I concluded yesterday’s post with a mention of Fitzbillies on Trumpington Street, with reference to Bakewell Tart. In truth I have no idea if they sell Bakewell tart at Fitzbillies, but it hardly matters – whatever you buy there is unlikely to disappoint.
The English do not do much right in the eyes of the world when it comes to food, but cakes and buns are an exception, and Fitzbillies does cakes and buns pretty well on the whole. They are especially known for their Chelsea buns.
The cake shop and baker’s has occupied the same spot since 1922, but in February 2011 after some years of decline it went into administration. A tweet from Stephen Fry alerted a food writer at the Guardian, Tim Hayward, to the impending closure, and he and his wife leapt in and saved the venerable institution (you can read the story here).
Among other things that were saved were the Chelsea buns. A Chelsea bun is a spicy, yeast-enriched coil of dough inlaid with currants and covered in extreme stickiness, and Fitzbillies have specialised in them for as long as anyone can remember. So renowned are they that the shop now operates a mail order system, posting Chelsea buns to the round earth’s imagined corners. So forget their Bakewell Tart (what was I thinking?); Chelsea buns are all you need to know.