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Review: Rumsey’s chocolaterie, Thame

In need of a choccy fix? Er, always! The much-loved chocolaterie and café is offering local delivery (ditto the Wendover branch). Read our updated review here.

A teen often needs encouragement to get out of pyjamas by midday, but I found mine strangely compliant when I asked her to accompany me to Rumsey’s in Thame the other morning. It seems like chocolate can be the answer in these troubling times and business was still thriving during our visit to check out their recent refurb. A word to the wise: we many not be able to venture out right now, but you can still get your choccy fix. Rumsey’s are offering sandwich, cake and chocolate delivery in Thame and Wendover, plus you can buy their cocoa delights online and they’ll post ‘em. Or you can support them by buying a voucher online to use later. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

The Lowdown

Rumsey's, Thame

Rumsey’s first opened in Wendover in Feb 2004, with the Thame outpost arriving 3 years later. Head honcho and master chocolatier Nigel Rumsey started making chocolates in 1991 alongside his job as a pastry chef, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The Vibe

Rumsey's menu

Bog-standard coffee shop chain, it is not. On arrival, it’s hard not to stare at the chefs behind their glass partition, creating artisan chocolates and decorations from scratch. We drooled over the vat of melted chocolate (not literally, don’t worry) while marvelling at how the staff remained so slim, with temptation at every turn. This time of year is always a chocoholic’s dream and the front of house is beautifully decorated with boxes of hand-made chocolates for Mother’s Day and some stunningly designed Easter Eggs, lollipops and chicks.

Rumsey's interiors

Rumsey’s has recently undergone a mini refurb, with the chocolates and goods to purchase now situated tantalisingly close to the entrance. The restaurant itself is deceptively spacious, and attracts a broad age range.  When we visited we noted one or two of the older crowd flouting the social distancing rule, but there is plenty of space for teens to share a chocolate fondue, or mums to meet with room for their prams.

Scoff & Quaff

While Rumsey’s is renowned for its chocolatey treats, it’s worth knowing that you can also pick up a mean all-day breakfast, cooked from scratch, along with various lunchtime savoury dishes. As the teen had only just got out of bed, she made the most of the scrambled egg on toast, noting the cook’s attention to detail – the little pats of butter were piped into a flower shape. Her brunch was washed down with a thick chocolate milkshake, a chocolate chip cookie and some complimentary homemade chocolate ‘buttons’. Blimey.

Rumsey's milkshake

I opted for the Gouda cheese and mushroom toastie, which was melt-in-the-mouth delicious, with homemade coleslaw on the side. I then tackled the house hot chocolate, a Rumsey’s speciality. It was thick and dense; a really decadent treat. My daughter wasn’t familiar with the Muddy elasticated reviewing trousers but she certainly is now, having then bravely taken on a slice of Millionaire shortbread. A hot apple and cinnamon drink cut through the sweetness and what she couldn’t manage was packaged up to take home.

Rumsey's hot chocolate

I concluded with the nicest churros I’ve had outside Spain (and let’s face it nobody’s going there any time soon sadly), arriving with a pleasingly thick melted chocolate dipping sauce. I staggered out before falling into a cocoa-induced coma and couldn’t fit in another bite for the rest of the day.

Rumsey's churros

Out & About

Phoenix Trail

You can work off those calories by taking a power walk along the Phoenix Trail that runs from Thame to Princes Risborough. The town also has its own theatre/cinema, a thriving weekly market on Tuesdays and a buzzy high street, with a pleasingly high ratio of indie enterprises. The groovy gift shop FROM is a particular favourite of ours.

The Muddy Verdict

Good for: Chocoholics, obvs (anyone who buys my Easter Egg from here will be my best friend forever). Coffee and cake or lunch with your mum/daughter, or families after a chocolatey treat.

Not for: Er, people who don’t like chocolate. Those on a diet (you’re doomed here!), and those who prefer their caffs with ultra-modern interiors – Rumsey’s is still traditional at its core.

The damage: Good value, with a hot chocolate, cream and marshmallows £3, milkshake with 2 scoops of ice cream at £5.25, treats and tray bakes from £2.75 and larger cakes £5.25.

Rumsey’s Handmade Chocolates, 8 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER. Tel: 01844 260 303

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