Treating your loved one with a tour of London’s sweet spots is an experience of incomparable indulgence. “Why have only one box of chocolates when you can have a whole tour filled with sweets?” laughs self-professed foodie and Founder of Sweet Tooth Tours, Lynne Staartjes.
Based in London and Paris, the trained pastry chef worked at Peggy Porschen Cakes and Pierre Hermé Paris before completing her diploma in pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu. Having established Sweet Tooth Tours in 2017, Lynne has made it her mission to share and support the City’s small independent businesses, and take guests around Belgravia to discover its edible hidden gems.
“Belgravia does a lovely job looking festive for all holidays and Valentine’s is definitely one of them,” she says as she guides us through her Signature Tour which includes tasting portions at several stops, on foot. Up to six guests can immerse themselves in the flavoursome stories behind the shops and their owners and learn more about the desserts. The intimate groups can get behind the scenes and peek into the on-site kitchens and chat with the shop owners. It’s journey for the taste buds and the mind, covering stories and history of the local area.
“I especially love all of the people I get to meet,” says Lynne. “I have really enjoyed building relationships with the shopkeepers and owners who are so passionate about what they do. I have also been so lucky to have so many fabulous guests on the tours. Everyone comes with an open mind and empty stomach and their own fascinating story. I’m often sad when the tours are over and I have to say goodbye.
While the tours are popular for children’s birthday parties, baby showers, or hen-dos, Lynne’s bespoke tours offer an even more indulgent and private experience for couples.
“We usually use blindfolds at Pierre Hermé for a blind tasting of macarons…so I’ll let you use your imagination there! But for our bespoke tours the options are endless! The most luxurious – and romantic being our Rolls-Royce tour. Like our Signature Tour it includes stops at five sweet-spots to indulge in their delicacies but instead of walking between shops, you are whisked away by chauffeur in the comfort of a Rolls-Royce with a bottle of vintage Perrier-Jouët champagne.”
Another option for tours is to choose a hands-on baking element, where Lynne can come to your own home or chosen venue to offer an ‘interactive’ course such as bread or scone making and cake decorating. She can also look at the potential of getting in the kitchen at one of the tour stops. There is much potential to have an individualised experience, with Lynne varying the stops and routes. There is also a gluten-free version or the Sugar and Spice tour which also incorporates savoury stops.
For those who want to go further afield, Sweet Tooth Tours will be up and running in Paris by Spring 2019. The Paris tours will explore luxurious, lesser known neighbourhoods and Lynne is currently in the process of taste-testing to put together an exclusive variety of chocolate, cheese, ice cream, vienoisseries in the romantic city. She tells me that while the Paris tours are similar to the London versions, they will have a uniquely French theme. “In London, the tours cover many international foods – from Sardinian gelato to Swedish cinnamon buns – whereas in Paris, they will focus on French specialties. In Paris we’ll also have the opportunity to visit fresh food markets. I’ll make sure that every calorie remains worth it!”
The Signature Belgravia Tour is £58 per person. And private tours are £400 for up to six guests.
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