Ria’s Teashop Secrets: The food of love

Ria's rose cake decorated with edible rose petals
Ria's rose cake decorated with edible rose petals

Ria Chambers from Ria’s Rosy Lee Tearoom in Wellingborough writes for the Telegraph.

February is now upon us which means Valentine’s Day is around the corner.

So at the tearoom we are dedicated to the food of love. Cliched I know, but with hearts and roses abounding everywhere, it’s easier to embrace than ignore.

Therefore rose (along with strawberries and cream) is being incorporated into the menu, which is fortutious as rose cakes are my signature bake.

I developed my Ria’s Rose cakes when it became clear that rose would be the theme of the tearoom – Ria’s Rosy Lee, a rose-based house tea, rose lemonade on the menu – and wanted this to continue in the food.

The Ria’s Rose cake is an individual rose-shaped sponge cake flavoured delicately with rose which has been described as akin in taste to Turkish Delight.

As they are baked by the dozen many of my customers have been ordering them to give as an alternative to real flowers this February 14.

Or the recipe can be utilised to create a whole heart-shaped cake decorated with edible rose petals.

They say the way to the heart is through the stomach so why not use one of these cakes to do so!

If you don’t want to feast on cake at home though, why not treat your loved one to a Valentine’s Afternoon Tea at the tearoom which I’ll be serving on February 14 and 15 if booked.

This also includes my Rose cake but it is joined with amourous strawberries and cream.

The delicate floral Rose cake is therefore offset not only with the sweet, indulgent strawberry jam and clotted cream accompaniments of the scone, but in the strawberry creme patissiere as well – a delicacy from France, the home of amour!

All this food can be complemented with a choice of two rose teas.

If you like something strong and smoky with a mellow rose aftertaste then Ria’s House Blend is for you.

Or if you prefer a lighter tea with a sweeter flavour then you can try Rose and Lotus Flower which is my tea of the month.

I feel this celebration of rose is my part towards the continuing use of the rose in food and drink.

There is a long history of the culinary rose which can be traced back to Roman times, and the Chinese, Middle East and Indian cultures.

The use of all edible flowers became very popular in England during the Victorian era.

Originally the petals and rose hips were used to flavour and scent our food, but with developing science and technology we now have the luxury to be able to use syrups and extracts as well in our cakes, teas and jams.

We also now know that roses have a high vitamin C content providing us with a win-win situation – a rose looks good, tastes good, and is good for our health.

What’s not to love?