Slightly different post this week focusing mainly on macarons rather than cupcakes but for good reason. On Friday afternoon I made my way to Covent Garden to take part in Great British Tours cupcake and macaron tour of London. This was something I treated myself to before I left Aberdeen but had only recently got round to booking it which is a bit silly in hindsight given I had already visited several of the places on our itinerary.
Our all female group of fifteen were met outside the M&S opposite Covent Garden station at 3pm by the lovely, handsome and very knowledgeable John who was to be our guide for the afternoon. Our first stop was The Cupcake Bakehouse that I reviewed last week, luckily I was able to nab a mini-red velvet cake which I didn’t try last time.
It was nice enough but pretty much confirmed how I felt about The Cupcake Bakehouse on my initial visit. The sponge was quite dry and even the frosting didn’t make it any tastier.
Further down in the Market Building was the first of our macaron stops the world-famous Laudree. I’d only had one macaron previous to this tour and it’s easy to see the attraction because their just so damn tasty but they are also REALLY expensive with prices between £1.20 to £3.00 per piece.
Laudree, as John told us, are a french company who actually invented the double-decker macaron. Traditionally macarons are matured for two days and you can tell when they are at their freshest as when you pinch it between your forefinger and thumb they bounce rather than crack. There was a wide selection of flavours but we didn’t get to choose our own, luckily I ended up with a rather yummy lemon flavour one.
The Yuzu-ginger macaron – lemon macaron shells filled with a smooth lemon cream infused with fresh ginger. It was crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle while also not being too lemony. It was really delicious but John said this was not his favourite stop for macarons!
We continued on our way to the Sweet Couture boutique bakery famous for supplying the cakes during London fashion week. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I plan on featuring Sweet Couture in next weeks Holy Cupcakes Batman. What was really nice here though was not only did you get a full size cupcake at this stop but you also got to pick your own. I went with the strawberries and cream cupcake but if you want to know what I thought of it you’ll have to come back next week!
Sweet Couture is right round the corner from Leicester Square and John led us down Cecil Court which is one of the locations used as Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies. I loved that the tour wasn’t strictly about the food although I did cringe when John mispronounced JK Rowling. It’s Rowling like bowling OK?! We continued to Soho where we stopped by The Hummingbird Bakery (which if you remember was my first Holy Cupcakes entry) where we were given a full size red velvet cake. I was good and saved this one for later and am now eating as I blog!
Next up was Yauatcha which was a bit of a surprise given that it’s best known as a michelin starred Japanese restaurant but they have a dessert selection to die for including some interesting flavours of macarons.
I was a little more adventurous here and went for a Parma Violet macaron (one of my favourite sweets as a kid) and I was not disappointed.
Our next stop was a branch of the chain Patisserie Valerie which I have often stopped to marvel at the delights in the window but never ventured in to. Here we were lucky that it was quiet and got to have a fifteen minute break while we enjoyed yet another macaron.
A selection of macarons were offered to us on plates so I’m not even sure what flavour this one was. The centre was a jam-like substance so I think it was strawberry but this was my least favourite of everything we tried and a bit disappointing in all honesty.
However, we still had one last stop – Fortnum & Mason’s! (The online itinerary shows Lola’s as also being a stop but it has in actual fact been replaced by F&Ms due to a change in the shops opening hours)
F&M’s had some interesting flavours as well and I decided to be adventurous again going for the Passionfruit and Chocolate flavour rather than any of the regular kinds.
And that was the end. The tour was supposed to take 2.5 hours but we took slightly longer being closer to 3, they run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday come rain or shine and cost £40. (Although I bought mine via a TimeOut London offer for a bargainous £19!) This may seem a bit steep but includes all of the samples – four macarons, two full size cupcakes and a mini cupcake. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend and afternoon!