Summer in Britain is one of my favourite things; Ascot, Wimbledon, picnics in the park, Henley Regatta and lots of Pimm’s! With that in mind the incredible pastry chefs at FS London have come up with an ingenious, delicious and beautiful Journey Through British Summertime Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons London at Park Lane. Even more magical when paired with beautiful, soft JING teas. It’s safe to say you’re in for a sweet treat at this afternoon tea!
It happened to be the hottest day of the year in London the day we visited Four Seasons, which if you hadn’t noticed the incredible heat yourself, in true British fashion you certainly would have noticed everyone talking about it! So I was very grateful to have a JING tea cold infusion as I arrived to cool me down as I caught up with the lovely Angie and heard all about her recent adventures.
I’d visited the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden for lunch the weekend before, but I was really excited to try this innovative and frankly, gorgeous afternoon tea. In London, it’s quite usual to serve a special Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea, or a Wimbledon afternoon tea, but I’ve never seen a tea that celebrates everything that makes British summer quite so special.
We were seated at the Captain’s Table, a semi-private dining table that’s part of Amaranto restaurant, Four Seasons London’s restaurant. I loved the space, in that we could pull the blinds down on that sunny afternoon, but that we still had the relaxed feel of being in a restaurant.
Soon after we had arrived and caught up or been introduced, cameras appeared and snaps were taken! With a tea as beautiful as this Journey Through British Summertime, it was hard to resist taking all the photos…
The first cake that I started with was the Kona Coffee, Chocolate Mousse and Hibiscus Jelley Hat, representing the beautiful hats that ladies wear at Ascot. A delicious coffee and chocolate pairing, it was as delicious as it was beautiful! Paired with a blackcurrant and hibiscus cold infusion, I loved the dark, fruity tastes in both the tea and the cake.
I loved hearing from the ladies from JING telling us all about this history of their brand and where they source all their tea. I had no idea that tea flowering season was so short; in fact, JING representatives have to be in China a few weeks before the season starts just in case the weather means the flowers blossom prematurely.
The second cake on the top tier represented the strawberries and cream on Murray Mound at Wimbledon and was a strawberries and cream lady finger, served with mini tennis ball like champagne pearls on top. A light and perfect tribute to a quintessentially British event.
Taking it one tier down it was another set of beautiful cakes, including one of my favourites of the day; a Pimm’s infused baba with rhubarb, orange gel and elderflower cream that represented a picnic at Glyndebourne Opera. Paired with a Darjeeling first flush tea which was light and fruity with a slight sharpness to balance the sweetness of the baba itself.
Continuing the Wimbledon theme was a stunning yellow tennis ball made from pistachio and yogurt choux with a Wimbledon purple mousse. I loved how innovative this tea was, and how every little detail reminded you of the best of British.
The final cake on the specially made stand was the lemon and rose Battenberg cake, served with a delicate petal to remind you of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. And then there was just one more sweet treat to come; a light and fruity apricot, lavender and bee pollen cake, which I couldn’t get enough of. It’s so rare to see a sliced cake on an afternoon tea stand, and I loved how once again Four Seasons London’s pastry chefs had brought the us back to the magic of a British afternoon tea.
These cakes were paired with Li Shan tea, a multi-layered Oolong Tea from Taiwan. The notes of honey and tropical fruit complimented the cakes perfectly and I especially loved the floral dimension to the tea.
I loved looking at the tea stands over and over again and admiring the level of detail that had gone into each and every cake and sandwich. There was nothing ordinary about this tea, with even the cucumber sandwiches having extra radish to add to the complexity of the tastes.
You might think that some pairings can be very regimented, but I loved that we were encouraged to try different teas with different sandwiches and cakes and to discover our own preferences and tastes instead of just tasting what we thought we should taste.
The sandwiches, which were served first (I know, but the cakes were so beautiful!) included a Maldon cured smoked salmon, English pea & Devonshire Crab, Celery and Granny Smith Apple, a traditional Coronation chicken with crème fraiche as well as the entirely moreish cucumber, cream cheese and breakfast radish.
Served on the bottom of the stand, they completed the perfect afternoon tea.
Even the crockery was as delicate and pretty as the rest of the tea, and I couldn’t help but think how many hours must have gone into creating every element of this stunning tea.
In fact, I could have eaten these cakes again and again and again…
And looked at them for even longer…
Served in specially hand-blown glasses that have been designed in mind to make sure that your hands don’t get too hot.
After a couple of visits to Four Seasons London at Park Lane, I could already feel myself falling for this gorgeous hotel. With all the artwork and sculptures owned by the owners of the hotel, the hotel had a really personal touch.
Add that to the fact that the service is some of the best I’ve ever had, down to the fact that they remembered how I liked my cappucinos, I can see myself really falling for the Four Seasons brand… With upcoming trips to Thailand and Mexico as well as another Four Seasons already in London and one to open at the end of the year, I might just have to look into some other Four Seasons hotels!
I have to admit that I was entirely full at this point, but after the tea stands were finished scones were brought as well as specially created jams.
Since it was the hottest day of the year we decided to head out to the gorgeous Secret Garden for a glass or two of Veuve Cliquot champagne to say cheers to what had been a fabulous afternoon!
There’s no better way to celebrate a British summer than with afternoon tea, so make sure you celebrate all that British summer has to offer with the gorgeous Journey Through British Summertime Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons at Park Lane.
Four Seasons London at Park Lane
Our afternoon tea was complimentary, but all love for Four Seasons is my own.