It’s that time again! February has come around and everyone is slowly anticipating that special day, where by showing your loved ones extra gratitude or how much you truly love and appreciate them. For all you singletons, don’t think of Valentine’s as something you’re missing out on. Grab your favourite friends and get together for some Valentine’s Day celebrations. After all, love is love!
There are so many great ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day from some of the finest hotel bars in London or a staycation at one of your favourite hotels. This Valentine’s Day, try something a little different like afternoon tea at The Langham? I know you all will be in for a treat, not only have I tried and tasted the afternoon tea myself, I have been behind the scenes with Andrew Gravett and his team in the pastry kitchen.
Andrew and his team showed us a few basics on how some of the sweet treats are made. As a part of the menu of the new Valentine’s Afternoon tea, Andrew explained that he had taken the number of sweet treats from 5 to 3 on the main stand but added in a little surprise treat instead which comes in the form of a gooey molten cake. The fifth treat comes as a gift, called ‘Say it with Roses’ to savour your the sweetness throughout Valentine’s Day.
First off, we were showed how the You Melt Me fondant was made, using a mixture of chocolate and a mix of butter, sugar and eggs.
Andrew then went on to show us how he make the chocolate mousse inside the Say it with Roses take away gift, which was a cocoa butter based mousse, which melts and breaks down when it mixes with the sugar particles in the mix. This provides a delicious, creamy, fluffy mousse – yummy!
Andrew’s team member showed us how the praline almonds were made using a rotating mixer, regularly adding sugar syrup to to ensure that the circular motion covers all the almonds in the lashing of thick, sweet rose red syrup.
Andrew finally showed us how the branded Langham white chocolate rings were made too.
It was so lovely to see it all came together as the pastry section of the Langham Valentines Afternoon Tea.
It wasn’t long before we left the pastry kitchen and got to try the afternoon tea for ourselves. The cork on the bottle of Perrier Jouët was popped and we clinked glasses to celebrate the new Valentine’s Afternoon Tea. We felt extremely privileged to be one of the first people to trying the tea, so it was very much down to our taste test.
The table was dressed for the romantic occasion, filled with red roses. Simple yet very classic.
I normally order the Langham blend tea but I decided to try something this time. I chose the vanilla rooibos tea, which had a lovely soft, smooth taste of vanilla which made the perfect, velvety brew.
There is a selection of special sandwiches that have been made up specifically for the Valentine’s Afternoon Tea, but the bread hadn’t arrived in time for our preview. We were the served the traditional afternoon tea sandwiches (a selection that excluded fish and pork, as per my dietary requirements) of cream cheese and cucumber, pastrami and mustard, egg, red pepper and black olive tapenade and a hummus cone.
However, when having the Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea on the 14th, you can expect the following sandwiches to be served, roast beef and horseradish on rosemary bread, duck egg brioche with artichoke and truffle, smoked salmon, preserved lemon on a seeded cracker, crab and avocado with coriander in a brioche roll and cucumber, cream cheese on white bread.
I have to admit, nowhere can makes scones quite like the Langham. I have had many afternoon teas in my time but I always come back wanting them again from the Langham. They are always so fresh, soft and delectable. It could be because they are made three times a day to ensure there is enough for each ’round’ of sittings of afternoon tea, making sure everyone gets the best scones every time they dine. The plain and golden raisin scones are served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Of course, the cream goes on first… 😉
Onto the much anticipated sweet treats, the trio arrived on a three tiered stand, starting with the Love is All Round at the bottom left which has a centre of light mousse with a hint of hibiscus that is surrounded by a soft, shiny red glaze and a berry centre that explodes in your mouth with a fresh, tangy flavour. Placed on a disc, it adds a little extra bit of crunch to the sweet treat.
To the right of it is the Where’s Cupid? A sphere of cardamon infused light chocolate mousse that has a helping of white coffee cream. As the mousse melts, the coffee flavour follows through before a rich chocolate and floral cardamom flavours come through shortly after.
Above it is the Marry Me, a ring shaped tart with the traditional sable pastry and a filling of cream and almonds. The praline almonds that Andrew’s colleuage had roasted and crystallised with a praline coating earlier in our masterclass were finely chopped into the pastry. The sugar praline coating gives a delicious crunch too.
The fruity intensity of Manjari chocolate in the You Melt Me fondant was beautifully balanced with the flavour of the simple vanilla ice-cream. The different temperatures offer a perfect contrast between the warm gooey molten cake and the cold ice-cream creating a melted, creamy deliciousness.
To top things off, Michel Roux Jr came and popped up behind us to check how we were all doing. I have to admit, he’s probably one of the nicest and most genuine chefs I have ever met!
The Valentine’s Afternoon tea is priced at £59 per person for one day only, 14th February – Valentine’s Day. Seatings are available from 12-4.30pm. You don’t want to miss out on this experience, it will be something worth celebrating with your loved one or favourite friends.
Until next time…