The invitation's a little smudged but you get the gist. Just follow the smell of baking bread.
Can a garden party without an actual garden, in fact be called a garden party? Well, I'm not sure if the small patch of grass along the laneway where the Gail's Bakery party took place could be considered a garden but nonetheless, the amount of cakes and pastries made up for the lack of greenery. Gail's Garden Party, held annually in Hampstead was every carb lover's dream, with enough cakes, sandwiches, breads and sweets to make your blood sugar curdle.
A tower of delight- cannelles, iced lavender and almond cake and some flourless chocolate cakes in the foreground.There was the chilli chutney stand, Spanish chorizo and exotic sausages and the odd cheese stall peppered throughout, namely the iconic Neal's Yard Dairy, however most of the focus was on Gail's magnificent selection of baked goods. There was more flour and sugar in this one narrow laneway than you could shake a stick at. I was in my element.
Multigrain and artisan loaves; beautifully glazed challah bread; Neal's Yard Dairy stall; blue vein cheese.
Precision slicing of jamon; panini central; chorizo picante for those who like it hot; stuffed green olives wrapped in sardines.
Slices, muffins and bread sticks, all part of the enticing window display at Gail's Hampstead; orange and poppyseed cakes; classic carrot cake; pistachio filled meringue.With a grin from ear to ear I made my way through stall after stall of goodies to ease that grumbling tummy. After a sun-dried tomato sandwich and some cheese, I decided on some iced lavender and almond cakes and a couple of incredibly beautiful cannelles- my new vice.
Front counter goodies- iced lavender and almond cakes, beautifully moist and aromatic.
I have never come across cannelles being sold at bakeries in Sydney, so seeing so many around and about London really is a novelty. My first taste were at the Borough Markets, 3 cannelles for a pound; they were delicious, a little chewy, but for my first ever cannelles I didn't know what to expect. The cannelles at Gail's were a little bit more spongey and light, less chewy and more airy. So I'm not sure which one is more authentic, or whether they are both, all I know is I'm happy to be polishing off either one right now.
Gail's cannelles were soft, light and airy, and not to mention incredibly moreish.
It's not a party without a bit of booze, wild boar salchichon; cookies, pastries and quiches at the outdoor Gail's stand; German sausage sizzle.
Gail's Bakery Hampstead
64 Hampstead High St
London NW3 1QH
Phone: 020 7794 5700
Gail's Bakery Notting Hill
138 Portobello Rd
London W11 2DZ
Phone: 020 7460 0766
5 Circus Rd
London NW8 6NX
Phone: 020 7722 0983