In the previous instalment of my UK Tour of Independent Cafes I visited the fabulous Oxford Road Cafe in Altrincham (see the last post here). I was visiting my mum in Hale Barns/Wythenshawe (depending on who she’s trying to impress). With this leg of the trip over and family duties complete (usually fixing my mum’s iPad again) the tour continues North to the lovely town of Ambleside in the Lake District. Leaving Wythenshawe and heading up North leads to the immediate dilemma of the best way to get to the M6. Anyone who travels regularly in this area will have their own opinion. For me, the huge queue that always seem to exist at the Trafford Centre rules out the M60. Wikipedia claims that the Trafford Centre has a vivid and quirky rococo/late baroque architectural style that pays homage to the industrial history of the area. I’m not sure whether Isambard Kingdom Brunel would agree with them. He’s more likely to be turning in his grave.
Northerner or Southerner – Stuck in the Middle?
So being unable to face the obligatory queue on the M60 at the Trafford Centre followed and then driving towards Bolton thinking Botany Bay was further than I remember, whenever I head North I like to take a nostalgic trip down the M56 towards my home town of Warrington.
I say home town, although this is a bit of a debating point really. To me, Warrington is home! It’s the place where I spent my teenage years drinking responsibly and hanging around parks. However, given that I only moved there when I was 14, as far as everyone in Warrington is concerned I was, and forever will be, Bernard from Norfolk. To everyone in Norfolk, I’m just that kid that left before they finished school who moved to Manchester. This is because to southerners the North West consists only of Liverpool, Manchester or IKEA. Is Norfolk even classed as south? So many tough questions for the answers are always relative. Either way, this means that I’m the bloke stuck in the middle of the debate who doesn’t really have a proper place to call home. Having joined the RAF straight from school I’ve pretty much been a nomad ever since.
Over the years I’ve come to learn that the journey can be as much fun as reaching your destination. Hopefully, one day we will find a place to settle and call home forever. In the meantime the journey continues. The theme of travel and life’s journey is an important part of the story of Ambleside’s Cafe Treff. There can’t be many cafe’s that have their own Paraglider, which belongs to David who is one of the Cafe’s owners and their chief product tester.
The Star of Ambleside’s Cafe Treff – Introducing Bernie
The owners of Cafe Treff are Bernie and David Robinson who have run the cafe together for 12 years. Originally from Lancashire they were both working in IT when they hatched the idea for the cafe whilst in Interlaken in Switzerland over 25 years ago. Back then there was no cafe culture in the UK like there is now and they always dreamed of transporting the Swiss Cafe Culture back to the UK. It took quite some time for their dream to turn into reality and their lovely Cafe in Ambleside is the very embodiment of their journey. The name of the Cafe comes from the German verb treffen, which is the verb “to meet” and it describes the place perfectly. The inside of the Cafe is a mixture of 3 different Swiss Cafe’s that Bernie and David love.
A Slice or 2 of Heaven in Ambleside
Bernie and David are passionate about people and welcoming new customers into the Cafe. They are also extremely dedicated to using locally sourced products wherever possible. By doing so, they are able to build up great relationships with suppliers and to extend the benefit of the cafe’s business as widely as possible in the local community. They blend their own coffee every week and were serving Flat White coffee from the day they opened and long before a certain coffee chain brought it to everyone’s attention.
The cakes we had were just lovely and something a little bit different from the standard cake fayre. We had Rhubarb and Custard Cake, Zucchini and Lime, Dandelion and Burdock (yes as a cake) and Seriously Ginger (it was and beautiful too). In fact the cakes were so good, my wife’s Uncle John could barely contain himself from diving in while I was trying to take the photo. You can his over-excited hand coming into the top right hand corner of the shot.
We had a fantastic welcome in the Cafe and Bernie was happy to chat to us about her journey. Once again it highlighted to me the importance of making that little bit extra effort to check out the interesting and quirky independent Cafes. You can find out more about Cafe Treff at their website here. They even have an online shop!
Thanks for reading, John F