Culinary Quest: High Tea at Charly’s Bakery

Afternoon Tea, is one of the most particular dining dances you can embark on. It is an adventure of flavour for sure, an exacting review of decorum and, when it’s exceptional, it is a culinary quest many travel miles for.

Afternoon Tea, colloquially referred to as High Tea, is a centuries-old Western tradition, birthed from European high society ladies wanting to sate their munchies between Breakfast and Lunch – subsequently doing so, in spectacular fashion!

Recently, I seized the opportunity to try and recapture the magic of Afternoon Tea – which I had always enjoyed in lofty Cape eateries and hotels, and had so dearly missed during the national lockdown. To have the classic ‘High Tea’ experience during this global pandemic, seemed a wishful thought. However, there is one place packaging High Tea euphoria, with a pretty pink bow, and you may have heard of them: Charly’s Bakery.

This place is sweet – in its finery, baked goodness, and kindness. You would be hard-pressed to find another boutique Cape Town bakery nearly as cavity-inducing in its treatment of visitors, community, and the art of baking.

Described as “family” to those who frequent its rosy periwinkle store, this female entrepreneurs-owned bakery, situated in an eye-catching 2-storey Victorian building at 38 Canterbury Street (on the border of the historical District 6 in Cape Town), serves tasty treats with a cheeky spin on measure and design.

If you took all the best parts of a classic patisserie – all the unpretentious bits of its splendour – you’d have the delectable and utterly indulgent High Tea now offered up by the acclaimed Charly’s Bakery.

“Make with your hands, the gift of love.”

If you’re like me, hunkered in at home and craving the indulgent opulence of a decadent Afternoon Tea, then order in the experience from the comfort of home. Charly’s Bakery now has a bountiful High Tea boxed beautifully. Perfect for 2 (but an excess of storable pleasure for 1 too) the High Tea menu is incredible in its diverse and inclusive offerings.

In clear distinction of the specific differences between Afternoon Tea and High Tea, Charly’s Bakery veers more on the side of High Tea – shrugging aside the lightness of the former (and its traditional markers, like Belle Helene), for the heartier alternative.

Savory Options to choose from, include:

Bacon, Mozzarella, Mushroom, and Onion crustless Quiches, mini Butternut, Goats Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Caramelized Onion pies in phyllo parcels, vanilla Petit Fours, Almond Tartlets, mini Palmiers and more.

Already feeling spoiled? There’s more, and its sweeter.

Bite into a slice of Lemon Meringue, Hummingbird, Blueberry and White Chocolate Baked Cheese Cake, or even the Chocolate Truffle Mouse Cake.

Looking for something a bit more cute and handy?

Indulge yourself with a Beetroot Red Velvet cupcake iced with white chocolate buttercream, a Chocolate Poop Emoji cupcake (yeah, they make those too!), or go Vegan with their Chocolate Coconut cupcake iced in coconut cream ganache.

Spill the tea, on Tea Service

For those particular like I am, about teas, you’ll not get the customary tea experience aspect of Charly’s Bakery High Tea. I regularly blog that I go about ensuring an establishment uses the right tea sets, as well as high-quality tea bags, or fine loose tea like JING teas. I’m of the mind that an impeccably steeped cuppa, is required drinking at Afternoon Tea – but I have slowly come around to trying other drinks during my foodie vigil, primarily due to the weather changes around the world. Now, I’m in a place where I don’t mind teaming my Charly’s Bakery High Tea delights, with a Chai Latte, or even a glass to soda.

Make do with your china and spoons at home, or do as I did, and invest in a beautiful and functional tea set for Afternoon tea and travel magazine reading time.

Luckily, this particular High Tea box has the taste adventure also best matched with a Rosé, or champagne – so…you know…toast to that?

To have and to gorge once again?

If my metabolism could stand the overload of goodness, I’d probably have this High Tea daily, but since it cannot, I guess I’ll pre-order my second round of this High Tea for next month soon – but don’t let that stop you from ordering right now!

Pilgrimage to the Charly’s Bakery store for High Tea pick-up if you so choose, as it’d be particularly worth it for the “full” bakery experience too – involving delightfully light decor, warm and bubbly service, and social distancing protocols observed.

I miss having fellow diners to people-watch, but entertaining myself has its own merits.

By my recommendation for High Tea at home:

Charly’s Bakery

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