Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Malmaison, Leeds



When I was twelve and light up Sketchers were all the rage, I went to Leeds with my parents for a pre-birthday shopping spree. It was great - we spent the day having lunch and wandering around the city’s iconic arcades, before heading home with arms full of shopping bags, feeling like Carrie Bradshaw.

After thirteen years, I thought it about high time for a repeat trip, so last month we took the train over to Yorkshire for a day of retail therapy and afternoon tea at the Leeds Malmaison.




Served in the Chez Mal Brasserie, the hotel's Cocktail Afternoon Tea is the perfect sweet treat for anyone on a day out in the city. Presented on a neat slate stand and accompanied by the hotel’s custom made crockery (look out for the cute cow 'malk' jug!) the tea features a selection of delicious treats which include; fruit scones, hot smoked salmon wraps and lemon polenta cake. However, before we get onto the food in full, let’s talk about the cocktails.



As well as a champagne option, the Leeds Mal also offers a cocktail tea for £25, with the choice of four delicious drinks to accompany your cake. On the day we decided to sample a couple of different options on the menu the menu and went for the Orange Brulee and Patron Espresso Martini.

Now I wouldn't say we're connoisseurs when it comes to cocktails - typically opting for champagne - however there's something about this tea that really invites you to indulge in something a bit different and a bit more metropolitan - and let me tell you, they're delicious.

So what's on the menu? To start off, we were treated to a selection of delicious wraps and sliders, which included hot smoked salmon & creme fraiche, chipotle chicken & avocado and a mini burger. As usual, the salmon was a firm favourite with both of us, however this was closely tied with the avocado wrap, which was an absolute treat. I always love the inclusion of different textures and flavours which stray away from the norm, and whilst this isn't necessarily something that you'd expect from an uber traditional venue, it's something that works really well at contemporary places like the Leeds Mal.




To crown the afternoon off, we finally moved over to the scone and dessert selection, which was perhaps my favourite part of the whole experience, with delicious strawberry & vanilla pavlova, lemon polenta cake, salted chocolate brownies, peach & amaretto cream and a frozen berry summer smoothie served in a a tiny milk bottle. If I had to pick a star from this selection it would have to be the Polenta cake, for its rich, dense deliciousness. Having never tried polenta in a dessert before I can definitely say that it's something that'd I'd be keen to sample again!



All in all we were very impressed with the Leeds Mal's afternoon tea offering and even though it's part of a chain offering a uniform menu, I wouldn't say that this takes anything away from the overall appeal. Definitely one to look out for if you're looking for a spot of afternoon tea to accompany your next shopping trip!

PS: They also offer gluten free and vegetarian options for everyone to enjoy!

Have you ever been for tea at a Malmaison? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

For more information about the Malmaison Afternoon Tea, please visit their website:

We were kindly provided with a complementary afternoon tea for review purposes, however as usual, all thoughts and opinions are our own!


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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January Tea-tox with Blendology




It’s generally accepted that nobody looks forward to January. Maybe if it’s your birthday or you’re one of those lucky Instagram folk who spends the post-Christmas season somewhere hot and sunny, you can probably tolerate the glum month that stole Christmas. But for the rest of us mere mortals who wish we could simply hibernate in our onesies until February, it’s simply a case of full on gloom and a few extra pounds to drag out of bed on cold winter mornings.



But there are things we can do to make ourselves feel better. No we’re not talking a hellish juice diet or 5am wake ups for the gym but rather small things you can do to cleanse and refresh the mind and body - lucky for us, one of those things is tea.

We were sent some Blendology ‘functional teas’ to test throughout January, each with its own unique purpose whether it’s to help you sleep or give you an energy burst. Each pouch contains 15 fuso bags of handcrafted, 100% organic (Soil Association certified) tea and is priced at £3.95.

I started with the teas on a particularly challenging week, majorly jet-lagged on my first full week back in the office after the Christmas break, a business trip and no sleep, so it had some pretty sizeable living up to do.

Unable to sleep, first I tried the Sleep tea, made with chamomile, passion flower, linden flower, valerian root and California poppy, each with its own insomnia battling effects. Straight out of the bag, the first thing I noticed was that it’s quite potent for a soothing tea, however the chamomile is the key ingredient here, always a winner in helping you to wind down, and it's naturally caffeine free.



The next day, feeling a slightly more human after a better nights sleep, I went for a cup of Recover tea, designed to help you recoup from a hectic lifestyle - GIVE IT! The first thing you can smell and taste is the peppermint leaf, there to detoxify the body, joined by nettle leaf, burdock root, dandelion root and artichoke leaf. Their functionally is all about cleansing the liver and kidneys, and bonus, reduce those nasty hangover symptoms. I did feel better for it afterwards, less bloated and more refreshed.

The third tea, Energy, is the ideal cup for an power boost in the 3pm work slump. The flavour doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the last but the blend of green tea, yerba mate, ginseng, gotu kola and ginkgo biloba works well to keep you alert without intaking as much caffeine as you would in a cup of coffee.

After a week of trying the teas I did feel more refreshed and I think out of the three, my favourite had to be the Recover tea. It boasts a full bodied peppermint flavour and for me, worked a treat in reducing that feeling of fullness.

Detox is all about finding something that works for you but if like me you're starting your new year detox a little late this year, Blendology is worth a shout for a quick change you can easily make to your daily routine. - Laura

For more info visit www.blendologytea.com


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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Join The Afternoon Tea Club!


Do you like to blog? Are you an unabashed #instafoodie? Do you love afternoon tea as much as us? Join the club!

We started The Afternoon Tea Club back in 2012 as an excuse to justify consuming copious amounts of tea and cake during our time at university - never did we imagine we would get to experience the many delicious teas we’ve had the pleasure of sampling over the years.

As the popularity of our favourite past time has continued to grow, so too has our humble blog but there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to cover the many fabulous menus on our bucket list (trust us, we’ve tried double afternoon tea on numerous occasions, it’s not a smart idea!), so we’re on the lookout for likeminded people from across the UK to join our team.

If you’re an afternoon tea lover and want to write about it then we want to hear from you! In return we can offer you fantastic review opportunities and the chance to be a part of an ever-growing social media community of tea lovers.

To apply please send a short bio (including your location) and a sample review of a recent afternoon tea or coffee shop experience (a la our mini “Coffee Break” reviews) along with two accompanying photos to theafternoonteaclub@hotmail.co.uk.

Good luck and we will look forward to welcoming you into the club!

Laura & Caroline x
Founders of The Afternoon Tea Club
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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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