After the bright lights, frantic rush and lively merriment of Christmas comes the inevitably dark and damp new year.
Greyer than an elephant on a battleship, the first couple of months seem to stretch endlessly and coldly, and it’s not surprising that TV adverts turn to tempting us into holiday booking.
But luckily, we Prestonians need not go too far to find a little ray of sunshine right on our very own doorstep.
Smack in the middle of town, staring straight at the imposing Neo-Classical columns of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, is a small but warm and sunny outpost of South America.
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It’s interior (and website come to that) radiates reds, oranges and yellows, so that as you arrive, forcefully blown in off the street, hair dripping, you are met with an immediately warm welcome.
Cafune is a gem; a pretty, cosy little shop that will not only give you beautiful food and cheerful service, but will attempt to give you a little learning of the Latin Americans.
It’s authentic too; this family run business is courtesy of Brazillian-born Livia and Preston-born Sean who travelled said continent before settling in Ecuador to teach English.
Understandably then, the menu is packed with unfamiliar but delicious sounding treats that the couple brought back with them from their travels, and their coffee - sourced from Colombian and Brazillian farms - is worth the trip alone.
Helpfully, there’s even pronunciation help on the menu to save you looking a complete dope while ordering.
On this occasion we found ourselves there for breakfast, but the choice was still a tough one.
Their full ‘English’, if you’ll pardon the expression, comes with black beans, fried plantain and avocado, served with an arepa (a toasty corn meal bun).
There’s more familiar options too; porridge, toast, bacon rolls etc, but I chose Llapingachos (“Ya-pin-ga-chos”) and opposite me was Huevos Pericos and a side order of pancakes with fresh banana and toffee sauce.
Mine was essentially an Ecuadorian hash brown or potato cake, but filled with cheese and served with two eggs.
A simple idea but so effective; perfectly cooked eggs sat on top of a pile of stringy-cheesed potato loveliness and an added hot sauce kick made me forget the weather, despite the splendid view of the damp city before us.
Huevos Pericos was going down a treat too - fresh tomato, onion and mature cheddar cheese cooked with scrambled eggs in a toasted arepa.
With breakfast finished I’d have happily stayed for lunch with the promise of further far-flung treasures on offer.
Signature sandwiches from around the continent include “Chivito” (the Uruguayan national sandwich), “Bauru” (a Brazillian street sandwich) and “Butifarra” (popular in Peru, apparently).
Suitably warmed and with the accompanying South Armerican music drifting softly across our table, I was tempted to finish-up and go for a dip in the pool, which was rapidly forming in the Flag Market.