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

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Friday Review....Jenier tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends....it's Friday....let's get the kettle on!

If you popped by earlier this week, you'll have seen our post about Claude the pop up tearoom from the ladies at the Vintage Cake House in Farnham. When I popped by to see them on Gostrey Meadows last weekend, they told me about the loose leaf teabags they are using to serve their takeaway tea. As a popup tearoom Claude has no teapots....but they didn't want to scrimp on the quality of the tea they served and discovered Jenier tea.

Very kindly they gave me some teabags to try at home.....so I got my pretty teacups out and let the tea tasting commence....

Jenier World of Teas operates from Scotland, and source high quality teas from around the world. They currently have a variety of black, green, white and flowering teas on their website.

I had the Cream Earl Grey, the Egyptian Chamomile and a green tea to sample.

I started with the Egyptian Chamomile which comes from the Nile River Delta, Egypt. 

The 1st Grade chamomile flowers are field grown and sundried. I thought the yellow teacup was the perfect choice for this cup of tea....

The tea had a beautiful yellow colour, with a pleasant and fruity aroma. The taste was crisp and fresh, with a warming, fruity taste. It was a very relaxing cup of tea and is obviously caffeine free.

Something full of caffeine was the Cream Earl Grey tea....

This is a traditional Earl Grey with a hint of vanilla which gives it a creamy flavour.

This tea has a lovely copper colour (the photo doesn't do it justice) and a lovely creamy vanilla aroma. The black tea is softened by the vanilla, creating a lovely sweet tea that is not artificial nor overpowering. It's a very mellow brew!

Finally we have the green tea....now this is where I have a confession to make...I'm not entirely sure which green tea this was....

I know it was a pale amber colour once brewed. It was a punchy green tea, Strong in flavour without being bitter. This tea (whichever it is) will not disappoint anyone looking for a decent cup of green tea!

To find out more about Jenier teas pop by their website. If you live in or near Farnham, Surrey, you can try these teas at Claude the popup tearoom! Read more about Claude here.

I'd like to thank the lovely ladies at the Vintage Cake House for giving me these teabags to try!

Thank you for popping by today,

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

It's nearly time.....for Afternoon Tea Week!

Woo Hoo! It's nearly here again - no, not Christmas (although I do love that time of year too) that other wonderful week of the year that is dedicated to the fine art of afternoon tea! During 10th -16th August you will discover a week of teas, tastings and temptation....a must for all afternoon tea lovers out there!

This is the fifth year of Afternoon Tea Week, but this year it is bigger and jam packed with even more events and offers. There is even a dedicated website!

You might remember this time last year I enjoyed afternoon tea on a bus to celebrate the launch of Afternoon Tea Week 2014....this year I was invited to an afternoon at The Ritz, London. This was no usual afternoon though....as we had a fab behind the scenes tour....and got a sneak preview (and taste) of the new cake that The Ritz are launching as part of Afternoon Tea Week 2015! How fabulous!

Afternoon tea has been served at The Ritz since it opened nearly 110 years ago and today it's renowned for being the quintessential British experience - where the food and service is second to none. Afternoon tea is served at the heart of the hotel in the elegant Palm Court, but as we discovered on our tour the whole hotel is rather elegant. Among other things we saw the antique drinks trolley in The Rivoli Bar where cocktails can be made from bottles of spirits dating back to the 1950s and 1940s......

I wouldn't mind one of those!

We also saw the oldest item in the hotel....this elegant mirror....

Again....I'm sure I could find space for that in my humble abode!

The event spaces are truly stunning....

The ceiling in this room had previously been boarded up and The Ritz spent a year restoring it to it's former glory. Can you image dining in this beautiful space?

Even the floral arrangements are stunning....

Once we'd enjoyed the tour upstairs, we were taken into the kitchens to meet Head Pastry Chef Lewis Wilson, the creator of the new cake! Lewis took us on a tour of the kitchens and told all about the service and amount of people it takes to create afternoon tea at this iconic hotel before letting us lose on the new cake.

In total The Ritz serves approximately 400 afternoon teas a day (yes - 400), in five different sittings between 11:30am - 7:30pm. The tea is very traditional with 16 different loose leaf teas, five different finger sandwiches, scones and of course a selection of afternoon tea pastries and cakes.

Now onto the good bit.....the new Milk Chocolate and Almond Afternoon Tea Cake features Milk chocolate mousse, an almond insert, almond brownie base, milk chocolate feuilletine and salted caramel - I bet you are drooling already!

