Saturday, 14 January 2017

Bettys Hot Chocolate



Do you ever go through phases of really craving certain foods or flavours? Before Christmas I went through one of those for Bettys Hot Chocolate and just couldn't get it off my mind. So whilst it's winter and still acceptable to enjoy full fat milky drinks all day and night, I placed an order for a couple of bags to see me through 'til Spring arrives.

Made up of a Vanilla and Swiss Dark Chocolate infusion, with 65% Cocoa solids from Venezuelan cocoa beans, Bettys Hot Chocolate is pure joy in a mug - and exactly what the doctor ordered if you're ever feeling a little under the weather.




Here's how to make the Perfect Bettys Hot Chocolate:

Ingredients
200ml Milk
5 heaped teaspoons of Bettys Hot Chocolate Flakes

Method
1. Pour a cup of milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat
2. Measure out five heaped teaspoons of Bettys Hot Chocolate flakes
3. Pour the heated milk over the Chocolate flakes and whisk together until fully combined
4. Return the mixture to the pan and heat through again until simmering
5. Remove from the heat and whisk once more until frothy and pour into your favourite mug
6. Add whipped cream or additional frothy milk to taste and finish with another sprinkling of the chocolate flakes.




And there you have it, how to make the perfect cup of Bettys Hot Chocolate in no time at all - enjoy!

Bettys Hot Chocolate can be bought online here:
https://www.bettys.co.uk/ 

PS: The mug's from Oliver Bonas and currently in the sale
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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Oddfellows, Chester



Before we get into the review, first, a little back story. I moved to Chester just under a year ago for work but before taking the plunge, I did a bit of a trial weekend in the city checking out the places that could become my local and just taking in its historic scenery. Without reading any reviews, I booked to stay at Oddfellows, a quirky boutique hotel in the centre of town and immediately fell in love with its retro glamour, upside down furniture and “down the rabbit hole” charm. So of course we had to go back and try its afternoon tea menu.




We visited on a very busy Saturday afternoon so were seated in the bar lounge area, which is beautifully kitted out in dark food fixtures with colourful woodland art printed on top, including a fuchsia pink fox - can we just live here please? 

We went for the “Tipsy Afternoon Tea”, opting for tea-themed cocktails and Prosecco to accompany our pots of Earl Grey and coffee. I chose the Travellers Tea cocktail made with green tea infused Absolut Vodka, lemon, apple and elderflower and I would highly recommend it.

Tea is served on a simple white three tiered stand with a selection of ham and tomato, egg mayo, cheese and pickle, and cucumber finger slices, on a good range of soft breads. Followed by fruit scones with clotted cream and individual pots of strawberry jam, and finally fruit and chocolate themed pastries including a berry mousse, chocolate delice with pistachio base, and white chocolate and berry blackcurrant macaroons. The sweets both looked and tasted delicious and each one is quite light so you won’t feel too full afterwards - which means you can afford to try a bit of everything! 




Given Oddfellows’ fun yet sophisticated environment, which includes its very own Secret Garden, I think this afternoon tea would benefit from being a little more “odd”, to make it truly stand out and carry on that whimsical charm the venue is known for. That aside, overall this is a lovely tea and good value at £25pp (with cocktail or champagne) - definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a cool place to take a break from sightseeing or shopping in the city.



For more information and to book visit: http://www.oddfellowschester.com/

* Prices correct at time of writing
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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year From The Afternoon Tea Club



Before the clocks strike twelve and chants of Auld Lang Syne begin, we'd like to take a moment to wish you a happy (and treat-filled) new year.

Whilst we're still waiting on the invention of calorie free cake *fingers crossed for 2017* twenty-sixteen has been an eventful year for ATC in other ways, as we've continued to grow, launched a new site and welcomed lots of lovely friends into the fold.

As ever, we feel incredibly lucky to have your support and would like to say a huge 'thank you' for every like, comment and kind word shared throughout the year.

We have lots of exciting things planned for the next twelve months and hope that you'll stick around to join us. In the meantime though, please raise a glass as we say hello to 2017.

Wherever you are tonight, we hope you have a good one!

Laura & Caroline
x

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Afternoon Tea at Christmas: The Conrad St James, London


As you can imagine, we’ve indulged in our fair share of Afternoon Teas over the years, some more memorable than others, totting up a shameful amount of scones and macaroons on a near on monthly basis. But on one of our most recent visits, we hit what we believed might be a pivotal point in our tea-sipping ventures - the unshakable feeling of, have we been here before?


Entering the elegant Conrad London St. James earlier this month, we were immediately drawn in by its beautiful lounge seating, twinkling Christmas lights and tall, freestanding, silver tea stands, the latter of which really tipped off our increasing feeling of familiarity. A quick Google and it turns out our suspicions were correct, we had indeed been here before as the hotel had originally served under the Intercontinental Westminster brand, which just happens to be one of our favourite places for tea in London. Winner!


We were there to try Emmeline’s Lounge’s new Winter Solstice menu and the team hasn’t missed a single trick to embrace the theme with warm winter flavours and colour. 

