In anticipation of our extended holiday to the Southern hemisphere - to meet the latest addition to the clan and celebrate an auspicious birthday – I’ve given up booze and sugary stuff and pretty much anything worth eating or drinking. It’s boring, and joyless, and I’ve already found myself having a two-pint Guinness lunch ‘cos it’s St Patrick’s Day’ and eating a steak and kidney pudding for breakfast ‘just because’.
Thankfully, as the salad-eating regime has been less than half-hearted on occasion, there's still been plenty of opportunities to support the Works, the latest indie offering on Wycombe’s high street. With its selection of - temporarily verboten - ice creams, cookies, pancakes, waffles and milkshakes, and their lovely staff who bring a little extra sweetness to the proceedings.
It’s not all kid’s stuff, with a drinks menu that includes beers such as the peerless Beavertown Gamma Ray and Meantime, boozy shakes, cider, wine and champagne. The prosecco comes on tap and can be ordered with a variety of different fruity adornments or even with their homemade sorbet for a decidedly grown-up slushie. Perfect for taking pictures of people taking pictures for Instagram.
After visiting their original branch in Aylesbury for a deliciously ostentatious golden Ferrero Rocher ice cream sundae the Christmas before last, their most recent festive offerings included a turkey dinner, complete with stuffing, bacon and cranberry sauce, stuffed inside a Belgian waffle. As much as I love the combination of sweet and savoury, I would have preferred the advertised gravy rather than a slick of maple syrup across the top. Otherwise, top marks.
Other fillings I’ve enjoyed, which can be served on either a freshly made waffle or crepe, include chorizo and roasted pepper; classic mozzarella, mushroom and spinach; and a dissected hot dog with beef chilli, jalapenos and onions (undocumented as I was sitting next to my boss while I was eating it, trying to avoid the inevitable grease stains down my shirt and salad in my teeth).
As good as the savoury offering are, and most are pretty good, it’s impossible to ignore the fridge filled with a cornucopia of different coloured gelato as you walk in. Available as individual scoops, with a variety of customisable toppings, or bring your appetite (or a a friend) and try one of their sundaes, which can all also be ordered on top of a waffle of crepe.
While there are a myriad of different combinations, including banoffee pie, hot apple caramel crumble and eton mess, my favourites are choc-based. Although a minor criticism is the low melting point of some of the flavours I’ve tried, notably the chocolate which seems to liquefy before you’ve stuck your spoon in the sundae glass. A small trade-off for such light and creamy gelato, I suppose, but dig-in quick (not a problem if you're with the Ewing) if you don’t want to drink your desert.
One of the ‘firmer’ flavours - and now a firm favourite after trying (several) helpings when they had their recent pound a scoop promotion – is the Peanutella, peanut ice cream swirled with a ribbon of melted chocolate and whole nuts. This is genuinely one of the best ice creams I have eaten and is particularly good in the Nutty Professor sundae; with pistachio and chocolate ice creams, toffee sauce and extra nuts; or, even better, served as an affogato with a double espresso.
Not only is it torturous that I frequently have to walk past, I now see on social media that their range of gelato has been joined by a salted peanut butter chocolate pretzel flavour and they have a new Easter Egg Hunt sundae on waffle - topped with gelato, whipped cream, Malteser bunnies, Creme Eggs and a 'surprise'. Maybe there's time for one last blowout before I have to fit into my beach wear...