I bet you are drooling even more now!

Do you want a closer look.....

I know this cake took a lot of experimenting to get just how Chef Lewis wanted it.....but I have to say I think it was worth it....it is sheer delight for anyone who enjoys chocolate...and Carmel...and nuts! As complex in texture as it is in flavour, it is light as air with crunchy bits! I loved it!

When you take a look inside you can see the different layers....

From the glossy finish of the coating, to the smooth mousse and crunchy brownie base, every mouthful of this cake is a delight and will make a lovely addition to the afternoon tea menu.

So who is the genius behind this sweet creation....

Chef Lewis is passionate about his creations and it was a joy to listen to him talking about his latest creation. Chef Lewis has been part of the team at The Ritz for over eight years, starting as the Night Baker when he first joined.

We also enjoyed a glass of The Ritz bubbles and some of the other afternoon tea pastries and cakes currently on offer as part of The Ritz afternoon tea menu....

I tried the raspberry macaroons, which were light and chewy and delicately flavoured and the amazing coffee pastries. These had a crunchy shell and a beautiful coffee mousse filling - just divine!

To find out more about the different afternoon teas on offer at The Ritz take a peek at their website and visit the Afternoon Tea Week website for more information about the events taking place in August.

I would like to thank afternoontea.co.uk and The Ritz for inviting me to this lovely event.

We'll be featuring some more Afternoon Tea Week events over the next week....so don't forget to pop back! And if you enjoy any of the events we'd love to hear all about them!

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 27 July 2015

Time for Tea....in the great outdoors!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, this weekend we didn't have any afternoon teas planned (shock horror I know!), but that didn't stop me heading into Farnham to enjoy something sweet with my lunch. I headed to The Vintage Cake House on Downing Street, which we have enjoyed tea at previously. I enjoyed a rather lovely piece of millionaires shortbread with my sandwiches...

Tea and cake at the Vintage Cake House

As I tucked into my lunch, I noticed a poster advertising their new pop up tearoom....Claude! I also discovered that Claude was currently in residence at Gostrey Meadows and so I decided to go and take a peek for myself!

Claude wasn't hard to spot....

Claude the Pop up Tearoom
Vintage Cake House

Claude, believe it or not, was originally a french horse box....until he came to the UK earlier this year and the Vintage Cake House ladies worked their vintage chic magic on him!

I learnt that the original Vintage Cake House is due to close at the end of the summer, but fear not cake lovers of Farnham....Claude will be travelling around providing loose leaf tea and sweet treats instead! 

As well as appearing at events such as Weyfest Claude can also be being hired out for special occasions  where guests can enjoy cream teas! I can to say that Claude looks quite wonderful with handmade bunting, vintage props and I am told he can even play sounds from bygone eras!

Sweet treats on offer - Claude - Vintage Cake House

I am sad to see the Vintage Cake House close, but very exciting to see Claude and can't wait to see him at local events. As well as the sweet treats you can see in the photo above, Claude also serves loose leaf teas, coffee and ice-cream! 

If you happen to be in Farnham (Surrey) over the summer, you can find Claude on Gostrey Meadows Tuesday - Saturday. To find out which events Claude will be appearing at take a peek at the website.

If you happen to see Claude at an event, don't forget to say hi to the lovely ladies and take a photo - we'd love to see him!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Pavillon Elysée Café Lenôtre

Hello there!

Recently I (Lorna) went on a little flying visit to Paris.  My husband has cycled there nine times, helping other achieve goals, raise money and realise dreams.  He had described to me what it was like rolling through Paris and over the finish line where lots of friends and family were gathered to greet their loved ones and sometimes he wished he had someone there to cheer for him too.  So this year I decided to surprise him at the finish line.  

So, now you know my life story, it will make sense that I found myself with a day in Paris all on my own.  I wandered around, went up the Eiffel Tower and strolled down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, by which point I was a little parched so what did I do?  Well, obviously I found somewhere to have a nice cup of tea!  

I'm pretty frightened of heights which goes some
way to explaining this selfie up the Eiffel Tower!

I was much happier with two feet on the ground
at l'arc de triomphe

So I started looking at the restaurants as I walked by and really could not decide where to go until suddenly the words "Tea Lounge" jumped out at me from the window of Café Lenôtre.  Decision made!

