Tag Archives: Marlborough

Tiffin Cake

Polly Tearooms, Marlborough

Victoria Sponge

Polly Tearooms were sold to me as the crème de la crème. Country Life recently had them down as the finest teashop in England, a claim unhesitatingly echoed in the Daily Telegraph. Very possibly this is true, but it does mean that the best teashop in England does not sell Victoria sponge on a fine afternoon in May. But there they sat regardless, with the local Tory party headquarters plumb spang across the High Street and grey-haired old biddies and equally grey-haired American tourists filling up their tables.

The Tearoom’s website invites customers to send in poems about their experiences of Polly’s. Euterpe allowed me ‘Tiffin’s made of biscuit bits: is it really cake?/I wanted some Victoria sponge, for God almighty’s sake’ before she drifted off, possibly to the nearest M&S. But in her absence I can tell you that Polly’s tiffin is really rather good. It’s sort of like reverse cheesecake, with the thick chocolate topping as the biscuit base and the biscuitish-toffeeish-cherryish mass as the cheese. It comes in a hearty slab, is full of nicely contrasting textures and goes very well with Darjeeling. It even has an etymologically obscure and vaguely lost-empire name, which is just what you want in a place with sagging wooden beams and sun and Tories and teapots. But before I break into a one-man chorus of ‘Jerusalem’ I’m going to calm down and leave you, with the information that a poster in the gents declares the state fish of California to be the garibaldi and who knew?

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