Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Hope and Greenwood Afternoon Tea Sweets

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Hope and Greenwood sent over a selection of yummy Afternoon Tea treats for our delectation. So in true ATC spirit we popped on the kettle, dusted off our cake stand and sat down for a sweet afternoon of sugar and nostalgia. Here's how we got on:

Sweet Tea

Caroline: As a brand, Hope & Greenwood take a nostalgic approach to sweet creation, offering an impressive array of traditional treats to tempt you back into childhood. Their flavours are distinctive and complimented beautifully by their distinctive striped/retro packaging.

Having sampled their Afternoon Tea sweets before, we were very keen to see what else they had to offer, so were delighted when a lovely parcel of treats arrived in the post one morning. Included was a very generous selection of retro classics featuring their 'Really Good Rhubarb and Custard', 'Blueberry Muffin Sweets', Cherry Bakewell Bonbons and (of course) their afternoon tea sweets.

Out of this selection my favourite had to be the Cherry Bakewell Bon Bons which were absolutely yummy, with a lovely tarty flavour and chewy texture, making them very palatable and good for savouring. In at close second were the 'Blueberry Muffin' sweets which were (as the packet says) 'a homely sweet' with strong flavours of Vanilla and Blueberries, and a nice sugary texture.

As you'd expect the Afternoon Tea sweets were another top pick, coming in three flavours: Cherry Bakewell, Lemon Meringue Pie and Treacle Tart. The zesty Lemon Meringue, in particular, was delicious and I'm not ashamed to say that I pretty much consumed them all in one go - they're that good!

If you're after a touch of tradition or afternoon tea on the go, give Hope & Greenwood a try - they're well worth a buy! 

Laura: The first thing you've got to notice and love about Hope and Greenwood is the gorgeous packaging. Cutely presented in pastel colours and retro stripes, they really have the retro sweet shop look down to perfection. 

Like Caroline said, the good folk at Hope and Greenwood gave us a very generous selection of sweets to try, each with their own stamp on our favourite Afternoon Tea flavours - and what a yummy selection they were. 

I decided to give the Really Rhubarb and Custard sweets a try first. They took me back to a time I had only seen recreated in vintage style photoshoots, with such a classic flavour and a taste that really lingers. Super sweet and chewy too!

Next up were the Bluberry Muffin sweets. These gave a great authentic snapshot of such a well loved dessert with a sweet sugary texture to keep things interesting. 

Time for another classic flavour, Cherry Bakewell Bonbons. The packaging literally oozes with the smell of the classic cake and I found the flavour to be quite impressive actually. Each layer of Cherry Bakewell hits you in just one bite size sweet but with the added sour punch of a Bon Bon. Delicious. 

Perhaps the most exciting Hope and Greenwood product was the box of Afternoon Tea Sweets. Featuring three traditional dessert flavours that we as self confessed Afternoon Tea junkies, are very familiar with. Again, Cherry Bakewell made an appearance with the same fantastic flavours but it's worth noting that these are slightly more sour than the Bon Bon incarnation. The Lemon Meringue Pie was also really tasty and surprisingly not too tangy. However, my favourite was the Treacle Tart - full of flavour and a great alternative to the other fruity options. These are hard boiled sweets I would be very happy to find in my grandmother's sweet jar! 

I think these sweets are a great gift idea, especially for lovers of vintage. But for anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth, I would definitely say give them a go. 

Hope and Greenwood products are available to purchase online and from a variety of high street retailers. For more information please visit their website:


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Charlotte in the City: Coronation Afternoon Tea, John Lewis, Oxford Street

Last week our intrepid London reporter, Charlotte Vowden, ventured into the City for a very special royal themed afternoon tea at Oxford Street's John Lewis!

When she’s not tucking into a banquet the Queen is partial to a spot of afternoon tea and if Her Maj pays a visit to John Lewis on Oxford Street she’ll find a special Coronation treat tower that's been created with her royal tastebuds in mind.

A patriotic red, white and blue three-tiered macaroon oozes with ganache and disintegrates deliciously when you eat it, and a miniature victoria sponge topped with a single ripe raspberry tastes as good as it looks. But it's the Dubonnet (a tipple the Queen is known to enjoy) soaked fruit cake (her preferred baked treat) she would definitely make a beeline for. I've never tasted the wine-based aperitif and it's somewhat out of fashion, but it definitely gave the dense fruit-packed slice a spicy dimension.

As this was a celebratory occasion I opted to crack open a bottle of bubbly and toast the Queen with champagne instead of a brew, and it went down very nicely indeed. The hot drinks menu however featured classics that would make the perfect accompanying cuppa. 

Least successful were the finger rolls. I couldn't find fault with the presentation, they each had a garnish and were neatly positioned in a star shape around the centre of the tea stand, but aside from the coronation chicken filler, more on that in a moment, the selection was uninspiring. 

Originally invented for the Queen's Coronation sixty years ago coronation chicken is a royal celebration staple but John Lewis has enlisted TV chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine to update the recipe. Deciding to poach the chicken in saffron scented stock and add fresh mango and chilli salsa to finish it’s more punchy than its predecessor, which may explain why the other rolls (including smoked salmon, cucumber) seemed a little bland.

The scones scored highly in the fluffy stakes and came with clotted cream and strawberry jam,  a duo of toppings you really can’t go wrong with. 

To enjoy this royal tea book yourself into the Brasserie and ask for a window table overlooking Cavendish square, it’s a great spot for people watching. Once you arrive in store take the escalators up to the third floor and expect a warm welcome and swift service. It’s a busy venue so you’re not going to have a sedate tea-taking session but the buzzing atmosphere adds to the celebratory spirit.

Gizzi Erskine’s Coronation chicken with watercress and mango salsa and the accompanying Coronation afternoon tea will be available in the John Lewis Brasserie from 1st July to 30th August 2013 and will cost £20.13.

Charlotte Vowden is a travel & lifestyle journalist who is as happy in the mountains as she is sipping champagne and indulging on cake. Writing for The Sunday Times and other national publications keeps her busy but she’s always looking for her next adventure or afternoon tea destination.
Twitter: @charlottevowden

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

National Afternoon Tea Week - Competition time!

This week you may have heard us banging on about a very special date in our blogging calendar - yes, it's National Afternoon Tea Week. Bring on the scones, pretty pastries and lashings of tea, as we celebrate our favourite afternoon ritual and you could be celebrating too with our fantastic giveaway! 

Last week we were lucky enough to try one of Delimann's fab afternoon tea gift boxes. Packed with everything you need to bring the tea room to your kitchen, we indulged in Delimann's oversized scones, Devon fudge and signature biscuits and now we're offering you the chance to do the same. 

We've joined forces with the lovely people at the Deli, to offer our readers the chance to win a Traditional Cream Tea delivered straight to their door. Excited? Read on. 

The Traditional Cream Tea includes: 

4 Oversized Devon Scones - Freshly baked on day of despatch
Devon Clotted Cream - Made on the local farm with milk from Guernsey cows
Delimann Jam - Winner of Gold Medal in Great Taste Awards
Westcountry Tea - 15 bags of refreshing afternoon tea
Traditional Tea Bread - Delicious signature tea bread, perfect buttered or even toasted.
Tea Lover Biscuits - Delimann's own biscuits, crisp and short and made in Devon
Organic, Clotted Cream Fudge - Made in the West Country with 100% natural ingredients

Oh we are good to you. 

All you have to do is answer this simple question:
In which town is The Delimann based?

Email your answer along with your name to or tweet us at @TeacupReview 

Entries must be received by midnight on Saturday 17th August and the winner will be announced this Sunday. 
For more information on Delimann, visit their website at

Good luck! 


Terms and Conditions: Open to UK residents only. Only one entry per person. Competition will close at midnight on 17/08/2013. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on 18/08/2013. The Afternoon Tea Club's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. There will be no cash alternative. Winner will be notified via email. By entering the competition the winner agrees to participate in such promotional activity on our website and Twitter. No responsibility can be taken for any entries which are not recieved for any reason. The winner must be able to provide their own transport to and from the venue and accommodation should this be necessary. The Afternoon Tea Club operates as a separate entity to


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Product Review: Delimann Afternoon Cream Tea

Some people get Amazon packages in the post, some get postcards. Us? We get Afternoon Tea - its a hard life.

This week we were lucky enough to get our hands on one of Delimann's unique Afternoon Tea gift packages. Sent directly to our door and packaged super carefully in a neat box full of cream tea goodness, this is definitely the kind of mail we like to get.

Time for a cuppa.

Delimann offers several different Afternoon Tea packages, including; picnic hampers, champagne tea and even a special Birthday tea complete with a mini celebration cake - adorable. We tried their Devonshire Afternoon Cream Tea which included everything you need for a real Afternoon Tea experience in the comfort of your own home - two plain scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam, Tea Lover Biscuits, West Country Teabags and Devon Fudge.

Devonshire Fudge - yum!

For starters, the great thing about this Afternoon Tea is there's very little preparation. Just simply heat the oven, pop the kettle on and grab your favourite cup and saucer.
The scones smelled absolutely amazing whilst baking away and came out a lovely golden brown colour. They were a great size too, much bigger than I had anticipated which is never a bad thing where scones are involved!

Biscuits for dipping.

The scones really did taste just as good as they looked. Smothered in strawberry jam and Devonshire cream, they were absolutely yummy. I often find some scones to be a little heavy yet these were lovely and light and not too filling, even with lashings of cream - I may have gone a little overboard on that one but I think I my indulgence can be forgiven.

Warm scones.

I'm a huge fan of good old tea and biscuits too so I was very happy to see the packet of Tea Lover Biscuits tucked away in our gift box. This really gave the tea a charming, homely feel and there were plenty to go around. The biscuits were melt-in-your-mouth good and baked in cute bitesize portions - lovely.

Jam and cream - it's a must.

I must admit when I first spotted the Devon Fudge pieces I was slightly surprised as they're not a typical component to cream tea. However, they were in fact a very pleasant addition - crafted with organic clotted cream, they blended really well with the Devonshire Cream theme. The fudge cubes were really smooth and sweet - perhaps too sweet for some palettes but for me they were a wonderful, unexpected treat.

Bitesize treats.

Finally, included in the box is a full packet of West Country tea - 15 teabags altogether. I really liked this because once the scones were finished with I could still enjoy this tasty tea days later with my morning cuppa - definitely value for money.

I very much enjoyed Delimann's Cream Tea. It was hassle free, super fresh and each part was served in really generous sizes. I would definitely recommend it as a gift for any tea lover - you never know, they may even share it with you.

- Laura

Delimann provide a range of Afternoon Tea gift packages and deliver all over the UK. Prices start at £15.00 for a traditional Cream Tea. To find out more and to order go to:


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Charlotte in the City: Nipa, Thai Afternoon Tea Review

Afternoon Tea isn't always about scones and Victoria sponge so last month we sent our London blogger, Charlotte Vowden, to sample The Lancaster Hotel's exotic take on our favourite pastime. Here's how she got on ... 

I was about to delve into Thailand’s culinary soul via afternoon tea and I didn’t know where to start. While the food laid on rectangular plates in front of me looked familiar – sandwiches, scones and sweets - I knew my palate was in for a few surprises.  I took a sip of chamomile tea to give myself some thinking time.
The Lancaster London hotel lies on the fringe of Hyde Park and is known for serving an exceptional afternoon tea, but its award-winning Thai restaurant Nipa now has its very own version. 

Prepared by an all-female team of chefs it’s served all at once on dishes down the centre of the table, just as a meal would be in Thailand, and includes typical Thai spices and ingredients such as jasmine and sticky rice.
It made sense to start with the warm savouries so I tentatively dipped a sweetcorn fritter into a small bowl of sweet chilli sauce. It was hot on the tongue and after tucking into chicken and chestnut dumplings then crispy spring rolls smothered in the fiery condiment I was glad to have a cooling palate cleanser – a runny jelly shot containing small chunks of fresh fruit and coconut shavings.

Things got even more interesting on the sandwich plate. Cucumber, not sliced but pickled, was paired with a rare spiced beef and enveloped in white bread. I was impressed to see an often bland sandwich livened up. There was also a smoked salmon substitute -  a generous portion of succulent Thai shrimp packed between two slices of tomato bread. 
The scones were of the miniature variety, two plain and two mango but I taste tested both the orange and jasmine marmalade and strawberry jam with basil before topping them. The strawberry with basil was a little too strong for my liking, so I transformed my scones into a sticky mess with the orange and jasmine marmalade.

I washed it all down with chamomile then ginger tea but there were Green teas, Traditional teas and Herbal infusions available too. Combinations included mint and tarragon as well as hibiscus, lemongrass, rose hips, mango and passion fruit.  
Last but not least came a pudding of Banana and coconut rice doughtnuts, Water chestnut, cherry & coconut tart, Pineapple & lychee log, Milk chocolate & jasmine delice and Mango sushi. Sickly sweet but without a hint of spice they were just what I craved after such a flavoursome series of dishes. The doughnut was my favourite (I suspect a little too stodgy for some) while the mango sushi was the most refreshing. 

Thai food is often associated with being fast and prepared in front of you so seeing the flavours lent to a slow food affair is a rarity, it took afternoon tea into a whole new territory. The dishes were bright and brilliant, decorated with sculptured vegetables and leaves making it both a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. When I visited Nipa it was quiet but I suspect as word gets out about London’s first Thai afternoon tea tables will fill fast. 

Afternoon tea is served from 2pm-4pm Friday to Sunday at £22 per person or £32 with a glass of pink champagne.

Nipa, 1st Floor, Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY. Reservations on 0207 551 

Charlotte Vowden is a travel & lifestyle journalist who is as happy in the mountains as she is sipping champagne and indulging on cake. Writing for The Sunday Times and other national publications keeps her busy but she’s always looking for her next adventure or afternoon tea destination.
Twitter: @charlottevowden

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. 
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