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Taste Wells baked their way to victory in first ever Tunbridge Wells Cake Off this month

Taste Wells of Royal Victoria Place shopping centre have beaten the Pantiles traders to scoop the inaugural Royal Tunbridge Wells Cake Off trophy, 2022. Designed to support the town centre’s hospitality sector while celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Royal Tunbridge Wells Cake Off is the concept of the RTW Together Business Improvement District.

Taking place on Saturday 4th June, 11am-3pm, on the Pantiles, members of the public sampled a variety of free ‘royal themed’ cakes, and voted for their favourite in their droves. Taste Wells were the cream of the crop by only ONE VOTE, narrowly beating rivals The Zero Waste Company, Pantiles, and their Pimms and orange entry. The Cake Shed, Pantiles, came in a close third. Other contestants included Ruby’s of London, Monson Rd, The Plant Base, Camden Rd, Il Vesuvio, Camden Rd, Bubba & Me, Mount Pleasant and the Tunbridge Wells Hotel, Pantiles. Three vegan cakes were entered, ensuring there was something for everyone.

The chosen cake was an Elizabeth vanilla sponge with strawberry jam and rose water icing, decorated with edible rose petals and white crown.

Taste Wells founder, Sarah, who entered along with husband Derek and collaborating partner, Chef’s Pantry, says “We’re really, really chuffed, I told the team and they were all really pleased, it’s been amazing. We’ve worked with Chef’s Pantry for 15 years now. It’s just been great to take part, alongside so many other businesses, it’s just brilliant – hopefully it’ll be something we can do on an annual basis, it’s good for the town, and for independent retailers. We’ll be displaying the trophy in our shop! As a top of town business, taking the title during an event on The Pantiles is the icing on the cake!”

And it was a double day of celebrations for Taste Wells, who also marked 18 years since their opening on June 4th!

The event also featured live music from vintage jazz band Miss Kiddy and the Cads, as well as compering and music from KMFM. Other attractions included free face painting for children, with donations collected for local food bank charity, Nourish.

BID Director Sarah-Jane Adams was on hand to check who was whipping up the dessert of dreams – “We’re so pleased at the response the Cake Off has had – we were overwhelmed with visitors and despite having such a large quantity, ran out of cake much quicker than anticipated! It was exciting to see so many people of all generations sampling cake from across the town centre and hearing about hospitality names they hadn’t been to before, and for families to enjoy the free face painting and live music – there was a lot of fun with our chefs on stilts! Will there be a Cake Off 2023? Watch this plate!”

The winner was crowned on the bandstand at 3pm, receiving the Cake Off glass trophy, specially commissioned by the BID with Monson Road creative Glass by Claudia. In partnership with the Tunbridge Wells Hotel, Pantiles, the winning business will also receive an overnight stay for two in the honeymoon suite. The victorious cake maker will also feature on the front cover of the July issue of local SO Magazine, as well as the BID’s own town centre publication.

Owner of the Tunbridge Wells Hotel, Julian Leefe-Griffiths, commented “It’s great to have a Tunbridge Wells Cake Off – we’re practicing already, and hopefully we’ll compete strongly and do something lovely for the day. If it’s sunny we’ll do something fruit driven, and if it’s a bit colder we might go chocolate. The Jubilee is going to be fantastic, May and June are always, I think, the most beautiful summer months, hopefully the Queen turns out all chirpy, and will be celebrating, if not in Tunbridge Wells then somewhere equally Royal! Our plan for battle? Take everyone on and win!”

Fellow contestant Geff Stone, of the Plant Base, said before the day “It’s great to be part of the Cake Off! We love these events that bring the town together – we’re proud to be joining our fellow traders and look forward to destroying them in a friendly competition!”

RTW Together has also been producing a ‘cakeumentary’ film in the run up to the competition, created by Camden Road resident Simon Cossons, following the businesses as they prepare for baking battle, and created a souvenir booklet showcasing not just those taking part, but other town centre coffee and cake stops, such as Fine Grind, Momentum, Crumbs and Treacle, Black Dog Café, Kumquat Café, Hotel Chocolat, The Pantiles Café, Hudsons Bistro and Emilio’s Coffee. 1k copies were given away at the Cake Off.

The promotional team also put on a taster event in Royal Victoria Place shopping centre on Friday 3rd June, 11-3pm, promoting the event and giving away free cherry and Maderia cake from Larratt & Co, Chapel Place.

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