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 ...
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.|
|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.
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.