Tetley Tea – Ahhh, that’s better!

Tetley 1

Tea drinking is a British institution, with over 165 million cups of tea drunk everyday. Yorkshire brothers Joseph and Edward Tetley founded Tetley Tea over 175 years ago – and it was Tetley who introduced tea bags to the UK back in the 1950s. They were the first to use perforated tissue for teabags in the 1960s, and in the 1980s, Tetley launched the first round tea bag. Today, a staggering 36 million cups of Tetley are drunk each day.

 

The Tetley Tea Folk

You can’t talk about Tetley Tea without talking about their iconic Tetley Tea Folk who have been lighting up UK screens since 1973. Since their inception over four decades ago, the Tetley Tea Folk have become a true British institution. Fun, friendly and down-to-earth, Gaffer, Sydney and Tina are the much-loved face of a quality cup of tea.

Tetley Tea Folk

It’s been 40 years since Gaffer first brewed up and charmed a generation with his gentle Northern humour, but the Tetley Tea Folk are back on the boil! This time, the much-loved animated characters have left their tea factory and will be unveiled to the nation as diplomatic heroes acting in the face of intergalactic tyranny when the new ad airs on Saturday 25th January, all part of a campaign designed to show the difference ‘a good brew’ can make.

The message is simple - in the midst of busy, often pressure filled lifestyles, it’s time for us all to stop and share a little quality time over a mug of the UK’s favourite hot drink. I couldn’t agree more – so here I am in my very own Gaffer hat!

 

   Denise drinking Tetley Tea 1          Denise drinking Tetley Tea 2          Denise drinking Tetley Tea 3
 

To mark the return of the Tetley Tea Folk this week-end, here are some significant numbers in the history of these adored characters.

1.   Over 34 billion – billion! – cups of tea are consumed in the UK every year

2.   Tetley tea is consumed in 10 million kitchens across Britain and 36 million cups of Tetley are drunk each day

3.   1973: Gaffer brews up for the first time on UK TV screens (that’s four decades ago!)

4.   67: the number of TV ads that the Tetley Tea Folk have starred in since 1973

5.   30m Tetley Tea Folk items sold to tea lovers… … in 5m homes around the world

6.   1990: an Elvis-inspired Gaffer celebrates the launch of the Round Bag!

7.   2001: The Tetley Tea Folk take a ‘tea break’ from our TV screens

8.   2010: Gaffers leads their return with a brand new look!

9.   100% Natural… Tetley tea leaves are simply picked, cut and dried – nothing is added and each blend is quality tested at least 8 times!

10.   175 years of Tetley Black / Original being one of the nation’s favourite great tasting cuppa’s

 

Tetley Teabags

 Have you had YOUR cup of tea today?

If not … make time, make Tetley!

 

 

 

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3 Whittard Teas That I Really Like

Pouring tea

I’m a fan of Whittard Tea (I’ve written about them before) – not just for their tea (oh, and the attractive packaging), but for their retail shops too, which are brilliant. If you’ve never been to one, I urge you to pop by for a visit. You will find them in shopping malls and in cities and towns from Basingstoke to York.

Whittard Tea Shop

Whittard shops are filled with the most wonderful tea (and coffee) as well as a fab selection of mugs, teapots, tins, tea accessories, and loads of other goodies.  Their customer service is fantastic, and every Whittard shop I have ever been in is always fully stocked and just an all around enjoyable experience.  Tip: There are usually free samples available towards the back of the store.

NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S TEA BAGS

Recently, I had a chance to try some of Whittard’s tea pyramids – triangular tea bags made from sheer bio-degradable mesh and filled with whole leaves (or fruit) to infuse perfectly in your cup. These mesh tea bags are beautiful – they look and feel like silk.

 

Tea pyramid by Whittard

Tea pyramid by Whittard

 

Times have changed, tea lovers! Do not be fooled by the old ‘all tea bags contain inferior tea’ blah blah blah. Yes, this may be still be the case with some tea vendors, but we are now seeing more and more leading-edge tea companies (like Whittard) using full leaf tea in quality tea bags that are roomy enough to allow those leaves to fully unfurl, releasing all that tea glory!

A SAMPLING OF WHITTARD TEAS

I must say it was almost impossible to narrow down my list of the teas I wanted to review. Whittard offers black tea, white tea, green tea, yellow tea, Oolong tea, Pu-erh tea, Rooibos, single estate tea, flavoured tea, fruit & herbal infusions, and artisan tea. I mean, how in the world does one choose?

But choose I did and because autumn is my most favourite time of year, I decided to go for 3 blends that sounded comforting and autumnal:

Baked AppleMasala ChaiTruffle Praline
BAKED APPLE INFUSION

The first was Baked Apple which is actually an infusion and not tea (it’s only ‘tea’ if it contains tea leaves). Whittard’s Baked Apple is a delicious mixture of apples blended together with almond, cinnamon, hazelnut and cream flavours.

The scent alone is worth your trying this tea, but honestly, it was lovely. I expected it to taste similar to other apple flavoured ‘teas’ but this one had a pleasing, distinctive, more authentic apple taste than previous ones I have tried. (And the cinnamon is not overpowering as sometimes can be the case when paired with apple.) I sampled this tea straight up, with no milk or sugar.

MASALA CHAI

Next, I tried the Masala Chai black tea with spices. Masala Chai, or mixed spice tea, originates from India. Recipes vary from family to family but the inspiration stays the same.

Enticingly aromatic and beautifully warming, I sampled this tea with generous lashings of milk and sugar to evoke a traditional Masala Chai. If there was ever comfort in a cup, Whittard Masala Chai is it.

TRUFFLE PRALINE TEA

Truffle Praline was the final tea I tasted – a black tea with white chocolate pieces, rose petals and flavouring.

Again, oh my, the aroma was amazing. This is a light tea but with a very decadent taste. The small pieces of white chocolate (I promise you will be tempted to pick them out and eat them on their own!) add just the right amount of chocolate flavour, and the praline pulls it all together to form a truly rich tasting cup of tea. I sampled this tea with just a hint of sugar. If I had to pick a favourite of all 3, this one – Whittard’s Truffle Praline Tea – was it.

But don’t take my word for it – try these teas for yourself!

Whittard logo

WHERE TO BUY

Visit your nearest Whittard store, or better yet, place your order online. (Pssst…the Whittard Christmas shop is now open!)

And don’t forget to check out the Whittard Facebook page, the Whittard Twitter page, and Whittard’s Pinterest boards.

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Macaroons from Bettys (or are they Macarons?)

Bettys Macaroons in a teacup

When it comes down to spelling differences between one country and another, is there still sometimes a definite ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – or does it all just depend on which side of the border you’re standing on?

Take the case of the ‘Macaron’, for example. Or should that be ‘Macaroon’?

 

What an American calls a Macaroon

 

As an American, I grew up knowing the macaroon as a small cookie made with coconut and sometimes dipped or drizzled in chocolate; and the macaron as that lovely French meringue delicacy. (Until now, the best macarons I have ever had were at Mariage Frères Salon de Thé in Paris, and Ladurée (at Harrods) in London.)

But here in England, I have seen the word ‘macaroon’ used to describe the French ‘macaron’ and have been told that ‘macaroon’ is simply the British spelling of ‘macaron’.

 

Bettys Macaroons

 

At the end of the day, what matters more to me than how it’s spelled, however, is how it tastes – and Bettys (whom I have written about before) recently sent me a box of their gorgeous macaroons to taste and, as expected, I was not disappointed.

Bettys macaroons are handmade weekly, using only natural ingredients and no preservatives or artificial flavourings or colour. The beautiful box of six macaroons are raspberry, pistachio, lemon, and chocolate.  I know this is going to sound cliche, but honestly – they burst with flavour! You can really tell that they are 1) fresh, and 2) made with top quality ingredients. (My favourite was the pistachio.)

If you are looking for an extra-special treat, Bettys macaroons would be perfect. They are exquisite.

Handmade macaroons from Bettys

How do you feel about the whole spelling thing? Is it wrong to refer to the French ‘macaron’ as a ‘macaroon’ ?

 

 

 

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I can’t resist Whittard tea

Whittard Shop

Once upon a time there was a man named Walter. Walter was born in London in 1861, the son of a wealthy merchant family who owned leather factories in the tannery district. But Walter wasn’t into leather. He was into tea. He spent five years learning all he could about the tea trade and at the ripe old age of 25, he started his own business – a smart shop of shelves filled with gleaming caddies, brass scales, and tea .

Londoners of Walter’s day loved their tea. Capitalising on its popularity, Walter created exquisite, expertly blended luxury teas and made them available to everyone. Understanding the importance of tailoring your product to your customer, and inspired by the be-wigged law residents of the nearby Inns of Court, he even created a tea blend called ‘Barristers Refresher’. Cheeky Walter was a clever man, and he built a tea empire.

 

Whittard of Chelsea Logo

 

Walter died in 1935, and his tea shop passed to his sons, who kept the business thriving through war, a warehouse fire (the rebuild propelled a move to Chelsea), and family tragedy.  It’s had its up and downs since that time but through it all, this chain of tea shops – WHITTARD – has maintained high quality teas, and a loyal customer base.

Whittard has been a favourite of mine since my very first trip to England over ten years ago. The honest truth is that I simply cannot pass by a Whittard shop without popping in. Their store fronts are so welcoming and vibrant, and their products are wide-ranging and absolutely top quality. I have owned Whittard mugs, Whittard teapots, Whittard tea tins and Whittard tea.

 

Whittard Mug

 

I am at the moment somewhat obsessed with Whittard’s White Chocolate tea. When I first read about it, I was skeptical. White tea, made from the youngest, most tender of buds, is so very, very delicate and I felt sure that chocolate (even white chocolate) would surely overpower it. But it doesn’t – not at all.

 

Whittard White Chocolate Tea

The tiny, creamy pieces of Chilean white chocolate add just the right touch of taste and luxury to this beautiful white Chinese tea. If you are a Builder’s Tea kind of person, do yourself a favour and indulge. This is the type of unique, luxury blend that Walter would have liked.  Oh go on – try something new. Walter would be pleased.

 

 

 

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Are those tea leaves on Harrods’ family tree?

A Harrods Cup of Tea

Whenever I’m at Harrods, the first place I head to is the Food Hall, mainly because it’s one of the few places in the store where I can afford something. But the real reason is because I love the tea section. It’s not a particularly large space, but it’s crammed with boxes and tins of more than 300 pre-packed teas, and 165 single-estate, single original teas.

The last time I was there, they were featuring this 22-carat gold tea. As if.

22-carat gold tea from Harrods

You probably know all there is to know about Harrods, the world’s most famous department store:

That it had the very first escalator in history.

That it sits on 4.5 acres and is visited by 100,000 shoppers every day.

That A.A. Milne found the original Winnie-the-Pooh for his son Christopher Robin in the Toy Department.

That it employs 5,000 staff from over 50 different countries, together with 7  ‘Green Men’ who stand by certain doors to offer heavily-laden shoppers a helping hand.

But there’s one fact that I bet you didn’t know.

A brief history of Harrods

In 1834, Charles Henry Harrod, a London tea merchant (and grocer), rented a small shop on Brompton Road, Knightsbridge. The area was quickly becoming quite fashionable, and in just a few years, the discerning Charles – a man of good taste – put his store, Harrods, on the proverbial map.

It eventually passed from father to son, and Charles Digby Harrod continued to build the business by purchasing adjacent stores and introducing a delivery service that is still in operation today. The family sold the business in 1889, but Harrods continued to grow in profits and in size. Its motto is Omina Omnibus Ubique: All things for all people. It truly is legendary.

Harrods Tea Court

“Our customers want the best teas…” ~ Yousef Serroukh, Tea Buyer, Harrods


And all due to one man, a tea merchant, whose legacy lives on through the sales of luxury tea to discerning drinkers from across the globe.

 

The next time you are in London and visit Harrods, don’t be so much amazed by its size, atmosphere, or wealth as with the fact that it all started with a cup of tea.

 

 

 

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Succumb to the Crumb [Afternoon Tea Party Box]

Crumb Tea Party in a Box

Crumb, a “cake experience” company in Leeds founded just over a year ago by two young mums, make afternoon tea parties that can be delivered not only to your door, but through your letterbox. Alice down a rabbit hole? Sure. A tea party delivered through my letterbox? I was skeptical, but Crumb have convinced me that they are no Mad Hatter.

 

Crumb Tea Party in a Box

The parcel did indeed fit through the letterbox,
but once opened, what did I find?

