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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Afternoon Tea at Airyfairy Cake Boutique: Saturdays Now Perfect

Saturday is my very favourite day of the week. Some of the reasons for this are obvious - although I'm not one to let a little thing like that stop me listing them anyway.

1. No requirement to get up and go to work. As someone who used to work Saturdays, I am now immeasurably grateful to be able to lie-in on this day. Or, I would be if the stupid cat knew his days of the week properly - his poor time-keeping skills mean that he is simply unable to differentiate between days when he gets his breakfast at 6am, and days when he gets his breakfast when he's lucky. Cue lots of irritating, Simon's Cat-style squalling, pointing at hungry waiting mouth etc from a heartbreakingly early hour.

2. Saturday Kitchen. Once up, what could be nicer than watching a D-list celebrity drinking wine and eating red Thai curry at 10am in the morning? True, your own square of toast and marmite may begin to feel a little inadequate, but at least you won't start developing the slightly moon-faced appearance of James Martin. And if you DO fancy a glass of red at twenty to eleven in the morning, your actions are fully sanctioned by the unknown actor currently doing the same on your screen.

3. Saturday papers. Although, to be fair, I normally just read the Caitlin Moran column and then do the crossword; the cat, now fed, is probably lying all over the other bits anyway.

4. Didsbury Village Farm Shop. Another good thing about Saturdays is that the following day is Sunday, the Lord's own day when the law states that you can eat as many calories for breakfast as you like, and they don't count. Therefore, you should pop into the estimable Farm Shop and procure bacon, eggs and sausage (or, erm, your own choice of Vegan alternative) ready to stave off the mild headache you may have after spending Saturday evening in Folk.

5. And, as if Saturdays weren't glorious enough, I have a new favourite thing: Afternoon Tea at The Airyfairy Cake Boutique on School Lane, Didsbury. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why it's taken me so long to try this - I've been a regular visitor to the gorgeously retro Cake Boutique ever since it opened, and the concept of a stand piled high with sandwiches and cakes is a sure-fire winner in my book; perhaps it's the fact you have to be organised and book at least 24 hours in advance that has hitherto scuppered me.

Anyway, this week I WAS organised enough to book - and what a reward. For £12.50 a head, you get unlimited tea from a wide selection (we chose Earl Grey, because we are LADIES), a selection of finger sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, naturally - you can't expect LADIES to tire themselves with excess chewing), scones with jam and cream (I graciously overlooked the fact that my companion erroneously pronounced it "scon" throughout our afternoon), and a whole army of dainty, bite-size cakes. The precise nature of these goodies changes every time, but our sandwiches included smoked salmon (our favourite), ham & mustard, cucumber & cream cheese and cheese & salad (note please, SALAD *healthy face*), and our most bestest cakes were the mini Nutella cheesecakes.
As you can see from this picture, the quantities are most generous, and staff will happily pack up leftovers in a doggy box to take home to anxiously waiting husbands - we couldn't eat all of ours, but then we ARE notorious for picking at our food with all the appetite of the little bird seen here perching atop our cake stand. In fact, so grand and exciting was the food mountain that when it arrived, the small boy sitting at the next table practically fell off his chair in the whole excitement of it all, his open-mouthed admiration really telling you all you need to know.

The Airyfairy Afternoon Tea is available Thursday to Saturday from 11am, thereby offering the thrilling possibility that it could also be consumed as a late breakfast. And, even better, I've just polished off the last couple of mini carrot cakes as a starter before I get on to my Didsbury Farm Shop sausage and bacon...before you know it, there'll be a whole list of reasons to love Sunday as well.

- Airyfairy Cake Boutique is at 24 School Lane, Didsbury M20 6RG, tel 07791850641

- Didsbury Village Farm Shop is at 737 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury M20 6WF.

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