There is a truth universally acknowledged, that a married lady in possession of a credit card must be in want of coffee and shopping. So I’ve left my Mr Darcy painting the kitchen, and taken a sunny drive out to Beaumaris with my friend Jackie.
If you’re a North Walian I don’t need to tell you about the magnificent talent that is Janet Bell. She’s a super talented artist, creator of some of the most iconic paintings of the Isle of Anglesey. She’s endlessly creative, she’s an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word, and she’s the proud owner of 2 beautiful shops in Beaumaris.
THE NAME’S BELL, JANET BELL
We JBs have to stick together you know! (did you see what I did there?)
In 2007, Janet moved her family from Chester to Anglesey and Janet Bell Gallery opened it’s doors in the lovely town of Beaumaris.
Janet Bell Shop/Studio/Fika, as it’s now known, is undoubtedly my most favourite shop. In the world.
The Scandinavia influence is unmissable and it’s the Fika part I want to tell you about today.
Janet’s Danish heritage is all over her shop. We know about ‘hygge’ – the Danish concept that is roughly translated as ‘a general state of lovely cosiness’.
Well pay attention because there’s a new word to learn …
We all do it. We just didn’t know it had a cute name.
Fika basically means to meet up, have coffee and a chit chat. Fika can be taken at any time of the day and can be a quick 10 minutes or a whole relaxed morning.
To do FIKA well, you need good quality coffee. Apparently the Scandis drink more coffee than any other nation – even the Italians. Who knew? They love their filter coffee. Very strong. At least 2 or 3 cups in one sitting. You may have also heard that the Danes are the happiest people on earth. Maybe it’s the coffee?
There’s only one place to find true happiness, this side of Copenhagen – it’s on the cute chairs and pink cushions of Janet Bell Home.
The shop is perfectly placed in a delightful sun trap. If you pick a good day like we did, there are up to 10 lovely seats outside where you will be served gorgeous filter coffee, danish style, in the sunshine.
But here’s the twist. We’re in Wales and proud to support our local producers. The coffee you are served is freshly ground by Poblado Coffi, a local artisan coffee producer, just across the Menai Straits in the Snowdonia mountains.
We sipped the ‘Filter Coffee of the Day’ a lovely medium roast Poblado House blend and it was delicious. And if you stay long enough, they’ll fill up your cup a few times.
Other coffee options include the V60 Pour over coffee – Sumatran with notes of plum, sweet tobacco and tamarind. It’s all about the way the water pours through the V60 thingy, apparently.
If you’re a tea lover, you can enjoy 7 different flavours from Hoogly Tea in Brighton, or stick with a pot of good old English Breakfast Tea.
Next time, I’ll be trying the Swedish Oatly Chocolate Milk – either cold, or hot with marshmallows. Sounds so cosy, or should I say hygge?
7 KIND OF CAKES
One day I hope to meet Rebecca, the maestro behind ‘Stickybeak Cakes‘. We seem to have a lot in common. North Walian. Professional Homebaker. Delicious hand baked cakes in small batches.
Rebecca has a particular love of danish recipes and scandi bakes so she’s the perfect match for Janet’s Fika.
We had a choice of Danish Drommekage (Coconut Dream Cake), Swedish Kladdkaka (gooey chocolatey thing), and Almond and Caramel Toscaka. All looked amazing and had it not been so close to lunch time we’d have tried them all.
Back in 1940s Sweden, a book was published called ‘Sju Sorters Kakor’ which translates ‘7 kinds of cake’. The book of course contained 100s of baking ideas but 7 was the number of different homemade cakes a good housewife should offer to guests that might appear at Fika time. Six offerings and you were considered lazy, 8 and you were showing off.
In Denmark, a similar tradition evolved but involved 7 types of biscuits as well as the 7 cakes. Imagine. Every home would have been it’s own coffee shop. How did these ladies get anything else done?
Every coffee at Janet Bell Home is served with a baby biscuit on the side. So cute. We also ordered the “Bowl of Danish Biscuits” – a delicious selection of 3 traditional sweet and sugary cookies, none of which I can pronounce, so I won’t even try. The perfect accompaniment to the filter coffee.
We cover everything in our review. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less. One of Janet’s passions (and mine – which is why I’m her ideal customer) is artisan ceramics so you’ll not get your coffee in any old cup. Oh no.
Hooray for Tone von Krogh – these adorable cups are selling like hot cakes and it’s easy to see why. If you love to hug your mug, these are ideal. And don’t worry about the “no handle” thing. It just means that when the cup is cool enough to hold, the coffee’s at the perfect temperature to drink.
One of the many good thing about sitting inside Janet Bell, apart from all the relaxing you can do, is that you can decide what lovely things you’re going to treat yourself to – after your coffee. I always tell people it’s the perfect shop for gift buying – which is true – but more often than not, I end up buying little things for myself. I know. But it’s so hard to resist.
So what did I buy today?
A little jug. To match the 2 cute cups I bought last time. But I gave it to Mr Bond to wrap up for my birthday. So does it still count?
Maybe see you there one day? Don’t leave it too long.