When I was a teen spending my Saturday afternoons hanging out in the town centre of Hastings with my best friend, this used to be a shoe shop. That was actually the last time I went in there because, for the last few years, it's been a Costa coffee shop. I don't drink coffee, or tea come to that, so I've never had any desire to call in to Costa Coffee. Until an email landed in my inbox inviting me to go along and try out some of their tasty baked products. It turns out that, all this time, I've been seriously missing out. Costa do so much more than just posh coffee !
To be honest, I did actually know that they served sweet treats to go with your shot of caffeine, but I didn't know they also sell paninis, toasties, sandwiches and wraps. They look really nice and fresh so it's definitely another option to look into when we need a quick family meal out and want to avoid the usual fast food suspects.
But on to the task at hand. We'd been invited along to try out their limited-edition Easter Teacake, described as "a soft sweet dough, jam-packed with juicy sultanas and jumbo Chilean flame raisins and hand finished with an Easter cross."
I'd have called it a Hot Cross Bun rather than an Easter Teacake, but whatever you call it, it was very nice. I usually eat hot cross buns cold, straight from a pack plucked off a supermarket shelf and spread with butter, but toasting them does give them a lovely texture. The Costa Easter Teacake is soft and chewy with a lovely crunchy crispness where it's been toasted. They haven't skimped on the raisins so you get a lovely sweetness coming through - basically, it's a very nice hot cross bun. It's not as spicy as I'd have liked - I always like the warming spices coming through as you chew a hot cross bun - but the kids actually preferred this. I was impressed with the price too - £1.65, which is cheaper than a lot of options, especially as it's big enough to cut in half and share.
The Hot Cross Teacake isn't the only seasonal treat on offer - the Easter specials also include Chocolate Cornflake Crunch (cornflake cakes topped with Mini Eggs, what's not to like ?!), Pecan and Maple Muffins, Malty Chocolate Crunch and Mini Lemon and Raspberry Cakes.
We'd been given a second task though - it's such a tough life being a blogger ! - and settled down to sample their Layered Carrot Cake. The kids were not at all sure about eating a cake containing carrots - they thought I was joking initially ! - but they were reassured when they saw that it wasn't bright orange, as they expected ! They had a taste and loved the soft texture and the cream cheese icing but they were put off by the nutty flavour of the cake. Which wasn't a bad thing because it meant all the more for me ! The Carrot Cake is apparently Costa's most popular whole cake and since its launch in 2009, Costa has sold over 5.9 million slices, which corresponds to a whopping 23,517 slices every week - I can see why ! The £2.10 price tag is again quite reasonable for the size of the slice.
This was our first venture into Costa but it certainly won't be our last !
Disclosure : We received a voucher to sample the products and write an honest review.