t just get sandwiches as the savoury offering.

.
So what makes up a Teacup Afternoon Tea?

.
.

Egg mayonnaise and cheese & pickle finger sandwiches

 

The egg mayonnaise was far from bland – it was really herby, and the cheese & pickle had a caramelised onion style pickle which was sweet as well as having that lovely vinegar like tang. The bread was soft and they were obviously freshly cut – no one wants a curly corner do they!

 

Sandwiches

 

 

Savoury bites

 

My favourite items were the mini beef pie, which had crisp pastry with a well seasoned filling that reminded me of the potted beef my mum used to put on sandwiches when I was younger (yummy). There was a salmon slice a little like a wellington which had a subtle clean flavour and moist fish. And finally a mini quiche with fluffy egg and cheese filling.

I like that these form part of the ‘standard’ afternoon tea as so many other places would only have them as an upgrade selection.

 

Afternoon tea, Teacup NQ

 

Quiche at Teacup NQ

 

Cakes

 

On to the next tiers – squishy and rich chocolate brownies, mini Battenburg wrapped in wafer thin marzipan, vanilla fudge that melted in the mouth, a zingy lemon tart with fresh berries and a heart shaped scone filled with just the right amount of strawberry jam and clotted cream.

All were indulgent and constituted just the right amount of naughtiness for an afternoon.

 

Afternoon tea at Teacup NQ

 

Battenburg at Teacup NQ

 

Teas

 

You can choose any tea from the extensive list to accompany your afternoon tea. There are ‘traditional’ teas like Assam and Earl Grey, fruit teas, green teas, floral teas and even a separate Tea Explorers List if you are feeling adventurous.

I had the Jasmine Pearls Green Tea served in a mini glass tea pot with an insulated tea glass to drink from.

 

Afternoon tea at Teacup NQ

 

The staff in Teacup know their tea and it arrives with its own egg timer. They instruct you which colour sand to watch depending on your choice of tea and how to strain it into your second pot to prevent it over-brewing, ensuring you taste your tea at its best.

 

 

 

Teacup Kitchen vouchers

 

If you still haven’t planned what to do for Mothers day or you and your friends are looking to treat yourselves Teacup’s afternoon tea is £16.00 per person or £40.00 for two including ‘bubbles’.

There are also gift vouchers available to slip in to Mum’s card this weekend.

 

 

 

Teacup Kitchen, 55 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1NA

Website: teacupandcakes.com

Tel: 0161 832 3233

Email: eat@teacupandcakes.com

Facebook: facebook.com/TeacupOnThomasStreet

Twitter: @teacupandcakes

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – Afflecks Palace

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big T-Break

Supporting the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

 

The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Chratity is 4Manchester Women’s chosen charity.
RMCH Logo

 

We support them through our events and by helping them publicise fundraising initiatives.

They do amazing work and we are so lucky in Manchester to have such a wonderful facility.

One of their flagship initiatives is The Big T-Break!

 

 

A message from Natalie

 

Here’s a message from Natalie, mum to 10 year old Jay who is a patient at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“By hosting your own Big T-Break between Friday 31st March and Sunday 6th April 2014, you can help to make a difference to children like my ten-year-old son who is a patient at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“In 2011, Jay was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a type of cancer that originates from white blood cells and had to undergo scans and chemotherapy to help to fight the disease.

“We were delighted in the October we were given the news that Jay was in remission.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of his battle as a year after Jay went into remission, he developed Septic Arthritis – an inflammation of the joint caused by a bacterial infection – in his arm, elbow and ankle which required surgery to remove the sepsis. After the operations Jay needed to learn to walk again and underwent a heavy physio programme.

“As regular visitors to the hospital, our family have experienced first-hand the huge difference that this charity can make to a child’s experience of hospital.

“Thanks to charitable support the hydrotherapy area had been enhanced with holiday and beach themed artwork and installations, helping to make Jay’s time there much more enjoyable. Jay loved being able to interact with and look at the wall art, it helped him to feel calm and sometimes he would even forget how hard he was working during his physio as there was so much for him to look at.

“That is why we are supporting the Big T-Break, as we’ve seen for ourselves how money raised by this wonderful charity helps to make a difference when it matters most.”

 

Big T-Break

 

Get involved

 

I hope that you will be able to get involved in some way. All you need to do is get together with your friends, family or work colleagues one day during our Big T-Break week and simply have a cup of tea, in exchange for a small donation, knowing you are helping the charity to make a world of difference to children like Jay and parents like Natalie.

Sign up today via the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity website and they’ll get your supporter pack in the post to you, plus thanks to our event sponsor, English Tea Shop, you’ll also be sent a sample pack of their delicious tea.

To guarantee that you receive your Big T-Break pack by Monday 31st March 2014 please ensure your registration form reaches the Charity Team by Friday 21st March 2014.

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: RMCH

 

 

 

 

Review- Proper Tea

A new tea experience comes to Manchester Cathedral 

 

Proper Tea launched this week at Manchester Cathedral’s visitor Centre. Set up by Yvette Fielding and local business man, Gary McClarnan, Proper Tea brings a real tea experience to the city centre. Read all about how the TV personality got into tea and what we thought of our first ‘proper’ cup of tea.

 

Over to you Victoria ……                  

Victoria

 

We were lucky enough to be invited to a preview afternoon of tea and cake tasting with Yvette Fielding at her new business venture based opposite Manchester’s newly refurbished Cathedral.

Proper Tea was created by TV personality, Yvette Fielding and her friend, Manchester business man Gary McClarnan, who already has a number of successful businesses including Teacup and Bonbon Chocolate boutique in the Northern Quarter.

 

Yvette’s probably best known for her work on Blue Peter as the show’s youngest presenter, and more recently, supernatural show Most Haunted.

 

Yvette and Gary McClarnan

 

Proper Tea in Manchester is just the beginning of the business as the brand is expected to launch nationally in 2014 under the parent organisation of The Proper Tea Company.

Stockport-born Yvette has returned to Manchester for her first retail venture after falling in love with the art of tea making and her quest to find the ultimate tea-drinking experience.

As a tea novice (somebody who usually drinks nothing but sugary builders tea with lashings of milk), I can confirm that her mission is proving to be successful, because after just two hours of 1-2-1 expert-teas we gained a whole new view of loose-leaf tea and learned gallons! We can personally recommend the peppermint and vanilla cacao teas which were tailored to our own preferences.

 

What we thought we knew – but didn’t really know about tea!

 

We had no idea there was such a difference in the variety of leaves and flavours, and quite simply the sheer amount of teas out there. We were spoilt for choice when we were presented with a menu containing nigh on 30 different teas!

 

tea edited

 

And we certainly didn’t know that each type of tea needs a different amount of time to brew (hence the digital timer which arrives at the same time as your tea)!

 

But why tea Yvette?

 

Talking about how she got into the tea industry, Yvette said: “It’s just always been a dream of mine, from that little girl growing up pretending with the tea cups and saucers and then just going round tea rooms around the country.

“In America I was trying to find the equivalent and it was really hard. I found one place in L.A and the queues were going down the street.”

 

Meet a Tea Sommelier!

 

Kalpa Gosrani, the shop’s Tea sommelier had some really interesting stories to tell about her tea adventures across China and Taiwan, while she expertly picked teas tailored to our individual tastes and served them, each with an explanation – the process it had been through and how that impacts the flavours within.

 

Proper Tea teapots

 

Kalpa explained how, just like with cooking and creating cocktails – tea making is also an art form which grows with practice and different cultural experiences.

 

 

Tea theatre

 

Kalpa also wowed us with a pot of performing flower tea which was a floral flavoured tea served in a clear glass tea pot containing a unopened flower of hand sewn green and white tea leaves. As the tea brewed, the flower blossomed – proving that there’s a real theatre to making tea.

 

Proper Tea performing flower

 

What makes the Proper Tea room unique is the whole experience. You’ll go home with a completely new view of tea and never look at a tea bag in the same way again – even if you are a standard English Breakfast tea drinker.

You can still have your favourite ‘normal’ tea, but it will be made of loose-tea leaves and served in the most professional but modest way in a friendly environment.

Kalpa added: “If you want it to be part of your daily routine, you want it to be accessible – you don’t want it to be up there on a pedestal.”

 

 

An environment to percolate!

 

Stepping through the door and walking across the black and white checked floor with its wrap around windows was almost like stepping into the clear tea pot itself, which sat on the table before us. At Proper Tea you are encased in a protective airy tea bubble, where you can shut off the outside world, while still enjoying the exquisite view of the Cathedral backdrop.

 

Proper Tea at Manchester Cathedral

 

In addition to selling tea, Proper Tea also has a comprehensive food menu serving home baked cakes and scones, soups, stews, pies, salads and sandwiches.

Yvette intends to maintain a hands-on role in her new business, in between juggling her other commitments which include managing her own record label and more filming.

Fans of Most Haunted can expect to see the programme return to their screens very soon where guests will include the England Rugby team and Bullet For My Valentine.

Yvette said: “I love history and being in this building is amazing.”

 

Proper Tea Manchester Cathedral

 

With Yvette Fielding at Proper Tea

 

 

 

We thoroughly loved it and without doubt will be back very soon!

 

Proper Tea, 10 Cateaton Street, Manchester

Phone: 0161 832 3220

Twitter: @propertearooms

Facebook: facebook.com/ProperTeaatManchesterCathedral

You can read the Proper Tea Full Tea Menu here.

 

Victoria x

 

Photographs: Proper Tea, Alison Staples

 

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – Afflecks Palace

The Angel’s winter menu – Northern Quarter

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Ginger’s at Afflecks

Review of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium’s latest ice-cream venture

 

Surely it’s the best email to receive – “Can you go over to Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter and review a new ice-cream café”. Strangely both reviewer Elaine and photographer Jenny were free that day!

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium

 

Many of us will be familiar with Ginger’s little pink ice-cream van and their infamous Chorlton Crack (award winning salted caramel and peanut butter ice-cream), but did you know that they’ve found a more permanent home?

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

Last week I went out and had a sandwich for lunch, an ice cream sandwich to be exact and if you’re tempted I have just the place for you…

Gingers Comfort Emporium have found a permanent home inside Afflecks Palace!

Originally planning a winter pop up they have jumped at the chance to take over the recently vacated café on the first floor.

 

It has had quite a transformation from the pink colour scheme they inherited and now boasts high backed red sofas and their name in lights above the custom made wooden bar.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium at Afflecks

 

We were met by award winning owner Claire (Gingers boasts the British Street Food Award for best dessert for 2011,2012 and 2013) who looked after us for our visit.

She told us how they now have had to master not only milkshakes but the barista coffee machine too for their new menu.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium at Afflecks

 

Never fear though, if you have ever visited the little pink van at events around the city the familiar flavours are all here, but the café allows a bit of expansion. You can now try Coke Floats, Brioche Sandwiches, French Toast, Affogato’s and on the day we went along apple crumble could be seen (and smelled) in the little oven on the counter.

 

Ice cream milk shake

 

To begin Claire made us a Margarita Shake, using their Tequila & Cointreau ice cream. The milkshake is then topped with lime granita and chocolate dipped cherries. The alcohol flavour is subtle but you can tell it is there, and even though I am not a tequila fan I really enjoyed it.

The granita is lovely and sharp and kind of makes this a grown up shake.

 

Ice cream milk shake

 

Next was the sandwich, a warm toasted brioche roll with an ice cream flavour of your choice inside.

As we were having trouble deciding Claire kindly did two flavours for us, so we had the famous Chorlton Crack (Salted caramel and peanut butter) and in the other half we went for the unusual sounding Orange & Liquorice.

