Cafés, coffee, cakes & bakes

Tomorrow (30 September) marks the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning where Macmillan’s hosts its largest fundraising event for people facing cancer. Established in 1990, people and cafés all over the UK will be hosting their own coffee mornings to raise money and many coffee shops in the area are taking part (find local coffee mornings here or you can donate online here).

Ross-on-Wye’s café culture is booming and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy local handmade cakes and bakes washed down with a local brew. And when we say local we mean local – many of our coffee shops use Ross-on-Wye’s very own James Gourmet Coffee – high quality specialty coffee produced by a small family-run company. As well as providing a wholesale service to the food service trade, you can buy their fantastic range of coffee, tea and chocolate from their online shop. The impressive range of filter, espresso and organic coffees are sourced from all over the globe including Guatemala, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Kenya, El Salvador, Brazil, Tanzania and Colombia. They also a offer a range of teas from Nilgiri – the mountain range in the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu, bordering Kerala and Karnataka – try their black tea with cinnamon, peony white tea, bamboo green tea or their roasted smokey-sweet kukicha green tea.

In addition to the high street coffee chains – Costa Coffee and the recently opened Coffee #1 – there are many independent cafés dotted around Ross-on-Wye’s town centre which offer lots of lovely home made local produce and savoury treats. Adjacent to the Market House, you’ll find The Gingernut Café which sells a range of coffees and flavoured syrups plus a constantly changing menu of home made cakes including their classic Victoria Sponge. Below the Market Square, the popular Caffe Eleganza, who also stock James Gourmet Coffee, offers outside seating and an excellent menu – from classic cakes to soups, sandwiches and salads.

The oldest café in Ross, The Priory Coffee House, is located a little further along the High Street and is a firm favourite with locals and visitors, as is Truffles Delicatessen, where you can enjoy a coffee and one of Hayley’s delicious home made cakes or perhaps an indulgent cruffin, whilst watching the world go by from one of the window seats.

Gelatis on Broad Street serves the full range of teas and coffees, plus an American diner menu offering an impressive range of high quality burgers using 100% Herefordshire beef plus hot dogs, milkshakes, ice cream, crêpes and waffles. Try one of their Super Sundaes packed with ‘to die for’ flavoured ice cream, syrups, sweets, chocolate, cream and all manner of toppings – your kids will love you forever.

Further down at the bottom of Broad Street, you’ll come across the latest addition to the range of independent coffee shops, Victoria’s, which is dog-friendly, offers a huge range of delicious, speciality cakes and savoury bakes (including vegan and gluten-free) and has been beautifully styled using vintage wooden furniture and accessories. As well as the cakes on offer, you absolutely must try the homemade sausage rolls – filled with Hank’s Meat & Game sausage meat, diced chorizo and served warm with a chargrilled tomato chutney – you will be in heaven!

Just next door, with its brightly coloured windows and street art on the walls outside, you’ll find Ross-on-Wye’s only licensed vegetarian café, Jacqueline’s Vegetarian Café, which caters for everyone including vegans and those on gluten-free diets. A small independent business, the menu consists of homemade dishes cooked to the highest standard alongside a warm and friendly vibe. Dishes include soups, paninis, quiche, sandwiches plus afternoon tea, cakes and scones to eat in or takeaway. Make sure you try their Himalayan Stew if you’re visiting – highly recommended and one of their most popular dishes.

If you’re accompanied by your four legged friend, you’ll love Thorn’s Coffee Lounge, a delightful little café with outside seating, tucked away in Croft Court half way up Broad Street. Open in the week from 9.30am to 3.30pm and on Saturday from 8.30am, start the day with a coffee and one of their delicious breakfast wraps or check out their daily specials board which has something for everyone including vegetarian, vegan and kids’ meals.

For the green fingered amongst you, head to the Ross Garden Store a few minutes outside of the town centre at Station Approach (HR9 7BW) – they have a wonderful selection of plants, garden accessories, gifts and clothing. Nestled amongst the flowers, plants and hanging baskets, is The Engine Shed Café. Built in 1871 and decommissioned in 1963, this historical building was formerly part of the Great Western Railway and now serves a more static array of tea, coffee, cakes and hot & cold snacks daily.

Finally, if you fancy combining a coffee whilst supporting small local businesses, Wye Wednesday Market holds a coffee morning on their first market of the month at The Larruperz Centre in Ross to raise money for charities. The next one will take place on Wednesday 5 October 2022, where the team will be hosting a coffee morning to raise funds for Dementia UK, so pop along, enjoy some company and browse the beautiful hand made gifts from local crafters.