I recently stayed with friends in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. After a stroll by the river they suggested having tea in an uneven, Grade II-listed building with old-fashioned bay windows. I agreed, with no idea what a treat my visit to Burgers would be.
On entering, the aroma of fresh baking and tempting displays of decidedly haute patisserie (first picture) and chocolates were instant signifiers: this was no ordinary shop-cum-café. My friends relayed a bit of its history. It was started by Eric and Marie Burger (pronounced bur-jer, as the name originates from the French-speaking area of Neuchâtel in Switzerland), who came to Marlow in 1942, bringing with them the seemingly innate Swiss talent for creating fine confectionery. Their sons, Philippe and Bernard, both trained in the business, which is now run by Bernard and his daughter, Rachel. And it’s clear why this third-generation family company still prospers.
I found the pralines, dark chocolate caramels and glossy ganache truffles – all made on the premises using traditional recipes – irresistible enough to have bought my own selection of loose chocolates (£16.95 for 300g) before we’d even reached the tearoom. (Gift boxes of rose and violet cremes, stem ginger or a Swiss selection are also available – 150g, £9.45; 300g, £16.95; second picture).
As befits its Swiss pedigree, the small, traditionally styled tearoom serves Continental breakfast with freshly baked croissants from 8.30am, moving on through morning coffee and then a small selection of lunch snacks such as Welsh rarebit. Our pots of Earl Grey came with freshly baked scones, clotted cream and a choice of jam – indulgent from a calorie standpoint, perhaps, but really quite restrained when we could, alternatively, have chosen toasted teacakes, chocolate éclairs, meringues or ganache torten.
Though we left thoroughly sated, we couldn’t resist buying a couple of the delicious-smelling artisanal loaves that come out of the oven each afternoon, before we reluctantly departed.