 

Ice cream brioche

 

If you’ve never had the Chorlton Crack before it is a must try, especially if you’re a peanut butter fan. The salted caramel and peanut butter make this incredibly moreish almost savoury tasting combination with the same thick ‘roof of your mouth sticking’ texture of peanut butter.

We also loved the Orange & Liquorice deciding it was like posh marmalade or an orange version of the chocolate lime sweets from when we were little.

They are both sweet and indulgent and Jen proclaimed the ice cream sandwich a taste sensation and decided she was stopping at the supermarket on the way home to buy brioche and make them for tea!

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium Menu

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium Menu

 

 

We both left happily after purchasing some take home tubs (all the flavours are available and pots range from £6.50 – £8.00). I took some Toast and Marmalade to share at work and it went down a storm, it had crunchy bits of brown toast and sweet and zesty orange marmalade, I think the pot lasted about 20 minutes .

 

 

Buy the book!

 

The cook book is also available in the café and on line – it’s been on my wish list since the summer when I first visited the van and I think I will have to drop a few more hints in the run up to Christmas.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium

 

If like us you too “scream for ice cream” then you know where to go for something a little out of the ordinary, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium

 

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, First Floor, Afflecks Palace, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW

Website: gingerscomfortemporium.com

Tel: 07980 628 868

Email: hello@gingerscomfortemporium.com

Facebook: facebook.com/GingersComfortEmporium

Twitter: @GingersComfort

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Caffeine & Co

The little café in Longford Park, Chorlton

 

I love it when established names try something a bit different. Longford Park is one of my favourite parks in Manchester – it’s got chickens – what can I say!

We sent our regular foodie blogger Elaine and photographer Jenny down to Chorlton to give this new (ish) venture the once over.

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

It was a lovely sunny autumn day in Longford Park (quite a relief after the weekend downpours) so my stroll through to Caffeine & Co was colourful and very pleasant.

I also think the park must have the one of the highest squirrel to people ratios in the country.

They seem quite tame though and happy to run about while you walk by.

 

Outside & inside

 

The cafe is situated near the centre of the park next to the play area and has ample picnic benches outside and cute little extendable tables inside like the one my Nan had in her kitchen.

 

Caffine & Co Longford Park

 

Caffine & Co Longford Park

 

Teapots

 

The interior is bright and homely with a large counter displaying the homemade cakes and sandwiches and with an open kitchen at the heart of the cafe behind.

 

Sandwiches

 

As Jenny and I were looking at the sandwiches on offer the nice young man behind the counter suggested we try two of the new fillings; chicken in saffron mayonnaise for Jenny and ham hock with homemade chutney for me.

 

chicken in saffron mayonnaise sandwich

 

ham hock with homemade chutney sandwich

 

All the breads used by Caffeine & Co are from a local baking co-operative and the ciabatta our lunch was served on was lovely and crisp outside but fresh and soft inside.

The ham hock had been cooked on the bone the night before and was lightly salted; the chutney was sweet and slightly acidic and gave the filling an interesting little kick. The chicken and saffron mayonnaise was sweet but we thought it could handle a little more saffron as it was quite subtle.

 

Drinks

 

To wash down our sandwiches I had a pot of Lancashire breakfast tea, it was nice to get a pot of loose leaf tea and big enough for at least three cups too! Jenny had a glass of homemade raspberry lemonade, made with raspberries from their allotment.

 

Bags of tea

 

Cake

 

Keeping with the homemade theme we moved on to cake.

First up a firm favourite of mine Lemon Drizzle, soft moist sponge topped with a crunchy, zesty, zingy sugar crust.

 

Lemon Drizzle Cake

 

Our favourite however was the Chocolate Orange and Almond cake. Jenny hit the nail on the head calling it a “giant Jaffa Cake” it was topped with rich dark chocolate but the almond sponge was lovely and light.

