Rumsey’s: Chocoholics unite!
I have three children (yeah, are you feeling my pain?) and organising their birthdays is always a major pain in the bum for your slightly harrassed and hugely disorganised local superblogger.
I used to throw my kids into the garden and play games like Nerf War annihilation or Pin the Hair on Harry – a modern interpretation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, quite possibly my crowning creative moment. But last year (self-shame alert), none of my children received a birthday party at all. Don’t judge me, I was in the middle of the Muddy Awards and couldn’t breathe!
This year it is going to be different. Yes I could send them to a paint zone or trampoline park, but is there anything as perfect as a choco-guzzling exercise masquerading as a ‘learning experience?’ I think not. No, scrap that, I know not because my 9 and 7 year olds just spent a morning at Rumsey’s Chocolaterie in Thame (there’s also one in Wendover fyi), making the most amazing Easter chickens, eggs and baskets, and frankly now nowhere else will bleedin do even for a cappu-frickin-cino!
I should fill you in on a bit of history because Rumsey’s is a real institution around where I live. It has a beautiful café in Thame (launched c 2007 after the success of the first cafe in Wendover three years earlier) with a classy retro feel (think French bistro meets British Victorian shop – its counter is to-die-for). But the chocolatering is what sets it apart from other local cafes, with its emphasis on making its own quality confectionary.
If you’re wondering where this sweety magic takes place, there’s a fantastic ‘choco school’ at Rumseys in Thame, seen through a glass wall from the main cafe by exhilarated parents who can get high on coffee and stuff their face with chocolate for an hour without fear of their whining children nicking their brownies. For larger parties, the back of the cafe is transformed into a chocolate-making nirvana (don’t ask me how, that’s their problem, I just know it happens!).
Either way, it’s a sugar-rush of fun and the lovely thing is the kids can take away with them what they create. My children, under the tutorlege of Mr Rumsey himself (surely an OBE for Services to Obnoxious Children of Bloggers on its way any time now), created a frankly mind-bendingly beautiful choccy hen, glossy basket and 9 beautifully wrapped chocolate eggs in 2 hours, with a 15 minute break for sandwich demolition in the middle, while poor Mr Rumsey weeped silently in a backroom and tried to compose himself for Round Two.
Totally unaware of the carnage they were inflicting, my children were elated by the whole experience, particularly the decorating of their chickens which culminated in a kind of choccy balayage being applied for the chicken wing detail. I’m not kidding! They were unfeasibly proud of what they’d made, and spent at least 30 seconds admiring their work before locusting the whole thing.
So I think what I’m trying to say here is that a Rumsey’s chocolate making party gets massive, sticky, chocolatey thumbs up. Book up that sucker and wrap it in ribbon!
THE MUDDY VERCICT:
Good for: Well behaved groups. I’m thinking 7-12 is the ideal age for this class. Old enough to listen to instructions, young enough not to flick the ingredients around the room or smeer other innocent attendees.
Not for: Children who need to be thoroughly exercised. This requires some attention to detail and control in the face of huge pots of chocolate!
Prices? £36 per child to make their own set of six lollipops using milk and white chocolate but £12+ of that will be given back in terms of the chocolate they take away (and the lack of rubbish party bags you have to provide) plus party food, in fact I think that’s good value. If you’re an adult and would like to take a class, it starts at £57 for a figurine course.
Rumsey’s of Thame, 8 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3ER. Rumsey’s of Wendover, The Old Bank, 26 High Street, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6EA. rumseys.co.uk