With a glass of G.H. Mumm Champagne in hand, we started with the savoury selection which included a dish of sandwiches featuring beetroot and goat cheese, honey roast ham on cranberry bread, which was delicious and sweet, a classic cucumber and chive creme fraiche, and roast beef and watercress brioche. All of this was joined by fig and blue cheese crostini, smoked salmon and avocado salad served in a small individual glass and finally, our ultimate favourite, turkey, sage and parma ham sausage rolls. There’s so much going on here but all of the textures and flavours fit together well, taking inspiration from classic winter dishes.


Then onto the scones, and we love the way they’re presented still warm and tucked under a napkin blanket. These have also undergone a seasonal twist with toasted pecan and cranberry and orange flavours. The pecan is subtle whereas the cranberry and orange has a real burst of fresh flavour. We couldn’t agree on a favourite between us so we will have to simply say, they’re equally as good and moreish! Plus either could be enjoyed with either St Clements Curd or jam and clotted cream.


As much as you will be tempted to, we recommend not going crazy on the sandwich refills as you will want to save as much room as possible for the beautiful Valrhona chocolate wreath and intertwined sweets that follow. Executive Pastry Chef, Zoe Wager has created a spectacular collection of desserts that carry the dark and rustic tones of Winter through layers of seasonal fruit and chocolate. If, like us, you enjoy a slice (or several) of black forest gateaux at Christmas, you will love the white forest gateaux, plus the double chocolate orange tart was another welcome, and Christmassy-feeling addition for fellow chocolate lovers. The sweet selection also includes a plum, raspberry and almond tart, and a green apple and blackberry mousse.


We’re always completely blown away by the presentation at this hotel and this seasonal tea continues that trend with a sophisticated menu and idyllic afternoon tea serving atmosphere made all the more perfect with soft live music and fairy lights dotted around. There are also so many different types of tea on offer, something which can often overlooked in favour of fancy pastries, and our helpful servers were on hand with recommendations to go with our particular menu which included a wonderful golden loose leaf tea with caramel flavour accents. Prices start at £49pp (without champagne) which puts it on the slightly pricier end of London teas, but trust us, the experience is worth it. If you’re looking for something to warm you up during these cold winter afternoons or a pick me up treat as we move into the January slump, this is where you want to be.



For more information and to book visit: http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/

* Prices correct at time of writing

Whilst we were provided with a complementary afternoon tea for review, all thoughts and opinions are our own!
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Afternoon Tea at Christmas: The Cavendish Hotel, London


Located in London’s central hub of afternoon tea activity, close to The Ritz and Fortum and Mason, The Cavendish London is in good company. It’s also situated along one of the city’s iconic tailoring streets and has taken inspiration from these historic roots for its new “Jermyn Street Afternoon Tea” menu laced with hints of festive flavour. We went along last week to try it for ourselves.


The Petrichor restaurant where tea is served, is a laid back and quiet spot. Starting with a glass of champagne and a huge plate of sandwiches filled with some real winter comfort food fillings and flavours, The Cavendish has done away with the traditional tea stand in favour of serving savoury and sweet separately. As expected, the smoked salmon on lemon and rye bread was delicious but our favourites had to be the seasonal turkey and cranberry, and maple roast ham and cheese toastie (Note: Caroline liked this one so much, she stole mine!).


The sweet portion of the menu is presented in a unique sewing box setting, in keeping with the tailoring theme, which unfolds to fill the entire width of the table. To start there are two mini scones each (one plain, one fruit), the perfect size and served warm along with a good dollop of clotted cream and strawberry jam. 


The pretty pastry selection followed a similarly wintry vibe with a banoffee caramel tart, mini mince pie, dark chocolate and cranberry brownie, chocolate and orange slice and vanilla panacotta with winterberry compote. A good mix of both rich chocolate and fruity flavours and plenty to leave you feeling full. The mini mince pie was a welcome festive touch but the winner for us had to be the chocolate and orange slice filled with cream and topped with tangy orange pieces. 

Tea-wise we went for an extremely non-adventurous Breakfast blend and a coffee on this occasion but there were different tea options should you want to try something a little more interesting!


Overall this is a really nice tea and for £29 pp (£35pp with champagne) it’s much cheaper compared to other tea venues in the area, which is a big plus! Perhaps the side that let it down was the environment, it wasn’t a particularly busy afternoon and whilst we understand that it’s difficult to create an atmosphere with few bodies in the room, the restaurant itself isn’t particularly special and for a tea that prides itself on delivering a themed afternoon tea experience, it’s subtleties are drowned out a little by the room itself which lacks any character. The food is delicious but there is so much competition in the area, I believe more attention to detail in the venue itself to create more of a relaxed afternoon tea lounge experience, would really give this tea the boost it deserves.

For more information and to book visit: http://www.thecavendish-london.co.uk/

* Prices correct at time of writing

Whilst we were provided with a complementary afternoon tea for review, all thoughts and opinions are our own!


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