Saturday, 16 January 2016

Afternoon Tea in the Sky

Most people start their January with a good detox, cutting back on the cake and getting rid of all ‘merry’ evidence of the Christmas and New Year festivities - or at least trying to.


However, I began my year on a work trip to Las Vegas, hardly the epicentre of detox juices and salads but rather the home of excess and extravagance or in my case, a big welcome dollop of cream and ten sugars, in my morning cup of coffee.

I had no idea where our first afternoon tea adventure was going to take place this year and I certainly didn’t expect it to happen at 30,000 ft. up in the clouds but that’s exactly what happened on a tired-eyed British Airways' flight from Heathrow to Las Vegas, painfully soon after NYE.

We’d heard of BA’s afternoon tea but still we weren’t too sure what to expect from what would be ATC's highest tea experience yet.

Tasty cakes.
Served in the Business Class cabin, this tea was a welcome change to the usual cheese and crackers pack we’re used to snacking on mid-flight.

Layered tea stands don’t exactly make for the most practical form of food presentation in the air, so the tea arrived on three separate dishes, with scones served from a basket, allowing you to choose which ones you wanted.

Birds eye view from the sky.
Starting with a good, fresh selection of sandwiches including egg mayonnaise, prawn and beef and a choice of tea of coffee, there was a good mix of flavours on the menu. Followed by scones (and by the looks of it, as many as you would have liked!) accompanied by a pot of jam and clotted cream and finally a selection of cakes to finish (French fancie, tiffin slice and brandy cake), this was a dainty but delicious afternoon treat.

On the ground, this tea is probably best compared to some of the more simple afternoon tea menus we have sampled such as that at the Radisson Blu – basic but ticks most boxes of a good afternoon tea. For the added novelty of taking tea in the sky, it’s definitely up there with others around the £15/20 price point.

If you find yourself jetting off to somewhere special soon and fancy a bit of luxury, I would high-ly recommend this - Laura


Afternoon Tea is available on selected long-haul British Airways flights in Business and First Class. For more information go to: www.britishairways.com

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Afternoon Tea Christmas Gift Guide 2015

Struggling to find that perfect gift for the tea lover in your life? We've pulled together our favourite afternoon tea picks below, to help and inspire you!


What will you be buying the tea lover in your life this year?

Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Unwrapped at InterContinental London Park Lane

If there are two things that make us feel magical in this world, it’s afternoon tea and ‘The most wonderful time of the year’ … Christmas! Put them both together and you’ve got us set up for a pretty perfect December afternoon. We headed to London as an early festive gift (to us, love us) for the InterContinental London Park Lane’s Christmas Unwrapped afternoon tea. Here's what we thought ...

Seasonal fizz.
Taking place in the Wellington Lounge, the setting is both luxurious but relaxed enough to make you feel at home. To get us a feeling merry we began with a seasonal cocktail before proceeding to inhale around 10 cups of accompanying teas – more of that later.

Christmas Unwrapped menu.
Delicately modelled on the traditional Christmas fayre, the savoury tier has got all of your festive favourites lined up in miniature form. Starting with a stilton, chestnut and walnut vol-au-vent and honey roasted root vegetable, complete with gravy, this already felt like the real thing. Followed by a selection of open style sandwiches including turkey, sage and onion stuffing and smoked salmon, crayfish and prawns in Marie Rose sauce accompanied by everyone’s favourite Christmas trimming  - pigs in blankets. Each one was thoughtful and beautifully presented. We couldn’t help but ask for seconds!

A Christmas twist.
Each tier came out separately to keep everything nice and fresh which was particularly good news for the seasonal-scones, which arrived next. The warm Christmas spice and orange peel scones were festive but subtle and went well with the Devonshire Clotted Cream and orange-liquor curd.

Festive favourites.
Mini roasted root vegetable pie.
Of course we would be lying if we said the real selling point of this tea wasn’t the beautiful Christmas gift presentation of desserts that had our appetite’s whet from the first time we laid eyes on it back in October. The InterContinental Hotels are always at the top of their game for presentation – check out this Chelsea Flower Show themed tea we tried at the Intercontinental Westminster hotel – so we were pretty excited by this one. Arriving in a clear presentation box complete with red bow detail we each eagerly pulled at the ribbon to unwrap an enviable selection of themed desserts. Starting with a classic chocolate Yule log sprinkled with glitter we indulged in spiced apple pie (just delicious, by the way), miniature Christmas tree mousse with just adorable attention to detail and of course finally, no Christmas experience would be complete without it – mini Christmas cake.

