Near Dover: tea room you MUST visit

High Tea and CAKE,  my favorite 

    How fortunate to have 6 days here to sample Tea in a number of places.  And tea must come with cake.

    I have to admire a people who take the time to sit, relax and sip their national hot beverage while EATING CAKE!  It has been perfected to an art of “temperature, origin of the tea leaves and presentation”. 

Coffee in Italy is a staple but una café is bolted not sipped.   The idea of sitting at a table drinking coffee for an hour is somewhat foreign to the Italians.

Discovering The Lavender Tea House in the south of the UK

          When i asked a greeter at the Dover dock where I was catching a ship,  “Is there a famous cake baked in this area” I had no idea she would suggest a new tea room in the next town that her daughter just opened and I would have an opportunity to visit the Lavender Tea House the following week.

           I had just been in Canterbury and found their ‘special cake’ (unfortunately they were sold out) and thought this would be an interesting theme.   Tea and cake throughout the UK, a perfect topic for my blog or a great excuse to eat cake several times a day!

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A motto I can follow

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The opportunity to visit the Lavender Tea Room in Folkestone, UK was too good to pass.     A call from her mother and a few emails had me taking the train the following week to Folkestone, a short distance from Dover, UK.     

Natalie Chessman is the owner of this charming tea room on a pedestrian street not far from the sea.   Visiting on a Saturday, the busiest day of the week, limited my time with Natalie but she was very generous to share her ideas about enjoying tea.   See the video interview below 

On a pedestrian street not far from the sea (and the train station)  the Lavender Tea Room has an outdoor patio

Your cake selection is served on English china  

How to choose what cake to try?   I selected 3 to take with me ‘so that my story would be from a personal viewpoint”.     What an enjoyable task I had in front of me….

Some of the amazing cakes, baked that morning, are on display.  
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1.
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The  three cakes that are most popular.    I could have sampled any of the selection.  The scones were incredible and they even had a glutton free cake!

The LTR was busy when I arrived about 11 am just before the midday rush.  The pedestrian street was busy with Saturday shoppers and a small festival in one of the streets.     As soon as I entered the shop I was greeted by one of the staff members who knew I was coming and sat me down with a pot of tea!.    A lovely welcome while I waited for Natale to finish in the kitchen.

Natalie had arrived very early to mix and bake all the wonderful cakes I saw in front of me but still she gave me some time to explain the philosophy behind opening the Lavender Tea room.   
Some of topics we covered in our chat:  (If I have omitted any facts, I shall ask the owner to correct me and correct the post)
Q.   How did your interest in baking, get started, did you bake as a child?
A.  I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen and  have always cooked.                                                   My father is a very good chef and I have grown up around ‘food’

Q.   How did you decide to open a tea room
a.      A.         There was a gap in the market, I picked Folkstone because  there are a
lack of tea rooms, lots of coffee bars…. 
(A tea room) harps back to the days, I think we have forgotten , what having tea is all about.
about the ritual of having tea, spending the
time,  sharing it with friends, having a chat,
I wanted to create an atmosphere
Q.  Did you grow up with the ritual of tea in the afternoon?
a.       A.   I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and she would always have tea around 4 o’clock with a piece of cake, buttered toast and a nice pot of tea   

The shop attracts many locals for tea, lunch and even parties.  While I was there several ‘regulars’ stopped in and were greeted by first names and a cheery hello.
  Q.  Do you bake all the cakes by hand or are they done ‘commercially?
   A.  Natalie bakes all the cakes very early in the mornings….  home made cakes have no preservatives and           do not have the same texture as a ‘box mix”.   This feature makes her cakes like a treat you would have at a friends home.    
And she bakes with a Kitchen aid mixer the same one we would use in the USA.
The variety of cakes will change during the week but she told me her most popular treats are: 
Scones
Carrot cake
Lemon drizzle cake

 What might be in the future for The Lavender Tea Room?
  A signature cake for the area?   Currently they make Lavender cupcakes but were sold out this morning
  Lessons to teach others how to bake these marvelous cakes?   I would sign up for a class
  Shipping cakes as special orders?
  A cook book?
Natalie reminded me they have only been open a year, and many options are open for the future. 
 A British tour group may have some interest in adding  a stop at the Lavender Tea Room to a future tour schedule.
Today most of her customers are locals and myself the sole tourist.  If I lived in the area I would also become a regular, trying a different treat on each visit.
                   When you visit the Lavender Tea House in Kent, be sure to tell Natalie you saw her article on

                                                           MatureSoloTravel

 Click below to see their web site.
http://www.thelavenderteahouse.com/

The Lavender Tea House
Homemade Cakes, Fine Teas, Freshly Ground Coffee and Light Lunches in the Heart of Folkestone’s Old Town.

Now Open in Church Street, Folkestone . . . 
The Lavender Tea House is the destination in Kent for fine teas, home made cakes and light lunches. The perfect place to relax after a shopping trip, during your lunch break or just to treat yourself to some calm, indulgent ‘me’ time!
Sit back, relax and enjoy a pot of fine tea served with a delicious slice of home made cake. Perfect!
 
Natalie Cheeseman
The Lavender Tea House
5, Church Street, Folkestone
01303 2545215

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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