Chocolate Week seemed to come around very quickly this year! Last year you might have read my round-up of The Chocolate Show – if not, you can take a peek here. This year, I was very excited to be invited to try out the Chocolate Afternoon Tea hosted at Palm Court within The Langham Hotel. You may have read my review of Michel Roux Jr’s ‘Roux at the Landau‘ which is in the same beautiful hotel, so I was delighted to return! The centre piece of The Langham, London, the dazzling Palm Court, is famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born 150 years ago! As soon as you step inside, you immediately feel relaxed and at home, while surrounded by beautiful, luxurious decor.
We were greeted with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut before making our tea choice. We were advised to try the 150th Anniversary Langham Blend, which is officially the most complex tea blend in the world, with a unique combination of 150 ingredients! Created by the ‘Master of Tea’ Alex Probyn, it combines a blend of white, green, oolong and black tea combined with herbs, spices, fruits and flowers from around the globe.
Our first dish was a delicious amuse bouche of blackberry posset which was smooth and so delicious, I’m a big blackberry lover and find it isn’t used enough in cooking and baking!
Next came the selection of sandwiches (and of course I tried one of each!):
• Truffled duck egg brioche
• Smoked salmon, fennel and passionfruit dressing, rye cracker
• Classic cucumber, cream cheese and chives
• Corn-fed chicken and golden sultana on carrot bread
• Peppered beef pastrami and Red Leicester coleslaw on caraway and cocoa bread
They were undoubtedly some of the best I’ve ever had at an Afternoon Tea, especially the heavenly truffled duck egg brioche, I think I could have eaten ten of those, they were incredible!
This was followed by a selection of warm plain and fruit scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve. I adore scones and they’re something I’ve baked from a young age since we were rather bizarrely taught to make them at primary school (I can’t remember why!) These certainly didn’t disappoint!
And last but not least was the absolutely stunning selection of French pastries and cakes:
• Classic opera slice with espresso reduction
• Langham chocolate mousseline, chocolate brownies
• Dulcey and kalamansi canelle, sesame sable
• Macha and white chocolate macaron, lemon jelly
• Mango and lime lassi, basil seed
I mean, just look at them! They’re definitely the prettiest pastries I’ve ever been served at an Afternoon Tea, with some fantastic and unusual flavours and ingredients. And they’re going to be, under the watchful eye of the magnificent Cherish Finden!
You might recognise Cherish from The Great British Bake Off’s spin-off TV programme ‘Creme de la Creme’ where she is one of the judges, but she is also the multi-award winning Executive Pastry Chef at The Langham. It’s always a little odd meeting someone who you’ve admired for many years for their work, especially when they’re also famous for being on television. But I was delighted to discover that she was absolutely charming in person – a really warm, genuine, hard-working lady who it was a pleasure to meet!
All of the beautiful tea ware at this Afternoon Tea was from the renowned Wedgwood, which holds the prestigious Royal Warrant as supplier of Giftware and Tableware to the Queen! Wedgwood and tea are intrinsically linked, starting with the use of Wedgwood tea ware by Queen Charlotte of England in the mid 18th century.
Palm Court at The Langham hosts a number of themed Afternoon Teas throughout the year and I can’t recommend them enough! For instance, if you have little ones, they currently have a Children’s Afternoon Tea with Hamleys, how cute is this?
You can find out more on their website here.
I was invited to review the Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Langham, but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.