Save room for dessert they say. Yet there is always room for dessert…how contradicting! Reminds me of my mid-afternoon sweet tooth–a craving for something sweet yet light and fluffy, maybe even paired with something bold and herbaceous. It’s no wonder that in England they make time for tea. In the late 1800s, men and women began gathering to enjoy cakes and pastries served with tea from their silver pots and china cups. High tea or afternoon tea became a mini meal to fill the hunger until dinner.
Traditions such as this still hold today in gelaterias and pastry shops. Men, women, and children line up for an afternoon “treat” of delicious gelato flavors showcased in silver pans and served in plastic cups. Always-trending cake-inspired gelato flavors such as strawberry shortcake, triple chocolate, birthday cake, and pistachio are always the first to go. Gelato cases today are strategically planned to hold classic flavors like vanilla and mint chocolate chip but also showcase unique offerings like butter pecan with carrot cake.
Like those who hosted afternoon tea in the past, the goal is to not only satisfy the guests but to surprise them. In regard to cake-flavored gelato, gelaterias are taking it a step further and combining cake flavors with floral and fruity gelato flavors to create a new taste experience. Trends such as wedding cakes and flavors inspired by the royal wedding this year were released last month. Ample Hills Creamery released a limited-time cake-flavored gelato inspired by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake: lemon and elderflower with a ginger twist. In comparison to the English ritual of afternoon tea, this flavor parallels ginger tea and elderflower with a lemon sponge cake.
Subtle hints of bold and sweet have also been spotted from Blue Bell, a Texas-based creamery that recently released an almond ice cream with white cake pieces and amaretto-flavored cream cheese icing swirl known as Bride Cake. To complement this flavor, they have revived their Groom Cake flavor released almost ten years ago that consisted of chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake pieces, chocolate coated strawberry hearts, strawberry swirl, and chocolate icing. For a limited time, both flavors are available in matrimony, “until death do them part.” However, the cake-flavored gelato trend is here to stay.
Indulging in a scoop of both cake and tea gelato flavors is a modern day high tea. A simple pick-me-up afternoon “treat” does not need a special occasion because there is always time for tea and room for cake.