Barista Brontë Madeley gets into the Christmas spirit at Baltzersen’s, Harrogate.
When the weather outside is frightful, nothing beats a decent coffee and a festive treat to get you in the mood for Christmas.
There are some amazing independent coffee shops in Harrogate, which blow the chains out of the water.
And after trudging round the shops, there is nothing better than seeking sanctuary in one of them – and indulging on a bit of cake while you’re at it. It would be rude not to at this time of year.
I spoke to some of the teams behind some of the town’s indie coffee shops about getting festive and asked them to pick their favourite Christmas bake.
Established in 2017, No.35 is a popular choice for coffee aficionados in the town. It’s small, cozy vibes are perfect for that festive feel. The baristas are some of the friendliest in town and their latte art is always impressive.
Coffee: North Star No.35 Honduras blend, with notes of honeydew melon, rum and almond
Barista Chris Pang’s favourite festive bake: Gingerbread cookie
“They are really Christmassy and there aren’t any other places that do them. They have an amazing gingerbread filling and you can stick them in the microwave as well.
“I love working here at Christmas as everyone is in good spirits and the atmosphere is always really festive.”
Barista Claudia Norris’ favourite festive bake: Christmas fruit loaf
“A customer actually said it’s better than Grandma’s Christmas cake and you can’t really go wrong with it at this time of year.”
Barista Elliot Lee’s favourite festive bake: Christmas Bakewell slice
“It’s our bestseller and it’s basically a mince pie in a Bakewell sponge. It’s small and sweet and just enough.”
The Scandinavian’s do Christmas with style and so does the Scandi-inspired Baltzersen’s, which has been a staple of Harrogate’s independent scene for almost a decade. Check out the quirky Christmas tree decorations that have been painstakingly individually hung across the whole café.
Coffee: North Star Baltzersen’s blend, with notes of milk chocolate, plum and hazelnut
Barista Brontë Madeley’s favourite festive bake: Christmas gingerbread cookie
“Our in-house baker makes all of our biscuits downstairs. I love how much time she spends on the little decorations.”
Chef Lukaz Maszczyk added:
“I love working here at Christmas. It’s very homely and inviting and we have lots of regular people coming in every day.”
This one is a bit of a different escape from the festive shopping, as the owners, Phil and Helen Dolby, refuse to play Christmas music. So if you’re sick of Shakey, Bean & Bud is ideal. However, they couple aren’t anti-Christmas by any means and you’ll still be able to choose from a selection of coffee blends – they have several – and a festive treat.
Coffee: Campbell & Syme’s Brazil Mauricio Barbosa, with notes of milk chocolate, caramel and melon
Helen and Paul’s favourite festive bake: Christmas pudding flapjack
“I like to have the lights up and it’s always a nice festive atmosphere at this time of year.
“We like the Christmas pudding flapjacks as they are locally-made and are a bit different.”
“We are a sanctuary from the same repetitive Christmas songs you hear every year. You can come to Bean & Bud and you will never hear a Christmas song.”
The healthy eaterie Hustle & Co celebrated its first birthday this week and has managed to keep going strong, despite launching during a worldwide pandemic. Lots of the cakes here are vegan and gluten free, so everyone has a chance to get their festive bake fix. It always has a warm, friendly vibe in here and the twinkly decorations are lovely.
Coffee: York Emporium Peru Cecanor Cafe Femenino, with notes of milk chocolate, almond, honey and apricot
Co-owner Jo Bradshaw’s favourite festive bake: Peppermint slice
“Our peppermint slice is vegan and gluten free. It’s reminiscent of a candy cane and treats during the Christmas holidays. It’s a little bit indulgent at this time of year. It has a chocolate oaty baste, peppermint fondant and dark chocolate topping.”
Front of house team leader Victoria Coltman said:
“I love the positivity and happy vibes that come from every customer who enters the doors at this time of year.”
Located in the heart of the community on St Winifred’s Avenue, a stone’s throw from The Stray, Brew Bar is another friendly independent on the scene. The selection of cakes is always impressive and the festive treats don’t disappoint. It’s hard not to feel Chrismassy with their twinkly decorations, and they also do little gifts so you can shop while you drink coffee.
Coffee: Lonton Coffee Company’s No. 43 Brew Bar Blend
Barista Elliot Dodson’s favourite festive bake: Reindeer tiffin
“We are a community coffee shop and we want to have fun and give something back. We have a lot of families come in and the reindeer tiffin is the kind of cake that shows our values.
“I feel great working here over Christmas. It’s always nice to see the core values of Christmas and the spirit of people, the togetherness, the community and the love. Customers are very festive and we have people come in and dress up. We also have a visit from Olaf and Buddy the Elf every Saturday at 1pm until 1.30pm.”
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