*Due to some kind of technical glitch this is actually my second time writing this post so sorry for the delayed upload…so sad. But everything happens for a reason and sometimes life has funny ways of telling us to revise something or make something better- maybe this is the glow-up-opportunity that this blog post needed!*
Firstly, dear Reader, happy holiday season! You may or may not know but I travelled back to ol’ Blighty (England, to be precise) just over a week ago to start my month of holiday family fun and eating way too many scones and Gregg’s sausage rolls. The festive period is of course a time for celebration, similar to that of birthdays, and it just so happens that quite a number of the birthdays in my family fall in December. This includes my lovely Grandmother who celebrated her 80th birthday last week (don’t tell her I told you that- you don’t look a day over 62 Nan <3). So to celebrate my parents decided to treat my Nan to Afternoon Tea at the beautiful Danesfield House in Marlow.
So if you’re British then you’ll know about Afternoon tea, if you’re not British you probably have some kind of idea about it from Downton Abbey/Pride and Prejudice. It’s a kind of glamorous set-meal usually enjoyed in the early afternoon that consists of decadent foods rich in sugar and fats (ingredients that in the past were very expensive and often only enjoyed by more affluent households); hence afternoon tea is typically associated with the upper classes or royalty. It’s often reserved for special occasions (as it can be fairly pricey), so everyone dresses-up in their finest clothes to set the mood.
The material contents of the meal vary depending on the venue, but the basic barebone structure of this delight is the same:
1. A helping of delicate long-shaped “finger” sandwiches with very simple traditionally “British” fillings (ham and mustard, cucumber, egg mayo, tuna mayo, cheese and pickle etc)
2. A selection of freshly baked scones; often just plain and fruit but sometimes more decadently flavoured (I’ve had the pleasure of tasting lemon scones and rose scones in the past), served with lavish helpings of strawberry jam and clotted cream
3. An array of miniature cakes/desserts. There is no set selection of cakes to offer for this part- it is often completely down to the artist merits of the chefs responsible. But all the cakes are freshly-made, adorably-sized, and absolutely delightful
4. Of course, an unlimited supply of tea from elegant fine-china teapots. Always fresh tea leaves, never tea bags
I was actually really pleasantly suprised with Danesfield House’s selection of tea. They had everything from the classic black teas, to aromatic white teas, refreshing green teas and delicate oolong teas. I opted for the China Oolong without milk, which had thees lovely flavours of fresh peach and citrus. Sweet yet fresh, which paired perfectly with the overall decadence of the afternoon tea. Of course, you could order coffee with your afternoon tea but…it just feels a bit wrong…you know?
Overall, the location of this afternoon tea was really stunning. Danesfield House is an estate with a hotel, a spa, and the most stunnng dining and ballroom faculties. The service was very welcoming and the tea was served with he utmost professionalism. The dining room was in the outside “extension” of the house so had huge glass windows with a lovely view of the gardens. The interior of the house was decorated appropriately with christmas trees and golden fairy lights, creating a warm and comforting atmosphere. It was thoroughly enjoyable.
There is something I so truly lovely about the whole experience of an afternoon tea. It is so simplistic yet so unbelievably elegant. It leaves you feeling so sophisticated and somewhat pompous (in the best possible way). I have been to many afternoon teas like this, but my favourite part is often actually exploring the grounds of the estates that host the teas (and the unlimited tea, of course). We went to a place called Tilney Hall for tea last summer and the gardens were so stunning. Prancing around those mid-summer made me feel like a girl straight out of a Jane Austen novel. It can really be a much-needed escape from reality.
If you are visiting the U.K., or currently reside here and just fancy a nice treat, defintely consider splashing out a little on afternoon tea. It’s an experience one would never regret having!
Afternoon Tea at Danesfield House