Here we are in Betty's tearooms. Our first visit to Betty's tearooms was in the City of York, also in Yorkshire. Both these establishments(and the smaller one in the RHS Gardens) are so popular that one always has to queue for some time to be seated. The food is good (if expensive) and the service excellent and the surroundings very elegant. One goes for the experience of dining in times past I guess. Today we queued for 30 minutes for lunch (almost an hour when in York) and 25 minutes for afternoon tea. Both times we opted to eat in the basement which meant about 10 minutes less queuing time. The basement is not so elegant as the ground floor and of course there are no windows. Lots of pictures in marquetry on the walls make up for this though.
While there I was asking our waiter if there was anything I could have on the history of Betty's and he immediately went to the office and photocopied a page from the menu book. Here is what it says:
"Where the Dales meet the Alps......"
Betty's is a family business. The first two generations were Swiss-born. My generation is thoroughly Yorkshire. This is why Betty's is both a continental cafe and a very English tea room. It has just evolved that way.
My great-uncle Frederick, our founder, died the year I was born, so I never knew him, but many of his 'pearls of wisdom' have been passed down the generations.
"Everything must be fresh and dainty".........
Our dishes are prepared to order, the traditional way;no short-cuts,no microwaves. It may take a little longer to serve you, but it will be freshly made and simply and daintily presented.
"If we want something just right, we have to do it ourselves".........
The bread, the cakes, the pastries, the chocolates; we've made them all at our Craft Bakery. We have even imported and blended the teas and roasted the coffees ourselves. Just to make sure you get the very best.
One subject my great-uncle kept curiously quiet about was the identity of Betty herself. Rumours and half-baked theories abound, but it really is a mystery.
You can read all about it in my new book- 'Hearts,Tarts and Rascals - The Story of Bettys'.
Jonathan Wild, Current Family member.