Café Lenôtre is elegant and refined, an ocean of calm amidst the bustle of the Champs-Élysées.  They do not serve a full afternoon tea but do have a selection of various teas on offer and you can choose a pastry or cake from their decadent looking patisserie stand.  

Being in France I thought the proper thing to do would be to sample some authentic macarons.  I was delighted by the presentation and the taste did not let them down!  I had six different flavoured, miniature but perfectly formed, macarons to eat and although I cannot remember all of the flavours now (sorry Rachel, will do better next time!) I can say with absolute certainty that they were all delicious!

Café Lenôtre is fairly expensive but it is on one of the most famous avenues in the world!  I also felt that the service and quality of the food was deserving of the price.  To find out more about this lovely place you can visit their website here.

I'd love to hear about some of the quirky, unusual or exotic places you have found to have a cup of tea when travelling so do leave a comment and tell me about them!

Thanks for popping by today,
Lorna & Rachel

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Friday Review....MASSIS Tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends...it's Friday...that means one thing at Tea With Me and Friends towers....yes it's time for another tea review!

This week we thought we'd share something a little bit different...a Tey Latte® from MASSIS Tea, a new tea company. Founders Hovig Yardim and Maral Keoshgerian have used their scientific backgrounds to produce a totally new tea drink.

Using tea leaves, they have created a blend that can be pulled through a conventional espresso machine to create a full-bodied and shot of Tey®, they use this in various drinks including their Tey Latte®.

Sounds weird doesn't it....but we have tried this new way of drinking tea and it's actually rather good!

We met Hovig from MASSIS Tea at Taste of London recently, who told us all about this new way of enjoying tea. When we arrived we realised how well Lorna matched MASSIS Tea....

Hovig is friendly and very passionate about tea, he was keen to tell us all about MASSIS Tea. He explained that they have balanced the aroma and colour of their own secret blend of loose leaf teas with the texture of steamed milk to produce a tea experience like no other. 

Using their own unique method, they pull a very strong “shot” of tea, creating something similar to an espresso, but made with tea instead of coffee. They pour over steamed milk to create a refreshing drink with a velvety finish. They offer a variety of flavours including Biscuity Butterscotch­®, Gingerbread Hug®, HazelnuTey® and Caribbean Coconut.

I tried a Gingerbread Hug®.....

The name really does describe this drink well....it's warm and comforting....just like a hug! Not too sweet or milky, it's a very smooth drink. Probably not for the purist tea drinkers out there, but if you fancy something a little bit different they are worth a try!

You can currently find MASSIS Tea at a variety of places in London, take a peek at their website to see the locations.

If you've already tried a MASSIS tea we'd love to hear what you thought.

Thank you to Hovig for sharing MASSIS tea with us!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Time for Something Sweet....Miss Millar's Marshmallows

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends....today we have something sweet and scrummy for you....something perfect with a cup of tea!

We were recently sent a wonderful box of Miss Millar's Marshmallows in raspberry eton mess flavour. Now, I have made my own marshmallows previously and really appreciate a good quality mallow. Forget those pink and white generic marshmallows found in shops....great quality marshmallows are completely different....and so we were keen to try these.

When they arrived they were well packaged...eight pieces of marshmallow neatly boxed and wrapped......

Miss Millar's Marshmallows

Fay and Adele are the talented brains behind these marshmallows and this is just one of the scrummy flavours available to buy from their website. Other flavours include Very Vanilla, Burnt Caramel, Chocolate & Orange, Apple & Blackberry Crumble and Lemon Meringue to name a few!
Fay Millar
Adele Wilkinson

The marshmallow recipes are all gluten and wheat free, some of the variety are also diary free! But....what do they taste like? Well, we had our first taste of the raspberry eton mess marshmallows whilst travelling on the Hammersmith & City line in London....

Lorna enjoying some
Miss Millar's Marshmallows

Classy I know...but shows how portable this treat is! 

My second taste was a much more elegant affair....with a cup of Lady Grey in my garden on a sunny afternoon....

Miss Millar's Marshmallows

That's much better!

The marshmallows are light and fluffy and delicately flavoured - the perfect treat. The raspberry flavour lingers in your mouth, dancing on your taste buds, before disappearing and leaving the sweet meringue flavour. They are so scrummy!

They also went really well with my cup of Lady Grey, bringing the sweet flavour out in the tea.

Miss Millar's Marshmallows

Each box of eight marshmallows costs £4.50 - take a peek at the Miss Millar's Marshmallow website to see all the flavours available.

