Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

How not to serve a scone....

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea post from Tea With Me and Friends.

Now, as you can probably imagine we have eaten rather a lot of scones since starting this blog! We've enjoyed debates about how you pronouce scone and how you dress your scones and we have our own opinions about how a good scone is served.

Ideally they should be warm and fresh, served with clotted cream and preserve.

Recently I visited the Isle of Wight, and found a beautiful little seaside cafe that was serving scones. The setting was perfect and so I thought I would indulge in a little scone therapy.


So far so good....beautiful setting, good looking scone and Rodda's clotted cream.

However, as I cut into my scone I realised that something wasn't quite right as the texture was a tad bit tought. Nether the less I continued to dress my scone......


Then I took a bite.......

Hmmmm...to say it was tough was a bit of an understatement. It was hot, that was sure, and hard! It turns out that the scone had been microwaved to "warm it"!!

It was such a shame as everything else about the experience was wonderful!

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tried and Tested.....Teapigs

Hello there,

Welcome back to another Tried and Tested tea post from Tea With Me and Friends. Today we are sharing with you some of the wonderful teas from Teapigs that we have recently enjoyed.

Now you might have seen teapigs before - but do you know much about them? Teapigs were born in 2006 by Nick and Louise who wanted to bring the world pure and simple, high quality tea. Their tea list includes 24 whole leaf tea varities, served either loose leaf or in their tea temples. Black, green, red or herbal teas can all be found on their website.


To start with I thought I would show you something quite different....popcorn tea! This is a Japanese favourite and blends together traditional green tea with toasted rice. Sounds crazy...but tastes wonderfully nutty and totally unique.


The tea temple is full of the toasted rice, which gives a wonderful aroma and whole green tea leaves. I brewed my tea for approximately 3 minutes and was pleased by the amber colour of my brew.....


It tastes like no tea I have tried before - very fresh, but with a distinctive nutty flavour. 15 tea temples will cost you £4.49, which is 30p a cup.

Next, lets look at the Super Fruit tea on offer, which is full of Hibiscus, elderberry, blackcurrant, raisin, natural flavours, ligonberry and blueberry.....


Fruity teas are usually my least favourite brew as they are often quite wishy-washy in flavour. However, Teapigs have changed my point of view by creating a fruit tea using whole berries in their tea temples to give more flavour when brewed.


I brewed my tea temple for about 3 minutes again and gained a cup of deep red, berry flavoured tea! It's a cheerful colour to look at in the cup and is very fruity on the tastebuds too. I would definitly buy this one again, and would like to try it cold as I imagine that would be very tasty too.

The Super Fruit tea is avalible as both loose leaf and in tea temples. Take a peek at the Teapigs website for the different sizes and prices.

Finally I wanted to share with you the mao feng green tea.....


This is a delicate, yet tasty green tea that produces a wonderfully pale green cup of tea. I have tried lots of different green teas, but this one gives flavour yet is not over powering - very refreshing.

This tea is also avaliable in loose leaf or tea temples.

Three very different, but very nice teas! For more information about Teapigs please visit their website.

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel

Monday, 25 August 2014

Time for Tea....The Savoy

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea post from Tea With Me and Friends. I am sorry that we have been a little quiet recently, but don't worry we're still here with lots more afternoon tea news and gossip to share with you!

Today's post has been written with a slightly heavy heart, as it's about a hotel which I have always said was my all time favourite afternoon tea experience. I have to say I was a little nervous about going back to the hotel, wondering whether it would live you to expectations and previous visits.....so here goes....we'd like to share with you our recent afternoon tea adventure at The Savoy in London.

Now, some of you will know that The Savoy holds a special place in our hearts as its the first place that Lorna and I enjoyed a real afternoon tea, and it was so wonderful. We have visited three times previously, both before and after their refurbishment. On this occasion we were visiting to celebrate Alex's Birthday.

Afternoon tea
The Savoy

Now, there are lots of things about the experience that remain the same - the beautiful china (so beautiful that I own some if it!), the wonderful house champagne, the quality of the food and tea and the attention to detail. However, as you will see there are some things that have changed....and unfortunately change isn't always a good thing!

After we had sipped our bubbles and picked our tea (from the 31 different teas on offer), we were presented with the first two courses of our afternoon tea. Presented on the beautiful stand was the sandwich selection and the scones.

Afternoon tea sandwiches - The Savoy

There were five different afternoon tea sandwiches presented to us, each was fresh and very tasty - not a hint of crust in sight. The sandwiches were also the perfect finger sandwich size - easily nibbled by ladies enjoying tea! The fillings included:

Wiltshire bone ham with wholegrain mustard cream cheese
Coronation chicken on olive bread
Scottish smoked and poached salmon with dill mustard
Egg salad with watercress
Cucumber, fleur de marquis and dried tomato

In case you are wondering....fleur de marquis is a type of cheese. The coronation chicken and egg were my favourite sandwiche fillings. 

Next came the scones......



Initially we were presented with four rather large scones - a mixture of fruit and plain. Personally I felt they were too large and several of the group found the texture a little claggy. The scones were served with clotted cream, strawberry preserve and a rather good lemon curd. 

During the first two courses we felt that our tea could have been poured slightly more often.

Now, this is where things strayed from the norm. The stand was removed and we were presented with clean plates and cutlery. Then a server brought around a tray of pastries for us to pick from.....

Afternoon tea pastries - The Savoy

There were five different pastries, all of a rather large size. The server described each one and then asked us to pick one of two to sample. To be honest, the descriptions were so long that I didn't really pay enough attention and so found it difficult to say which ones I wanted to try. I also can't really remember what they all were! I know I tried the two closest to us in the photo - the cherry basket which was delicious and a apricot and honey sphere which was wonderfully light.

I was rather disappointed with how the pastries are now presented to guests. Previously a selection of smaller sized pastries would be presented on a cake stand, which I think is a lot more appealing.

As we were eating these pastries we were also asked to pick a piece of cake - we could have lemon and poppy seed or a raspberry loaf cake. These were presented to us, as we were still eating the pastries - making the table full....


By the time we got to the cake I was rather full. When I enquired whether we could take them home with us, we were told no. This was accompanied by a rather sarcastic comment from the server, which was not really expected from a hotel like the Savoy. 

Disappointed that we would not be able to take the cake home, I tried a bite of my lemon cake....once again to be disappointed as it was rather heavy and lacked the punch of a good lemon cake.

Finally, Alex was presented with a Birthday plate from the Savoy....


It was a lovely gesture, but by this point Alex couldn't eat anymore and so this was a bit of a waste. 

At £61.50 per person for this afternoon tea (with a glass of champagne) this really is a treat and I am sad to say that I have experienced much better afternoon teas previously from The Savoy. None of us were keen on how the pastries were served and the comment from the server really changed the tone of our afternoon tea.

However, I cannot fault the majority of the food, and the extensive tea menu has something for everyone, but I feel that on this occasion The Savoy fell short of expectations.

For more information about the afternoon teas on offer at The Savoy please visit their website.

If anyone else has visited The Savoy recently we'd love to hear about your experience - please get in touch.

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna