Friday, October 28, 2011

Afternoon Tea: London Traditions

As part of my study abroad program I ventured into The Strand Palace Hotel on The Strand for Afternoon Tea, or "High Tea". We had a reservation at the Johnstons Restaurant for a buffet style tea that I had been excited for since we received word about it back in the states.

There was a long table opposite ours with a clean white tablecloth and silver platters filled with bitty cakes, finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, jams and breads. I was giddy from the moment we sat down and could barely wait for tea to arrive with this tempting display just sitting there. Another group of ladies had their own small tower at their table with treats that they dug into - which I was envious of. When we finally gathered our plates and selections. I wanted to try everything, but only managed to fit an egg finger sandwich, a salmon finger sandwich, a cinnamon/honey bread bite, a strawberry ladyfinger cake, a scone, and a tiramisu bite.

Needless to say, I went up a total of about 4 times to get all of the flavors of sandwiches (including cucumber sandwiches and a tomato sandwich), the breads (there was also a coffee cake type one), and actually try the clotted cream.

The salmon sandwich was surprisingly good. With it cold and in between two small slices of bread I was nervous about it, but it wasn't too fishy and the texture felt soft with the bread. The egg sandwich was only okay, just a typical egg salad that I could make at home. I enjoyed the cucumber sandwiches mostly for the fact that I felt like I was in "The Importance of Being Earnest" and chatting away like a dandy. Both of the breads were delicious, soft, moist and had a nice hint of sweetness to them in their small bites. I, of course, was very satisfied with the strawberry and lady fingers cake. It was more like half of a small cake, but this way you could see the soft almost cheesecake like cake beneath the strawberries and scoop that in with the tender lady fingers.

The dessert winner though was the tiramisu bite. At first I didn't even know it was a tiramisu cake, I just saw chocolate and was sold. Yet when I took this first bite and savored that beautiful blend of flavors that makes up tiramisu, I was in heaven. The reason I had to take this picture was so you could see the nice layers within the small cake and the light dusting of powdered sugar that added to it's sweetness. The cool coffee flavors loved this sweet fluffy addition, not to mention the gooey layers felt perfect in the small bites you had to take.

Now, let's talk about the Scones.

I've heard a variety of things about them and how I had to eat them while I was in London - this was my first time enjoying one in it's home country and now I completely understand why they're so famous and adored here. Perhaps the British are used to them, but after eating one here I could not get enough of it. I literally kept going back to the table to try another scone. Not to mention, the first time I hadn't tried the clotted cream, because I thought it was some other type of sauce or butter. Clotted cream, though, is in it's own category. The richness of flavor, the slightly thicker texture, the sweetness and the soft touch it added to the scone was just perfect. I enjoyed the scone with just the jam, but with clotted cream it felt so right. No one is ever allowed to tell me calorie wise anything about clotted cream or I will be broken. It's the warm, soft, flaky texture that adds to it with raisins and the clotted cream. I just recently bought my own pack since I was craving them for breakfast.

When in London, you have to have "High Tea". Or at least enjoy a nice, warm cup of tea as the weather starts to cool with some cakes and scones by your side. I don't know what else could make up a more lovely afternoon.

- Mollie

1 comment:

  1. Mollie I am so glad you enjoyed this event so much! I only wish I had been on your table to witness how much you loved it! "Cream Tea" is the name of just scones, clotted cream and Jam with tea. See you in York and hope you love it just as much! Rachel