Frescoes Coffee House Bedford – complete with Michelangelo fresco artwork outside

Frescoes Coffee House in Bedford is a lovely little cafe which boasts a Michelangelo fresco recreation on the outside wall by a local Bedford Artist called Iain Carstairs (sadly passed away in 2016) he used a pigment paint on lime plaster which is a technique dating back to 1500 BC.

The artwork will live on for many years and it’s a lovely surprise to see when you walk past 20 Mill Street Bedford (MK40 3HD)

The cafe is small yet welcoming and is a great place to sit for a while to recharge your batteries. They have a lovely atmosphere and you can sit outside, inside or upstairs.  The upstairs section is  perfect if you need to escape for a while read your paper, do some work or just catch up with friends. When I visited recently I bought a beautiful slice of Victoria Sponge Cake but sadly my toddler wouldn’t let me enjoy it in the restaurant (due to the loud screaming that I didn’t want to put the other diners through) so I asked for a takeaway and gladly ate it at home whilst my little one had a well deserved nap!

Frescoes Coffee House rates a 4.5 on trip Advisor  (at time of writing) with their cakes coming out on top as the most reviewed items. They have a great selection of lunch options and the service was very friendly. I will be visiting again soon!

Please look at their reviews here https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g190737-d2275844-Reviews-Frescoes_Coffee_House-Bedford_Bedfordshire_England.html

Frescoes

https://www.facebook.com/FrescoesBedford/

20 Mill StreetBedford MK40 3HD, England

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here. http://mybedfordshire.com/about/

Amici – A Traditional Italian Restaurant in Bedford

Me and my husband went to an amazing Italian restaurant in Bedford called Amici.

It’s a small traditional Italian restaurant in the heart of Bedford (27 St. Peter’s Street)

When I want to find new places to go I always ask the Bedford Facebook community page where to go. (I love a bit of research!) Out of around 40 people all recommending great Italian restaurants in Bedford (there are a few to choose from!) this one came out top.

So based on positive local feedback we went on a Wednesday evening and the restaurant was very busy, but service was perfect and food came out quickly. Beautiful food and the staff were all very friendly.  Everyone always asked us what we have to eat when I post anything on social media so here we go..

We had the Mediterranean dips and Italian breads to start with which were a generous portion, I had Ravioli for main (this had an amazing butter sauce) hubby had lamb which he enjoyed very much and not something we would have picked before in an Italian Restaurant and for pudding we had the Tartufo Limoncello and Affogato. We ended up feel very full and both agreed we will come again soon.

It is an ideal setting for any occasion, whether  you want a romantic meal for two, a dinner with friends, business meal or a lively birthday celebration you will have a great time here.

Their website states that they can cater for most dietary requirements (vegetarian, halal, gluten-free…etc) but I always advise to ring any restaurant before you go and they can accommodate parties of up to 40 people in main restaurant and also up to 30 people in their conservatory.

Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments box or on my social media pages.

For more information and other reviews go to

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g190737-d752074-Reviews-Amici-Bedford_Bedfordshire_England.html

https://www.amici-restaurant.co.uk/

Address:

27 St Peters Street

Bedford

MK40 2PN

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here. http://mybedfordshire.com/about/

Délices – Authentic Parisian flavours in the heart of Bedford

In the centre of Bedford two women started a business from a passion that began in Paris. That passion was bread and gâteaux making. Géraldine and Diana are the proud owners of Délices  (pronounced day-lease) boulangerie -pâtisserie. It’s situated away from the busy main high street in Bedford on 7 Howard Street. It’s a slightly odd location for such a beautiful café but once you step inside and get settled you see why they picked the premises. It’s a large open space shared with the Art Centre and Gallery to one side and Délices on the right.  You have plenty of space to sit and chat with friends over a hot chocolate (made on site from an 18th century French recipe and served with a swirl of crème Chantilly – yum! ) and the area is child and buggy friendly thanks to the ramp on entry and exit, the children’s menu and play area towards the rear of the premises.

Photograph courtesy of Délices, Picture taken by Cat Lane.

As I walked over to the main counter I was greeted by a compelling aroma of fresh, buttery croissants and freshly baked breads. You can see Géraldine and Diana busy in the kitchen most days through the feature window located to the rear of the main serving counter. It’s hard to resist all the temptations but I wanted to go and find out more about these two passionate business ladies first, so I went and had a chat to find out more about them.

Géraldine and Diana met on a bread making ( boulangerie) course in Paris. They formed a firm friendship and Géraldine went on to work at several award-winning French bakeries. Diana told me she is also a trained pâtissière and has worked at some of the best hotels, kitchens and chocolatiers in Paris.  You can see why they make a great team together, and it’s enabled them to offer something truly unique to Bedford. 

Photograph courtesy of Délices, Picture taken by Cat Lane.

The Boulangerie

To be called a boulangerie, a French bakery must bake bread on the premises and this is exactly what Géraldine  and Diana do every day at  Délices.  In fact all the food on offer including the beautiful pâtisseries will have been made from scratch and on site; I think that’s a really nice touch and one which will make them stand out from other businesses in the area. I am told that the ingredients used are authentic and the cooking process done in the same way as their counterparts in France. You simply can’t compare a croissant purchased from here with one found in a supermarket which lasts a week (shamefully I buy them for my son and feel very guilty now) The ingredients lists will be very different and that’s what Geraldine and Diana are so passionate about. Authentic taste begins before you start cooking, and the ladies will always choose (local or French) ingredients which prioritise quality produce over quantity. Even the oven used to bake the breads was sourced from Europe and not something you will see in a normal restaurant or café. You won’t see hundreds of different types of loaves and baguettes being made here, that’s not what they wanted for a business.

Photograph courtesy of Délices, Picture taken by Cat Lane.

Not only that but the cooking process of their breads combines organic flours and a slow fermentation of the bread dough. This, I am told can make a massive difference to your body’s ability to digest your food and they tell me that they have had customers come back and say how their bread has helped them to be less bloaty. Definitely a bonus as I walked out with 2 large baguettes which were devoured within a few hours. At the time of writing this post a plain baguette ‘La BAGUETTE de TRADITION costs £1.60 and a larger loaf ‘Le Rustique’ was £3.50. They tasted great and I will definitely be going back for more!

Photograph courtesy of Délices, Picture taken by Cat Lane.

The Lunch Menu

All the sandwiches are made using Délices crunchy baguettes or you can choose a freshly baked croissant with filling. I personally thought the baguettes were a little too generous in size for me and preferred the portion size of the Le Croque-Monsieur  or the Ham Croissant . Of course the fillings will always be authentic, for example ‘Le Croque-Monsieur’ is made from sourdough and comes with ham cooked in the traditional French way (inside a cloth to preserve the flavour and moistness) Comté cheese and a homemade béchamel for £4.60 (at time of writing).

Photograph courtesy of Délices, Picture taken by Cat Lane.

The Pâtisseries

I have to say the pâtisseries are what everyone stares at longingly when they first arrive at the Délices counter. There are so many beautiful pastries, tarts, macarons, cakes and pâtisseries to choose from, all so beautiful and to be honest so pretty I was a little sad to eat them. I was having some guests over for lunch the following day so I decided to buy some treats to take away. I am not the best at making deserts so when you have a French Pâtisserie on your door step you need to take advantage for such occasions!

My choices were:
LA TARTE au CITRON MERINGUÉE £3.40 Fluffy on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside – my husband loved this one
LE LOUIS XV £4.60 The wow factor! This little desert had a crispy, crunchy praline base and layers on chocolate mousse and crème brûlée with vanilla from Madagascar and Tahiti , it was finished with a chocolate glaze and hint of edible gold dust. – This was very rich, but lovely and my eldest son (5) ate it slowly over two days. I devoured mine in one sitting.

THE SWAN £3.20 Was apparently inspired by Diana’s love of the Bedford River. She wanted to make ‘something white, light and graceful’ so she used her amazing skills to create pretty swans fashioned out of choux pastry and crème Chantilly. The result is a beautiful light desert and a real treat for my guests to enjoy which such a lovely story behind it. (I didn’t take the credit for making them, (although I wish I had!)

