Ria’s Teashop Secrets: Easter treats

Simnel cake at Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom
Simnel cake at Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom

Ria Chambers from Ria’s Rosy Lee Tearoom in Wellingborough on Easter indulgence.

Easter is almost upon us and throughout April here at the tearoom the cakes will be themed around this celebration.

Usually a time to indulge in chocolate-based items and hot cross buns, there is a range of other veritable delights that can be enjoyed during Easter.

If we look to Italy, they have the Colomba cake, a yeasted dessert cake similar to a panettone but flavoured with amaretto and topped with almonds and dried fruit.

Its origins go back to the sixth century when it was used a peace offering between warring kings, hence why it is shaped like a dove.

The Colomba can also be shaped as a pigeon, but essentially it is the bird shape which is significant, representing spring when there is new life in nature, and its dove of peace history is symbolic of the peace Jesus offers when he is reborn.

The Colomba cake is now becoming more widely available in England at reputable delis.

Also from abroad is a Jamaican Easter bun cake.

Jamica’s alternative to a hot cross bun, it has all the fruit and spices of a hot cross bun but made into a cake and infused with Guinness – or any other decent quality stout that can be brought.

Thanks to my new neighbours in Cambridge Street Jodis JamRock restaurant, I have been inspired to attempt this cake in April now I have the recipe.

Apparenty it is traditionally served with cheese and a cup of tea, which is just right for the tearoom, but I’ll let you decide how you would prefer it.

More closer to home we have for many years served simnel cake at Easter alongside the usual fare.

A lighter fruit cake than that used to celebrate at Christmas, it has a marzipan layer baked into the centre of the cake and is then decorated with another circle of marzipan on top and 11 marzipan balls to represent the disciples minus Judas.

I was surprised to discover in my research, though, that this cake was orginally used for Mother’s Day, but as the date is set by the Church so it falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent the two have always been associated.

Either way it is now on the menu being included in the Easter Afternoon Teas whcih shall run to April 19 and can be booked now if you are looking for something to do with the family in the holidays.

To accompany all this food I shall be debuting a new tea at Ria’s Rosy Lee.

I set my friends at Irvins a challenge last month to create an Easter tea which I said I would like to taste like a hot cross bun.

They have risen to the challenge to deliver a light black tea with a flavour of vanilla and spices that is naturally sweet just like all the other treats at Easter.