Scone of the Week #8

Today’s Scone of the Week is from Bari Tea on Narrowgate, Alnwick. Bari (pronounced bar-ee) is a Northumbrian dialect word meaning” lovely” and this is indeed a lovely tea shop. They refer to it as a tea brewery and it really is all about the tea, whether you want to sit and drink it on the premises or buy some to enjoy at home.

Unlike some places, where the tables are crammed in, there is enough room to move around (especially when you rock up on a disability scooter as I did). They serve things like cakes and scones, soup, filter coffee and very nice hot chocolate……and a comprehensive range of teas – the tea menu is quite lengthy.

There are some quirks that make you smile when you visit Bari. The toilet is twinned with one in Kenya(!) and all the staff on duty are named on a blackboard.

It was a quiet weekday lunchtime so only the “Maitre T” and the “Teas Maid” on “Sconage Duty” were named.

Our scones were really good – we got the last cheese and mustard one, which had a lovely flavour and gorgeously crusty top, and a sweet sultana one with just the right amount of fruit. Both were good-sized rustic hunks of scone, soft and crumbly without being dry. They were served with pats of butter on a tiny dish, (no foil wraps to fiddle about with), though it was hard from the fridge and hard to spread. Another little dish held a generous dollop of strawberry jam.

Mum ordered a pot of breakfast tea, with arrived in an earthenware pot with a timer and a receptacle with tongs to remove the tea bag when the allotted brewing time had elapsed.

I am not (and never will be) a tea drinker – I simply don’t like the taste, so I opted for a hot chocolate (they also serve filter coffee). My drink was lovely too – a piece of proper chocolate on a stick (two kinds available), to melt into hot milk, served with grated chocolate on top and mini marshmallows on the saucer: heaven!

The staff were really helpful and friendly too.

Situated in the part of Alnwick that is popular with tourists, sometimes referred to as the Castle Quarter (close to Alnwick Castle and surrounded by other small independent shops), Bari Tea is well worth a visit if you are in town, especially if you like tea.

Scone-Free Thursday: Food for Thought

Usually I post Scone of the Week on Thursdays but today was scone-free. I was meeting a friend and her daughter for drinks at Nelsons in the Park at Swarland and had this yummy hot chocolate. They have a hot chocolate menu with several flavours – I opted for the chocolate orange. it tasted as good as it looks.

We had a good old catch up – my friend’s daughters are visiting from Australia. One of the girls was ill in bed, saving her strength for the trip home which begins tomorrow. I can’t imagine anything worse than a long haul flight when you are feeling under par, so I hope she has a safe journey. It was good to see her sister though.

It was really interesting to get the insider’s view of the devastating fires in Australia. We have all seen horrific TV footage and can only imagine what it must be like for those directly affected, when lives, homes and livelihoods are lost. I sincerely hope that appropriate and timely help is given . There are lots of opportunities to donate to the relevant aid charities.

We are also hearing news of the wild animal casualties. Of course the cutest creatures will always get the most coverage. Koalas are badly affected – slow and sleepy, not best equipped to escape the flames. There will undoubtably be huge reptile and invertebrate losses too but they don’t get the coverage, although their places in ecosystem are just as important as any iconic mammal.

One of my friend’s daughters works in conservation and her sister pointed out a few things that I hadn’t considered. For example very many of the rescued koalas and other animals will have to be humanely destroyed as their injuries are too severe. Also, as so much habitat has been lost, there is nowhere to return the rescued animals to. The only option would therefore be to keep them in captivity until the environment has recovered enough to support them. This will take many years.

Knowing that I’m a knitter, a couple of friends have sent me info about groups here in the UK that are using their craft skills to make nests and pouches as bedding for the rescued animals. There are lots of different designs of suitable items in various sizes and shapes depending on the species they are intended for. It seems to be pretty well organised too, with various collection “hubs” to co-ordinate the effort. I’m still trying to get the full information on materials to use – some documents say the rescue organisations require pure wool items only and pure cotton fabric for sewn liners. I thought I’d make something and that this might be a good way of using up scraps , including donated yarn, but it’s not always obvious which is 100% wool when there is no ball band. I’m actually quite curious why some sources say “wool only”. It’s not always the easiest yarn to wash and dry. It was explained that the bobbles on boucle-type yarns could be nibbled on so this was not to be used and also that there should be no loose threads to entangle in tiny claws etc. and this makes perfect sense.

Hearing from others I know in Australia and even New Zealand, I hear that even far away from the fire zone the clouds of smoke and haze are clearly visible. The environmental and health effects of this disaster will be far-reaching and long term.

We just have to hope for all concerned that things improve soon and that lessons are learnt that can prevent this happening again.