We'd like to thank Fay and Adele for sending us this scrummy box of treats. Please note that although these treats were sent to us to try, this has not effected our taste buds at all and all thoughts here are our own.

Have you tried any of Miss Millar's Marshmallows? Which is your favourite flavour?

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Time for Tea...The View From The Shard

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea post from Tea With Me and Friends, recently Lorna and I enjoyed a rather special sky high afternoon tea adventure that we would like to share with you. We enjoyed our afternoon tea spread 800ft (244m) up in the air on the 72nd floor of here....

The Shard, London

This summer The View From The Shard has created London's highest garden on their open-air sky deck, and they have partnered with Fortnum and Mason to offer a rather special "hamperlings" afternoon tea experience. Think posh picnic....with great great, friendly service and amazing views and you'll get the right idea.

Once you have made your way through the security at the bottom (allow plenty of time) and been shot up into the clouds in the lifts (they are so quick) you will find yourself near the top on level 69 which is enclosed, take the stairs a and you'll make it to the dizzying hits of the 72nd floor where you will be ushered to your table by the wonderful Fortnum & Mason servers.....

Tea With Me and Friends enjoying tea in the clouds
The View From The Shard

Your picnic afternoon tea will be brought over to you and you can have a choice of tea or coffee. The spread is served in recycled cardboard packaging, but don't be fooled by this....the quality is still amazing and just as good as the food served at Fortnum & Mason....

Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea

Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea at The View From The Shard

If you can tear your eyes away from the wonderful views for a moment you will see that the afternoon tea spread has a very traditional feel with sandwiches, scones and wonderful sweet treats.

As you can see, each "course" is served in it's own little box. Let's take a look at those finger sandwiches....

Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea sandwiches

In the box you will find salmon, cucumber, egg mayonnaise and (my favourite) coronation chicken sandwiches, cut into perfect bite sized sandwiches. The bread is soft and the fillings tasty. Initially each guest will receive one round, but the servers keep a close eye on their guests and are on hand to provide more sandwiches if you'd like them.

Once we'd enjoyed our sandwiches we moved onto the scones...

Afternoon tea scones from Fortnum & Mason

We each had a good sized plain and fruit scone, accompanied by clotted cream and Fortnum & Mason strawberry preserve. The scones were fresh and not at all claggy. Once again, once we had enjoyed these we were asked if we would like anymore.

Finally we made it onto the sweets....

Sweet afternoon tea treats from Fortnum & Mason

So, these little beauties were scrummy....they were patisserie quality sweet treats, which were very delicate. My only slightly negative comment from the whole experience was that it was a little hard to take the sweets from the box as they were so delicate. However, they are in keeping with the whole experience and I wouldn't have wanted anything more robust....so I will stop moaning...but prepared to get a little messy!

As you can see...I did manage to get them out of the box in one piece...

The raspberry macaroon was light and chewy, the sponge was soft and light and the strawberry tart just melted in your mouth. The white chocolate and pistachio sponge was divine....but my favourite was the Opera cake which was like a little slice of heaven! 

Again, if we wanted more we could enjoy more!

A special mention for the Fortnum & Mason servers who were really friendly but professional, and kept us in tea and cakes the whole time. It can't be easy serving tea up there, but they did a brilliant job when we visited.

Once you have enjoyed the afternoon tea spread you are free to enjoy the views and roam the two viewing decks, this is included in the price of the package. It would be very wrong of me not to share some of the amazing views....

The View From The Shard

The View From The Shard

The sky deck itself is beautifully finished with over 2000 flowers and plants and if you can ignore the other people who are there for the views (but are staring rather jealously at your afternoon tea spread) then it's a rather wonderful setting for an afternoon tea.

To be honest the other guests did take a bit of getting used to....not only did they stare at your food, they are also trying to see the view that you have right in front of you. I did have one person nudge the top of my head as they tried to take a photo of London Bridge!

The other thing to remember if you visit...as well as looking out and down at the views....take a look up as well....

Don't forget to look up -
it's open air!

This afternoon tea experience is booked via The View From The Shard website, and packages start at £85 for two people. This includes admission, and so I think is amazing value...especially considering the quality of the food. This is a limited package though and so if you want to have tea in the clouds you need to book soon.

We had a thoroughly lovely time when we visited....your tea might be served in a paper cup rather than china....but I think you'll agree it's still a rather special afternoon tea....

Fortnum & Mason tea...with a view!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna