When the opportunity arose to have afternoon tea delivered to the office I declared how British it would be to enjoy it with my favoured colleagues just around the corner in the still jubilant – if a little restricted by preparations for the Olympics – St James’s Park. Surely only a strawberry fool would refuse. But, in true British style and as befell the Jubilee only a month or so earlier (and seemingly continuously since) the weather made al fresco eating if not impossible, certainly undesirable. So it was, the teatime treat was transferred to “Meeting Room A” which was, at least, dry.
The ladies at Blueberry Hill promised a “perfect afternoon tea” delivered to the door. Everything arrived in a big white box – nothing special from the outside but raising some questions from the receptionist who took delivery and stored it temporarily in the industrial-sized fridge. However, it soon became clear that this was a Pandora’s box of afternoon tea delights. After being joined by some curious colleagues (who I owed various favours to) and taking a moment to sit back in awe, each of the component pieces was set out uniformly on office crockery, a tea pot was sourced and brewing began.
There were two types of tea: Moroccan Mint for the caffeine phobic health conscious(!) and a special Blue Lavandula Earl Grey, blended (so I am informed by the convenient label) with bergamot, lavender and blue cornflowers. A delicate blend and welcome refreshment. Milk and a pot of sugar were even part of the package (but no spoons).
Now, on to the food, starting with the savoury offerings. We shared between us the sun-dried tomato, goats cheese and pesto tarts (‘tasty’ and unexpected) and sandwiches; cucumber (crisp and fresh, but disappointingly soggy bread after chilling); salmon and cream cheese (‘good’); chicken and tarragon (‘tangy’ and not overwhelmed by tarragon); cheese and pepper pickle – each cut into dainty fingers.
The savoury starter was just to prepare us for the scones that followed. 4 fruit scones and 4 plain are served with homemade jam and a very generous portion of clotted cream, so tempting in fact that a colleague recommended “if you’re fat, just don’t eat it”. The scones demanded a competition for superlatives with whimpers of “awesome” “10 out of 10” and my own: “almost as good as Ma Poulter’s.”
Struggling to fit the full experience into a lunch hour, we decided to share the remaining sweet treats. The mini carrot ‘cup’ cakes with butter icing were an instant hit all round and I’m assured satisfied one of my ‘five a day’. Simple, raspberry streaked meringues were light, crisp and just a little bit chewy inside (‘exquisite’). The chocolate brownies divided opinion, being insufficiently ‘fudgey’ for some but for me, just right. Still, it inspired some tea fuelled debate later in the afternoon whilst we each fought against a gluttonous fatigue.
Being a school day, it seemed inappropriate to pop the cork on the bottle of Prosecco that came with the package and that was saved for another time, but a welcome addition that would go some way in cutting through the sweetness of the teatime treats and somewhat palate cleansing.
There are some things which could be improved – the cling film that wrapped the sandwiches would have been better replaced by paper and some disposable cutlery would have made a picnic more practical, but these are minor points. The whole experience was enjoyable, a little surprising and suitable as an office based birthday treat, celebration package or even, a client event if arranged (as can be) on a much larger scale. The scones will stay with me for some time, not only in memory, but also in the gym. Cheers!
This review first appeared at http://www.lawandmore.co.uk on 11 July 2012