Fitzbillies: An insider's guide

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Fitzbillies is Cambridge’s most iconic café, and though it has had a somewhat turbulent history, its popularity has endured for nearly 100 years. Alison Wright, who owns Fitzbillies with her husband Tim, attributes the café’s success to its constantly rolling demographic; Thousands of students pass through Cambridge each year and fondly look back on Fitzbillies as part of their experience, often becoming life-long patrons. The couple rescued the business in 2012 after it went bankrupt, and were inspired by the reaction of the community and the media – Stephen Fry even posted a horrified tweet when he learned the shop was to close. Some of its recipes have been with the business from the very beginning, and have become classics.

Chelsea Buns

The iconic Chelsea Bun is Fitzbillies’ defining feature, and the recipe is a closely guarded secret passed through the decades. These fantastically gooey swirls are a delicate balance of honey and cinnamon flavours, dotted with a generous, but not overwhelming, portion of raisins. The fact they run a delivery service all over the world shows just how good they are!

Friand 

One of Alison’s favourites, the Friand (French for ‘dainty’) is a beautifully fluffy, zesty cake topped with a mixture of summer berries. It’s a great lighter alternative if you’re not in the mood for something too stodgy or filling. Its perfect balance of sweet and sharp notes leaves your palate refreshed.  

Scones

A classic done to perfection: Fitzbillies’ scones are generously portioned, subtly flavoured with a nice crumbly texture. The fruit scone can be bought individually, or as part of afternoon tea, and comes with thick clotted cream and delicious fruit jam. The cheese scones are well seasoned with a blend of herbs and are exquisite with a good dollop of butter. 

These are just some of Fitzbillies’ sumptuous offerings; they also make celebration cakes, a range of cream cakes and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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