If you're ever in the Cotswolds area of the UK (and I strongly recommend you make time to do so), you must visit Stow on the Wold (the most picturesque story book village in the area) and you must have a tea (or coffee) and eat at the famous Huffkins Tea Rooms.
Started in 1890, the business has only had 3, yes, THREE families own/manage/run the business. Topsie and Faith are sisters and have been the proud owners for 18 years.
I was lucky enough to meet Topsie when we popped in for morning tea. There was a sign on the counter top that read ' We Supply our Handmade Fruit Cakes to the Royal Palaces' and I asked 'how does a small business in the Cotswolds achieve this honour?' which started a delightful conversation with a very lovely lady - just look at that smile!
|A very proud Topsie showing off their status|
as provider of Fruit Cakes to the
Turns out, you just rock on up to Buckingham Palace on designated tasting days, when Palace officials are sourcing new providers and wait in a long line with others doing the same thing.
About 18 months ago, Faith took a few fruit cakes to Buckingham Palace on such a day and the cakes were tasted and very much enjoyed. They submitted ingredients and other paperwork and voila! Huffkins provides the Royal Palaces with Fruit Cakes.
They also provide fruitcake to Fortnum and Mason and several other London stores, as well as their own tea rooms throughout the Cotswolds and even Japan!
In 5 years, they will be eligible to receive the Royal Seal which will be simply another well earned recognition in the businesses esteemed history.
The Royal Warrant is a fascinating English tradition dating back to 1840. It started because there was such fierce competition from local business and farmers to do business with the King, that a criteria was established and only those who could at the minimum meet them were considered.
There are around 800 Royal Warrants today. Click here for the full list.
Huffkins is in incredible company, and deservedly so. We absolutely enjoyed our delicious lunch, the coffee was great, and the cakes DIVINE as you can see in the photo's below.
We look forward to following Huffkins (and returning one day for another visit) as they bide their time over the next few years, waiting for their Royal Warrant.
If you see Topsie or Faith, please say ms-havachat from Sydney says hi.