The Café

Of course you can also come to Délices just for a hot drink if you wanted too. They serve tea from Le PALAIS des THÉS,  Coffee by Wooden Hill (a Bedfordshire local fair trade roaster) and of course the famous homemade hot chocolate made from a traditional French 18th century recipe  served with or without crème Chantilly.

Afternoon Tea

This I haven’t tried out for myself but I saw it on the menu and one day I will give it a try. It’s £22 for Adults or £10 for children, which is the higher end of the budget for my friends and I but the menu looks good and for me the star of this show will be the homemade French douceurs & gâteaux.  According to the menu, classic English breakfast tea is served with your food or you have a choice of coffees, hot chocolate or herbal infusions.

French gifts and food

 I hadn’t noticed on my other visits to Délices that they also do a small selection of high quality French produce. From purchasing individual French Jams, to homemade packs of mini meringues and large hampers the range is small but welcoming and not overpowering for the setting. A great idea for foodie family member.

Photograph courtesy of Délices. Picture taken by Cat Lane.

Overall thought's

Délices is a great find to all who live in Bedford and surrounding areas. The uniqueness to their offering is what makes them stand out from other restaurants and cafes in the area.  

For more information please go to their website www.Délices.co.uk

Facebook www.facebook.com/delicesbedford/

7 Howard Street 

Bedford,

MK403HS

01234 353 280

Délices are open Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 to 17:30.

All information including pricing is correct at time of writing.  

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. Photographs were supplied by Délicies as I am not a food photographer and could not do the food justice with my camera!

All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here. http://mybedfordshire.com/about/

Excellent little vintage cafe in the heart of Ampthill – Cakestand and Crumb.

I have always wanted to try the beautiful little vintage Cafe in Ampthill called Cakestand & Crumb as I have heard so much about it from friends on Facebook. So after my haircut I decided to have a nice quiet lunch without the kids (a rare treat for me). It's situated down a little side alley called Kings Arms Yard. It's a pretty little vintage café and looks so sweet from the outside thanks to the lovely bright paintwork. I loved the colour scheme outside and the inside was just as pretty. As I hadn't been before I asked the waitress what was on offer and she showed me the menu. There were lots of traditional sandwich fillings on offer and what was really nice to see was that they were promoting another independent in Ampthill - The Cottage Bakery, as all their sandwiches were made with their breads.

I opted for a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich plus a drink which came quickly. If you have small children they have a small area of toys, however the cafe is quite small so lots of buggies will be a bit if an issue unless you sit outside. 

The cafe itself is so relaxed and has a lovely feel, they have an old record player in the corner which plays background music and can be used for private parties.

If you are a tea lover they have over 15 different types which includes some more unusual blends like the Cakestand and Crumb home blend, Lost Malawi, Jasmine Silver Leaf and Wild Rooibos. All the tea is loose leaf and comes from the London Based Rare Tea Company, who source their tea 'straight from tea gardens all over the world'. 

 

 

So after my sandwich I had to try the amazing cakes on offer, they are all home made. I asked the waitress which were the most popular, she said 'The Raspberry & White Chocolate Cake, Carrot & Walnut and the Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake were always popular. I however picked a Chocolate Brownie which I have wanted to try for a very long time, the Cadbury's Cream Egg Brownie! It was lovely, very sweet and a beautiful texture but after such a large lunch it was just a little too much for me. 

 

 

Lots of people had booked tables in advance as the Cafe offers Afternoon Tea.  I asked if you need to book a few weeks in advance for a Saturday and the waitress said yes its always best to, so that's worth bearing in mind. At the time of visiting the price was £16.50 per person.

You can also hire the venue for a private dining experience (12-20 people) which I found very tempting, it is perfect for a baby shower or a special birthday. If you hire between 5-7pm  you can even bring your own wine.

When I visited the cafe only accepted cash, no credit or debit cards so please bare this in mind when you visit. I didn't know this but I just walked to the nearest cash machine, which was less than 5 minutes up the road. No a major issue but it's was worth noting. 

So if you love the vintage feel then this cafe is definitely worth a visit.  Address: 7 Kings Arms Yard,Ampthill MK45 2PJ. Its tucked away down the back of the Kinds Arms Yard but its well advertised from the main street.

http://www.cakestandandcrumb.co.uk/

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here. http://mybedfordshire.com/about/