Seasonal scones.
Now we’ve often pointed out in our various tea outings that despite it being in the name, the actual ‘tea’ is sometimes overlooked. However for this special menu, tea was truly at the heart with a carefully thought out selection of tea flavours that complimented each layer – special thank you to Luigi Vergura for his tea blending expertise!

Tea with thought.
To start we has the Smoky Ceylon made with Ceylon, Lapsang Souchong and Juniper berries which just had the most amazing cosy fireplace feel to it. Shortly followed by the signature Spicy No. 1 Park Lane fused with warming liquorice and cinnamon notes. A more subtle Ayurvedic Harmony blend with rose petal, fennel seeds, cinnamon and ginger, offered a more relaxing feel, perfect for winding down with dessert and then finally Xmas Red Berries with a twist of fresh orange peel. These teas flowed perfectly throughout the meal and made for a delectable experience that really brought all the senses to life and played with Christmas nostalgia.

Underneath the Christmas tree.
The perfect Christmas Gift? Yep.
Overall this was wonderful experience filled with great food, tea and atmosphere. The service at this hotel is fantastic and we were made to feel right at home with teacups topped up and offerings of seconds. If you’re looking to treat someone special this Christmas or New Year – even just yourself – this should be at the top of your Christmas list.

Where to start?

Christmas Unwrapped at InterContinental London Park Lane is available until 3rd January 2016 and priced at £42pp. For more information and to book visit: www.wellington-lounge.co.uk

Afternoon tea was provided to us for review purposes, but as usual, all thoughts and opinions are our own. Prices correct as of December 2015. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

National Chocolate Week with Whittard

Tis the season to eat chocolate! Before you write us off for being prematurely excited about the arrival of, dare we say it, Christmas, we are of course referring to the one week of the year where we're actively encouraged to eat chocolate and indulge to our hearts' desire - Chocolate Week! 


To celebrate, the beautiful people at Whittard sent us the most glorious selection of chocolate treats to ensure we did Chocolate Week in style. But we're not just talking any old hot chocolate, Whittard have gotten very creative and delivered a selection of chocolate beverages that are to leave you with the most worthwhile guilty conscious you've ever had. 


From the collection we tried; 70% Cocoa, Rocky Road, Caramel, White Chocolate and we kid you not - white chocolate tea. Yes this exists. 

To start we went with the Classic Cocoa - so so chocolately, it tastes like pure luxury. Next was the Caramel - this one is very sweet so if you're used to a nice dollop of caramel syrup in your coffee, this is the one to try. Then Rocky Road - again so full of flavour and topped off with some mini marshmallows you definitely get that textured, rocky experience. 

Now we're giving White Chocolate its own little paragraph because it needs it. Oh. Dear. Lord. This was actually heaven in a cup. Yeah sure we've had white hot choc before but imagine a Milky Bar, melted and served to you as a drink. This is it. It's so smooth and not at all heavy. Just A-mazing. 


Now for those of you who would rather a cuppa over a hot chocolate, the White Chocolate tea offers an alternative that lets you have the best of both worlds. Let it brew for just a few minutes and serve as it is. It is quite sweet and a very unusual taste but very drinkable. You'll notice a sort of shiny lining appear at the top which, as we learned at Paul Young's Afternoon Tea event earlier this month, is actually the coco nib. You probably couldn't drink this every day but it's a very unique blend and definitely one we would recommend giving a try.

Overall this was a delectable mix of chocolate treats and we can't wait for the weather to get a little frostier so we can wrap up in wooly jumpers and try them all again. If you're a chocolate lover or maybe just want to partake in the Chocolate Week festivities with a bit of luxury, look no further. 

For more info visit www.whittard.co.uk and if you've got any chocolately recommendations this #ChocolateWeek tweet us at @TeacupReview.