 

Chocolate Orange & Almond Cake

 

It was good to see such a focus on local and homemade, and the café is clearly very popular – we saw families with children coming in throughout our visit.

If you live locally it would be part of a great family day out to the park, for those of us a little further afield there is also a Caffeine & Co in St James’ Square and a larger version due to open in Spinningfields aswell.

 

4MCRWomen's Caffine and Co Longford Park album on Photobucket

 

 

Caffeine & Co: Longford Park Bungalow, Longford Park, Manchester, M32 8DA

Tel: 07787 118578

Email: welovecaffeine@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/CaffeineandCoLongfordPark

Twitter: @caffineiandco

 

 Elaine & Jenny x

 

Photographs: McAvoy Photography

 

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester Food & Drink Festival

We look at the nominees for this year’s awards

 

MFDF

 

It’s the Manchester Food & Drink Festival at the end of the month (26th September – 7th October 2013).

We asked our restaurant blogger Elaine to have a look at the nominees for the Food & Drink Awards, tell us who she’d vote for and see if there’s anyone she felt had been missed off the list.

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I see from my telly box that another vote hungry reality show has started again. Myself I prefer to put my voting energies into something a little more worthwhile (and not requiring the use of a premium rate phone call)

So the recent announcement of the shortlist for the Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards has naturally been cause for discussion and debate amongst my friends and work colleagues.

We all hold our favourite haunts dear and even if we have yet to experience some of the establishments that have made it we have an opinion on what we think they might be like.

 

Room Restaurant

 

There can be no doubting the popularity of the festival itself, last years was a record breaker. It is estimated that it brought in a cool £2.8 million spending boost to this fair city of ours through the festival village itself and in the transport and hotel rooms of foodies from near and far.

Last year all 70 businesses shortlisted for an award reported an increase in customers and revenue once the voting was opened (so really everyone is a winner in their own right).

 

Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards

 

I know some who are sceptical about how the shortlist comes about but although businesses can self nominate there is still a panel of judges who decide the final lists and it is their mystery visit scores as well as our own votes that decide the overall winners.

So who would get your vote? I have given mine some thought, and although I have not been to all the choices available I have still chosen who I prefer for each category – some based on where I would most like to go.

 

Restaurant of the year

 

Nominations

  • 63 Degrees, City Centre
  • Yuzu, City Centre
  • Michael Caines Restaurant, Abode Hotel, City Centre
  • Cicchetti, City Centre
  • Damson, MediaCityUK, Salford
  • The French at The Midland, City Centre

I’m going for 63 Degrees for this one. The menu had appealed greatly to me and I finally went for dinner before Christmas with the ladies from Manchester WI. The food was more than lovely and I have to admire a restaurant that can manage a large table without delays, mistakes or glares from neglected other diners.

 

Newcomer of the year

 

Nominations

  • Luck Lust Liquor & Burn, City Centre
  • Solita, City Centre
  • The Albert Chop House, City Centre
  • Damson, MediaCityUK, Salford
  • Artisan, City Centre
  • The French at The Midland, City Centre

 

Fish dish

 

I have been to a couple of the places in this category and I am giving my vote to Albert Square Chop House. I am a fan of its older brothers Sam and Thomas and enjoyed it’s more refined version of classical British fayre.

 

Pub of the year

 

Nominations

  • Marble Arch, City Centre
  • Station Buffet Bar, Stalybridge
  • The Magnet, Stockport
  • The Eagle Inn, Salford
  • The Baum, Rochdale
  • The Oasthouse, Spinningfields, City Centre

 

The Oast House Manchester

 

I am a fan of The Oast House it has to be said. Post work pints in the afternoon (it’s just around the corner) and plenty of seats indoors and out.

I like the beer options and the fact that we can take my nephew (he’s four) without worrying we will disturb other patrons. It has a good family feel and a wide range of customers.

