Fancy some stroopwafels and speculaas, or appeltaart and slagroomtaart? Then you’re in luck because the UK’s only café bakery serving Dutch baked sweet treats has set up at Harcourt Arboretum.
Dutch bakery Celia’s Cafe was started last October by Siobhan McMillan as a way of sharing her love of Dutch baked goods with Oxfordshire.
So she was really excited when she was invited to open up at Oxford’s Harcourt Arboretum. And then lockdown closed everything down before she’d even got started.
But now that Harcourt Arboretum has reopened (READ DETAILS HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/oxford-botanic-garden-arboretum-reopens-to-public-with-new-pre-booking-system/) Celia’s is now in a prime position to introduce you to the delights of her Dutch kitchen.
Serving homemade Dutch baked treats, Jericho Coffee Traders coffee beans, Jeeves & Jericho tea, Team Tea Ceylon iced tea, and proper Dutch Chocomel, there’s something for everyone to enjoy whilst they take a stroll through nature.
“I am so happy to be working at the arboretum and delighted that we were going to be able to work together after all,” she says.
Even so it’s been a tough few months for the new food-based company: “I attend farmers markets across Oxfordshire, but when the pandemic hit, they mostly got called off, except for East Oxford and Wolvercote, which is what has kept me afloat over the past few months,” she says.
“Starting my own business was tough at first though,” she admits.
“I moved back with my parents to save money, and sometimes it looked like I was never progressing, but even though it was tough, I was doing something that I loved, so wanted to stick with it, and thankfully things are finally turning around.
“I wanted to accomplish something by my 30th birthday (next month), and thanks to starting Celia’s Cafe, and getting Cora the Coffee Van I think that I finally have,” she smiles.
Born and raised in Carterton, Siobhan’s mother is Dutch but it’s her grandmother who inspired her in the kitchen. “I’ve always enjoyed baking, but my nana Celia, who my business is named after, was a great baker. There was always a Victoria sponge or bread pudding in the house, so I’ve tried to honour her through baking,” Siobhan explains.
“She was my biggest cheerleader; she would snip out recipes from newspapers and magazines for me to look at and try, and even when I was half way across the world, she was always asking what I’d been baking that week.”
So Siobhan’s Dutch heritage means a lot? “Being half Dutch, means visiting family in the Netherlands and getting to eat lots of tasty food, especially the cakes that went with a cup of coffee. You can’t beat a good bit of cake with a cup of tea!” she laughs.
“I like to think that my wares are fresh, good, no nonsense treats that are gonna put a smile on your face.”
So has it all been worth it? “Running Celia’s Café is by far the best (and most stressful) thing I’ve ever done, and the icing on the cake.”
You can find Celia’s Dutch bakery cafe at:
Wednesday to Friday, 10am-4pm
East Oxford Farmers Market
For more information go to: https://www.celias-cafe.com