I must apologise for my absence! It’s been a crazy couple of months since I got home from Europe! I’ve graduated, started a new job and suddenly it’s nearly Christmas! Don’t worry though, I’ve been collecting lots of little nuggets and adventures to blog about and I can happily say that I am back!
There’s something incredibly decadent about high tea. The origins date back to the 1700s when working men would take a quick break between 3 and 4 o’clock to refuel. Gradually the practice found it’s way onto the social calendars of the upper class, and a long, lavish occasion was born, where the gossip was just as important as the food.
Kait and I first discovered our mutual love for tea together in Norwich where we were both on exchange. Since coming home, we’ve tried to catch up as often as we can and this time she treated me to High Tea at the Queen Victoria building.
It was a cold and dreary day, but the muted sunshine creeping through the clouds really made the stained glass dome of the QVB look spectacular!
We were greeted on arrival by dignified but friendly staff. After being seated we were quickly given a glass each of champagne while we perused the tea menu. We were both having the Sparkling Afternoon Tea: A set selection of finger sandwiches, petit fours, sweet and savoury pastries, scones with preserve and clotted cream, tea or coffee and a glass of Australian sparkling wine.
I went for Madagascan Vanilla, Kait for Gunpowder Green. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long for our to tea to be served as the weather outside deteriorated!
And no sooner had our tea come to drinking temperature than two of these little beauties were brought to our table.
It really was a thing of artistry. I had a cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwich and an egg and cress sandwich, both on white bread. Kait had the same but on gluten-free.
Where I had a puff pastry disk with avocado creme and cherry tomato, Kait had the same but with a rice cracker disk. Both were clearly house-made which really added to the experience!
The joy of what we were about to experience made Kait go like this:
The petit fours were as scrumptious as they were cute! We both had a raspberry macaroon, a mini fruit flan, a strawberry and basil opera slice and a chocolate layer mousse. Mine was topped with an almond praline which was simply divine! Chocolate and nuts is my favourite combination!
My biggest surprise was how well the strawberry and basil opera slice worked! To my delight, the basil cut through the sweetness of the strawberry and it held its form really well!
Finally, we came to what is clearly the highlight of any high tea: the scone with jam and clotted cream.
I have a confession to make. Can you keep a secret? I find scones surprisingly difficult to perfect. I’ve tried recipes with lemonade, recipes with bicarb (cheating, I know!), starting the oven high then turning it down, leaving them to cool covered, uncovered, whisking, folding and finally giving up on the whole thing and just buying them from our local Bakery. It tears me apart every time.
Clearly, the bakers at the QVB do not share my frustrations. These scones were little pieces of heaven!
They were perfectly doughy without being too heavy. The outside was crunchy without feeling like you were going to break your teeth and the inside was light enough but still with that signature dense crumb.
If you’re looking for a Christmas present for your mum, sister, grandmother, girlfriend, aunt or favourite blogger, then I cannot recommend the Tea Room at the QVB enough!
You can also purchase gift cards online. Perfect for that Christmas Eve panic! Find online gift cards here.
Tell me, what simple task do you struggle with? And do you have any scone baking tips for me?