 

Food pub of the year

 

Nominations

  • Hearth of the Ram, Ramsbottom
  • The Wharf, City Centre
  • The Parlour, Chorlton
  • The Red Lion, High Lane, Stockport
  • Mark Addy, Salford
  • The Albert Chop House, City Centre

I know who I would like to see on this shortlist but more on that later. Out of the list I would go for Albert Chop House again.

 

Bar of the year

 

Nominations

  • Revolucion de Cuba, City Centre
  • Liquorice, City Centre
  • Australasia, City Centre
  • Kosmonaut, City Centre
  • Gorilla, City Centre
  • Jackalope, Chorlton

 

Liquorice Bar Manchester

 

This is an easy choice for me, it has to be Liquorice. A firm favourite of mine and the other half. Great cocktails, great music and staff who make a genuine effort to get to know their customers.

 

Chef of the year

 

Nominations

  • Eric Moreau, 63 Degrees, City Centre
  • Robert Cox, Michael Caines Restaurant, ABode Hotel, City Centre
  • Mike Jennings, Grenache, Walkden, Worsley
  • Sam Everett, Harvey Nichols, City Centre
  • Mary-Ellen McTague, Aumbry, Prestwich
  • Adam Reid, The French, City Centre

I think for the repeated success that Grenache has had I would go for Mike Jennings.

I lived in Walkden until twelve months ago and this restaurant is one of a kind for the area, close enough to Worsley but by no means an easy commute from the city centre, plenty of customers must be making the effort to visit and that deserves recognition.

 

Cheap Eats of the year

 

Nominations

  • Home Sweet Home, City Centre
  • San Juan, Chorlton
  • Trove, Levenshulme
  • Lilys, Ashton
  • Luck Lust Liquor & Burn, City Centre
  • Salvi’s, City Centre

Another easy choice in Salvi’s, a visit for 4Manchester Women that produced a big thumbs up for being all round, fresh, delicious and affordable whilst still feeling a little bit special.

 

Mozarella sharing plate

 

Coffee Bar / Tea Shop of the year

 

Nominations

  • Coffee Fix, Gatley
  • Caffeine and Co, City Centre
  • Richmond Tea Rooms, City Centre
  • Macaroon, Rochdale
  • Home Sweet Home, City Centre
  • Takk, City Centre

I’m going Home Sweet Home, the cakes are a sight to behold and they do a mean Eggs Benedict (a personal favourite).

 

Family Friendly venue and Food & Drink Retailer

 

There are two further categories which ask for your own nominations, Family Friendly Venue and Food & Drink Retailer.

I would have to nominate Hanging Ditch for retailer; it is a shop I have used numerous times in the last few years. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and the wines available cover most budgets. It’s a must visit if you haven’t called in yet.

 

wine bin ends

 

 

The ones that missed out

 

So who do I think is missing?

Personally I would like to see The Angel in the mix for Food Pub. It started with a visit for 4Manchester Women but we are now regulars and the food is fantastic.

I think a chef that deserves a nomination is Ernst van Zyl who transformed the food at Etrop Grange and would get my vote for the bespoke menu he created for my husband’s birthday dinner alone.

 

The Angel Pub restaurant Manchester

 

Supper Clubs

 

I think next year it would be nice to see an extra category for supper clubs. This is a growing and popular scene in Manchester producing some brilliant menu’s each month. Maybe a little difficult to shortlist but a great addition to the voter nomination section.

So that’s my opinion on were my votes are heading, how about you? Voting is open now until 1st October on the Food & Drink festival website, make sure you go on and have your say.

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: MFDF, Jenny McAvoy, Albert Square Chop House, The Oast House, The Angel

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Our restaurant reviews:

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dish Ran Away With The Spoon

New pop up café in Didsbury Park

 

And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon

 

I love a good pop up!

The And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon team can usually be found hanging out in their forever home on Burton Road in West Didsbury.

But like a well whipped Victoria Sponge – it’s hard to stop them expanding.

 

Not only have owners Anna and James Gill just expanded their family – they’ve now (as of yesterday until the end of September) spilled over into this super simple, bright, family friendly and newly refurbished Didsbury Park Pavilion, which will open Thursday to Sunday every week.

 

And the dish ran away with the spoon cafe didsbury park

 

This new venture is in partnership with local charity Didsbury Good Neighbours, with a share of all profits going back into the local community to help some of its most vulnerable residents. As if you needed any more reasons to eat cake!

Famous for home made food in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere – Mrs Dish and Mr Spoon have been eyeing up the park pavillion for a while! But when the opportunity finally revealed itself, they had just three weeks to get the place ready and all their cakes in a row!

 

And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon in Didsbury Park

 

And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon in Didsbury Park

 

They might not have had long, but there’s nothing like an unachievable deadline to make you get your arse in gear! What they’d achieved by launch day yesterday was a beautifully calm and bright environment with a counter full of their signature layer cakes, traybakes and brownies.

 

And the dish ran away with the spoon cafe didsbury park

 

Cakes

 

Savoury

 

In addition to this, the cafe will be serving family food including savoury tarts, salads, platters and seasonal soup, as well as a range of milkshakes, iced coffees and organic drinks.

With my family friendly hat on, the immediate area at the front of the pavillion is fenced – so every mother with a toddler for whom the world is there to be explored can proclaim that they’ve discovered Nirvana! There are also be healthy snacks for kids, baby change facilities and picnic blankets, as well as a range of fun and creative community events for all ages.

 

And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon in Didsbury Park

 

And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon in Didsbury Park

 

And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon in Didsbury Park

 

What could be nicer – a leafy park in summer, a picnic blanket and the ultimate chocolate brownie. The only thing that’s missing is Michael Boublé singing softly in my ear. I’m going to have a word – perhaps Mr & Mrs Dish-Spoon can arrange that too!

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Alison Staples, And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.

This is not a sponsored blog post – but I did accept some free cake because it would have been rude not to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer in Spinningfields

Whats on – things are popping up all over!

 

If you’ve not been down to Spinningfields lately – you’re in for a big surprise!

The home of all things ‘pop-up’ has been busy. We were invited to the launch of the Aperol Spritz marquee and so sent regular blogger Charlie along with her camera to catch the summer spirit of Spinningfields.

 

Spinningfields

 

Long Bar

 

With it’s modern metal exoskeleton and soundtrack of Balearic and soulful grooves – this bar is a partnership with Living Ventures (Oast House, Australasia and Alchemist). Click here for more information.

 

The Long Bar

 

The Long Bar

 

IN Bloom

 

This is quite literally a living bar! With it’s nice covering of ivy it’s a fusion of nature and urban jungle. IN Bloom is run by Fluid Bars and boasts herbs grown on site for the cocktails and locally sourced ales!

You’ll see from the photos that Charlie is busy yarnbombing IN Bloom – covering it with small knitted flowers!

Click here for more information on IN Bloom.

 

IN Bloom

 

Yarn Bombed flower

 

 

Aperol Spritz

 

For a very short period  (24th June – 7th July) there’s also a massive Wimbledon themed Aperol Spritz marquee.

Aperol Spritz – all the rage on the continent – 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 part Soda and lots of ice! Just the ticket!

 

Spinningfields

 

Spinningfields

 

Spinningfields

 

 

Screenfields

 

The big screen is back in action – but this time with a difference. At the beginning of the week Spinningfields announces two films – you vote for your favourite via Facebook and Twitter, then come Thursday the winner is shown on the big screen.

The big screen has been focused on Wimbledon for the last couple of weeks, but next week it should be back in action. And with fantastic weather promised, what could be better! For more information click here.

 

SpinFest

 

Summer Sessions – this summer, Spinningfields and The Oast House have extended their musical offering to the SpinFest stage with its Summer Sessions every other Wednesday from 7pm.

  • 17th July – Indie Sessions Featuring The Ragamuffins
  • 31st July – SKA Sessions Featuring Baked A LA SKA

 

Comedy Sessions – This summer The Courtyard will host The Comedy Club. Every other Wednesday from 7pm.

  • 10th July – Courtyard Comedy Club, hosted by Jonathan Mayor
  • 24th July – Bogan Bingo

 

American Vintage (28th July) is a free day time music festival celebrating city life! With an eye watering programme of acts from rock n roll, swing and soul, it sounds like a great way to spend the day.

 

So if you haven’t been down to Spinningfields recently – pop down and help yourself to a slice of the action!

 

alstaples's Spinningfields album on Photobucket

 

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chorlton Coffee Festival

Latte art and a weekend of caffinated fun (28th-30th June)

 

I don’t know about you, but popping out for an afternoon coffee is one of lifes little luxuries – sitting down on a comfy sofa, with a good book and a large cup of coffee (there’s normally a slice of cake involved too).

Chorlton Coffee Festival

 

In Chorlton I’m spoilt for choice for which cafe to go to – so why not try them all at Chorlton Coffee Festival!

 

 

The first ever Chorlton Coffee Festival will take place over the weekend of 28-30th June. Over 30 bars, cafes and restaurants will be taking part in the event, which will be the first of it’s kind in Manchester.

 

Chorlton Coffee Festival

 

The original idea for the festival was sparked by the amazing cafe culture already existing in Chorlton and the desire to show it off and promote it!

The Saturday of the festival sees the launch of the Chorlton Coffee Festival hub (Chorlton Central Church on Barlow Moor Road). This will be an exhibition space with tastings, demos and coffee related workshops.

The events planned for the weekend of the festival vary widely, from a film festival to a barista competition, which will be taking place on Wednesday 26th June.

 

Coffee shops

 

 

Know your espressos from your macchiatos?

 

Fancy your chances in the barista competition? Or just want to know how to make those pretty shapes on the top of coffee? Chorlton Coffee Festivals resident barista trainer Hannah Davies has these tips for creating the perfect latte art:

 

Step by step guide to pouring latte art

 

1. Start off with cold and fresh milk. Always straight from the fridge. The fresher the better.

2. Use a clean jug with a narrow spout for pouring – this will help to pour defined shapes.

3. Pour milk into the jug until it sits just under the bottom of the spout – if you have too little milk in the jug it will go frothy – not good.

4. Prepare a tasty espresso – so that’s freshly ground, correct dose, clean machine = great espresso with good crema for creating patterns.

5. Purge the steam wand to clean out any condensation.

6. Position the nozzle just under the milk and turn the steam wand on fully – one hand on the handle of the jug and the other hand wrapped around the side of the jug to gauge temperature.

7. Steam the milk so it’s lovely and silky – start off with the nozzle just under the surface of the milk – lower the jug until you hear a quiet hissing noise – this is stretching the milk – after a couple of seconds of hissing return the nozzle to just below the surface of the milk and watch the milk gently roll around the jug like a whirlpool.

8. When the jug becomes too hot for your palm – turn off the steam wand.

9. This should be going on whilst your espresso is brewing.

10. For beautiful shiny milk – hold the handle of the jug and roll the jug around in circular motions – this polishes the milk.

11. Now for the pour – put the cup on a surface and position the spout on the side of the cup so that it hinges off the rim of the cup.

12. Start to hinge the jug into the cup so that milk flows out – as you hinge off the rim lower the spout deeper into the cup and wiggle your wrist loosely from side to side – this will start to create  contrasting lines between the milk and the crema.

13. As the cup is about to fill up lift the jug off the side of the cup and move the spout in a straight line to the opposite side of the cup – this pulls the lines into a leaf like shape.

14. Hey presto – you’ve poured your first bit of latte art – enjoy!

 

latte art

 

There you have it – the perfect latte art! Why not show Chorlton Coffee Festival your creations on  Twitter, Facebook or Google+ ?

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Chorlton Coffee Festival.

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • A A A