When my friend Suze aka the Luxury Columnist asked me whether I’d join her for Chocolate Afternoon Tea by Paul A. Young at the InterContinental Park Lane I did not have to think twice. Paul A. Young is an award-winning, renowned chocolatier in London with stores in Soho, Bank and the beautiful Camden Passage in Islington – my favourite of his stores which I never manage to just walk by when I am in the area!
Afternoon tea takes place in the Wellington Lounge, which was once the Queen’s childhood residence. Conveniently located between Mayfair and Knightsbridge it is the ideal spot to have a sophisticated break from Christmas shopping. We started our Chocolate Afternoon Tea with a lovely glass of champagne, served by our friendly and attentive waiter, Stefan who did a marvelous job throughout our afternoon tea experience.
While sipping on our glass of champagne we were served canapes and sandwiches on a three-tier curate stand. On the upper tier, we had stilton, chestnut and walnut vol-au-vent, a gorgeous combination of Christmas flavours as well as venison and winter vegetable puff. For sandwiches we had a selection of turkey (sage stuffing bound in black pepper and clove mayonnaise), smoked salmon (crayfish and prawns with Marie Rose sauce) and honey roast ham hock (cranberry and roasted pineapple chutney) sandwiches.
Each course was served with a different tea – our first course was paired with a second flush Darjeeling Okayti estate which developed its body with time, complimenting the wintery flavors from our first course beautifully. I very much appreciated the great selection of tea and how tea was treated like a good wine – something truly unique and special!
Our next course consisted of classic, as well as speculaas scones accompanied by strawberry jam and clotted cream for the classic version and orange curd for the speculaas scones. For this course, we were served another beautiful black tea with vanilla aromas.
The highlight of our afternoon tea was certainly Paul A. Young’s incredible selection of fine chocolate creations which were beautifully presented on a large plate and included Christmas Sphere (chocolate ganache, orange and cranberry compote, salted caramel hazelnuts), White chocolate water ganache (infused with mincemeat served in a half single origin 65% Grenadian Kalingo dark chocolate cocoa pod) and smoked cracking embers tart (gingerbread spiced pastry tartlet, single origin 72% Venezuelan chocolate ganache). Paired with peppermint & cocoa nib tea it was an absolute delight for any chocolate lover!
Just as we thought we came to the end of our afternoon tea, Stefan surprised us with our last sweet treats – Winston Churchill’s family fruit cake recipe – small Christmas cakes and mince pies!
Unable to finish everything we were given little parcels with our leftovers to take home with us – a lovely and very welcome touch.
The limited edition Christmas Tea by Paul A. Young is available until the 8th of January 2017 daily from 1 pm to 5 pm.
InterContinental London Park Lane One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7QY