As we finish up with the glorious summers, and the colder months set it, everyone patiently awaits the official Christmas season to take off. As the Christmas lights drape the streets and shine bright throughout the night, shoppers get into the spirit with Christmas shopping, and carol singers start to chant festive tunes gleefully.
In London, it’s a time of year that the city truly comes to life. Museums set up ice-rinks as romantic couples slip and slide, and hotels fill the air with festive cheer, putting on quite a show with festive afternoon teas with a sprinkling of Christmas cheer.
This year, Grosvenor House partnered up with Birmingham Royal Ballet to celebrate the rendition of the Nutcracker, with a limited-edition afternoon tea. Best of all, I was asked to come and try it out for myself. A real Christmas delight!
Stepping into the hotel, you can feel the festivities in the air. The Park Room was gloriously dressed in white and red decor, bringing to life the elegant interiors of the hotel. From twinkling fairy lights to Santa statues and neatly wrapped presents, Grosnevour House was genuinely ready for Christmas.
We kicked off our truly festive afternoon with a glass of Perrier Jouët Champagne, a firm favourite of mine too, plus it is the season for bubbles. As we sipped away, our lovely hostess took us through the thought process of Executive Chef Paul Bates’ afternoon tea. His idea was to bring the Nutcracker to life through an array of marvellous creations, all inspired by the Nutcracker ballet itself. The afternoon tea is split up into three “acts” and is combined with festive gourmet flavours and seasonal ingredients.
Act 1, set in the home, is represented by traditional finger sandwiches including cucumber with garden mint butter and smoked Oakham chicken with tarragon and crème fraîche. Sandwiches are complemented by delicate open brioche buns topped with fresh prawn and salmon or quails egg.
Act 2 is set in the pine forest and is brought to life with soft buttermilk scones and paired with a decadent selection of six jams, including rhubarb & ginger, gooseberry and rose petal. The rose petal jam was my favourite. If they popped it into cars and started selling it, I would be first to get my hands on it.
Act 3, the finale, is set in a land of sweet decadence and represented by a top tier of delicate pastries, each expressing a character from the Nutcracker. Firstly, The Nutcracker made with hazelnut chocolate chip tart with a Devon cream ganache and a chocolate nutcracker, followed by The Sugar Plum Fairy, a light preserved plum cheesecake on a shortbread biscuit base with raspberry gel. The Angels made with William pear cream, delicately coated in white chocolate that glistens in the light. The Spanish Dancers and the Arabian made using flourless chocolate cake topped with Spanish honey chocolate mousse and coffee-infused chocolate twigs from the forest. And lastly, The Danish Shepherdess made with mandarin and almond sponge, topped with almond cream and Danish redcurrant gel.
When you think you have finished, there is an opportunity to try another of the selection of Christmas cakes available. Naturally, I had to take mine home but the lime drizzle cake is a must-try. It’s absolutely divine!
You have the chance to try out this festive experience until 1st January, so don’t miss out on an afternoon of indulgence and delicious sweet and savoury treats. To book, click here.
Until next time…