A Christmassy twist on this classic treat? Don’t mind if we do…
There are seemingly endless opportunities to treat your tastebuds over the Christmas period. ‘Tis the time of year to tuck into everything from succulent hams and creamy cheeses to rich Christmas puddings and moreish chocolate Yule logs, and we’d like to add yet another indulgence to the list: afternoon tea.
Dreamed up in the 17th Century by the Duchess of Bedford to satisfy her appetite during the gap between breakfast and the evening meal, afternoon tea is now a much-loved, quintessentially British ritual that is synonymous with luxury and extravagance – ideal for the season of over-indulgence. There are some cracking Christmas-themed afternoon teas to be found across the country this Yuletide; think dainty sandwiches with festive fillings and sweet treats given a Christmassy twist that Saint Nick himself would be proud of. Here are a few of our favourites.
Celtic Manor Resort – Newport
This resort is always a stunner, but it truly shines at Christmas, when its frosty grounds glimmer in the winter sun and its halls are decked with twinkling fairy lights – an idyllic backdrop for a festive afternoon tea if ever there was one. Celtic Manor’s is, of course, served with a glass of mulled wine, and features an assortment of finger sandwiches – with fillings such as classic turkey and cranberry, and cucumber with mint and lemon creme fraiche – and handmade cakes and pastries, including pistachio marzipan cones, glacé cherry and apricot Florentines, and candied citrus peel and gingerbread spiced scones. Celtic Manor will be offering a Boxing Day afternoon tea too – the perfect way to make the Christmassy fun last another day.
Mallory Court – Royal Leamington Spa
One of the AA’s top 200 hotels in the UK and Ireland, Mallory Court is a quintessential English country house that is at once elegant and laid-back. After braving the Christmas shopping crowds or partaking in a chilly winter walk, this is a lovely spot to take time out and enjoy some delicious festive fare. Served in the cosy lounge, Mallory Court’s Yuletide afternoon tea presents a beautifully displayed selection of Christmas-themed homemade fancies. You can even add a glass of Champagne, mulled wine or winter Pimm’s. Your cheeks will be as rosy red as Santa’s by the time you’ve finished this warming winter treat.
The Capital – London
The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge is perhaps best known for its Michelin-starred restaurant, Outlaw’s at The Capital, which has top chef Nathan Outlaw at the helm, but it is also a rather fabulous afternoon tea destination in its own right. With its exclusive yet unpretentious feel, The Capital is just the ticket after a day out in this lively capital city. Its afternoon teas are served in the hotel’s stylish sitting room, where you can relax with a cup of tea in hand (or perhaps a glass of fizz) and tuck into savoury bites such as honey roast ham and mustard sandwiches and Brie and cranberry rolls, and sweet delicacies like pistachio and lemon macarons, passion fruit tarts and mince pies. A very merry Christmas indeed.