 

Five varieties of freshly baked goodies, Crumb Tea Party in a Box

Inside were 20 slices (4 each) of exquisite home baked goodies:
Yogurt Topped Cranberry Tiffin
Chocolate Rocky Road
Nut Granola with Belgian Chocolate
Caramel Shortbread
Strawberry Sandwich Shortbread

 

12 individual sachets of tea, doilies, little flags, and napkins, Crumb Tea Party in a Box

Also included were 12 individually wrapped sachets of fine Taylors of Harrogate Tea, and decorative cake topper flags, plate doilies, and napkins.

 

It's so easy to set up Crumb's Tea Party in a Box

Denise’s Tea-for-Two party, courtesy of Crumb

 

After opening the Afternoon Tea Party Box by Crumb, I set up the little Tea-for-Two pictured above in about 10 minutes – with enough leftover food, tea, and extras to host a second tea party. (There’s plenty of time to plan; the baked goods have a 3-week expiration date.) The sheer convenience of it all makes entertaining effortless!

We work closely with one of the finest bakeries in the region who hand make all of our products to the highest possible standard. ~ Crumb

The slices were fresh, very tasty, and of noteworthy size. I was worried that the generously topped Nut Granola would be too crunchy for me, but it wasn’t – it was very easy to eat. My favourite was the Yogurt Topped Cranberry Tiffin. Superb! (Note: All food ingredients are listed in full detail on the back of the box.)

The Taylors of Harrogate tea selection in Crumb’s Afternoon Tea Party Box is spot on – there is something for everyone: Earl Grey, Yorkshire Gold, Afternoon Darjeeling, Delicate Green Tea, Blackberry & Elderflower (caffeine free), and Orange & Lemon.

 

Detail, Crumb's Tea Party in a Box

Eat me!

 

What would a tea party be without a bit of merriment, and the cute cake topper flags with sayings like Exquisite! Absolutely Scrumptious! Delectable! and Take One!  add just that.  (Can be saved to use on your own treats.)

If there is one thing I think Crumb has neglected in their Afternoon Tea Party Box it is this: their name. Everyone who leaves a tea party fashioned by Crumb will want to remember where it came from so they can order one of their own. A subtle, stylish tone-on-tone rendering of the word Crumb on the little white napkins that come in the box might be lovely.

Not long ago I wrote about another fabulous Afternoon Tea Party Box that can be delivered to your home, but the Crumb Afternoon Tea Party Box is an excellent alternative as – and this is my favourite thing about it – it can be delivered through a standard letterbox.

An Afternoon Tea Party Box by Crumb delivered through their letterbox would be a great way to surprise your mum, your nan, your sister, or your bestie.  Delivered through your own letterbox, it’s a simple way to host an engagement celebration, book club meeting, or chick flick get-together.  And as far as mad tea parties go, the convenience of an Afternoon Tea Party Box by Crumb eliminates all the madness, leaving you and your guests to enjoy teatime in wonderland.

 

 It’s easy to order and pay online from the Crumb websiteCrumb currently have 15 different food boxes (including a Christmas range) varying in price from £15.00-£32.00.  Delivery is free via Royal Mail, first class.

 

I am curious if there are any companies in the United States that offer a quality Afternoon Tea home delivery service?

 

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Bettys is an English tea tradition

Bettys Tea Rooms

You simply cannot  talk about tea in England without talking about Bettys. The story of Bettys began more than 90 years ago with Frederick Belmont, a young Swiss orphan who trained in baking and confectionery in Switzerland and France before travelling to England to seek his fortune. Settling in Yorkshire, he opened the first Bettys Tea Room in Harrogate in 1919 and the combination of mouth-watering Swiss confectionery and Yorkshire warmth in such an elegant setting proved irresistible. Bettys was an instant success and was soon able to boast of ‘Royal and Distinguished Patronage’ on its letterhead.

With six Bettys Tea Rooms across Yorkshire, their own Cookery School (on my Bucket List!), and  now a home delivery service, Bettys has certainly grown over the years but amazingly, it is still run by Frederick Belmont’s family.

I have been a customer of  Bettys for a long time and over the years have probably ordered, among other things, at least a dozen of their adorable Birthday Cakes for delivery to family and friends. These little cakes are real gems, but my favourite Bettys products are those that come available just before the holidays, so I wanted to share with you a few of the ones I like best from this year’s Christmas collection, courtesy of Bettys.

 

Bettys Tea Room Blend

Bettys Tea Room Blend Tea

The boxes and tins of Bettys Tea Room Blend Tea have been updated with a charming new design created by Yorkshire artist Emily Sutton. The illustration was inspired by the Bettys Tea Rooms. The tea is a blend of East Africa and Assam black teas and is served in their tea rooms. It is a lovely, full tea – so lovely that I am already over halfway through a box received only a few days ago. Highly addictive. In a good way.

 

 

Bettys Mug

 

Bettys Mug

Finally! A Bettys mug! I don’t know about you, but I love ‘branded’ tea mugs and this is one of the prettiest I’ve seen. Emily Sutton is the artist and even Mr. Tea likes the design; he said it works for a man or a woman. It’s a nice size (not too large, not too small) and has a thin rim and generously sized handle. Fine bone china, and made in England.

 

 

Bettys Spiced Christmas Tea

 

Bettys Spiced Christmas Tea

I think I’ve tried just about every Christmas tea blend out there, but this one ranks high on my list. Why? Because it’s not so darn overpowering! It is so easy to overdo it with spiced holiday tea but the tea-to-spice ratio with this one is just right. Bettys Spiced Christmas Tea is black tea blended with lemon, orange, and mellow, warming spices. I have been enjoying a mug of this tea late in the evening. It smells as good as it tastes. Available as teabags or loose leaf.

 

Visit Bettys Online to place an order, but I warn you that it is going to be hard to choose because their entire selection is tempting. And if you’re curious as to why they are called Bettys, take a look at the Bettys Story.

 

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Delights and tea abound at the Windsor Emporium

Teatime at the Windsor Emporium

Mr. Tea and I are always on the look-out for an enjoyable morning out, preferably if in one way or another a good cup of tea is involved.  We were rewarded with both on Sunday when we popped over to the Windsor Emporium for a bit of shopping and tea-drinking. Described as “an emporium of the unexpected”, the Windsor Emporium is an enchanting, alternative shopping experience held monthly (Mar-Dec) at the historical Guildhall in Windsor. Jackie Couzens is the event organiser and she’s got everything spot on.

The Guildhall is the town hall of Windsor and a Grade I listed building constructed in 1687  [mainly] by Sir Christopher Wren. In April 2005, it was the location of  the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, and later that year of the civil partnership ceremony of  Sir Elton John and David Furnish – the first same sex civil partnership ceremony in England.

 

The Windsor Emporium

 

Windsor Emporium, The Guildhall, Windsor, England

 

Exhibitors wares – all hand-produced and British made – are displayed in the Grand Entrance Hall, the Chamber Room, and the Ascot Room, against a spectacular backdrop of beautiful historical ancestral paintings. The Guildhall is not normally open to the public, so the fact that entry to the Windsor Emporium is free makes it that much more appealing.

 

 

Vendors, Windsor Emporium, The Guildhall, Windsor, England.

 

I really like the fact that this is a small-ish gathering (around 30 exhibitors) because it gives you a chance to get to meet and speak with the artists and craftsmen about what inspires them.  Everyone there was very friendly and generous. The atmosphere was festive, but relaxed.

The pictures above are  some of the exhibitors from the November Windsor Emporium.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Eton Fudge Shop. This past summer, I read rave reviews about their Eton Mess fudge, so when I heard about their Christmas Pudding fudge, I could not wait to try it. The weird thing is, I don’t even particularly like Christmas Pudding but for some reason the idea of Christmas Pudding fudge appealed to me. I wasn’t wrong – it was truly scrumptious! The ingredients are top quality, and no one flavour overpowers another. I think Eton Fudge Shop’s Christmas Pudding fudge would make a really nice gift for work colleagues, employees, friends and neighbours, family – or just yourself.

Elaine Nipper Illustration. I was drawn to Elaine’s eclectic mixture of illustration and photography. Elaine is a graphic designer who has illustrated several children’s books.  Two of her postcards were atmospheric photographs of the university where I used to work; another postcard was her illustration of a Charleston single house, which was equally ironic because I lived in Charleston before moving back to England.

Chandlers Candles. I liked the elegance and simplicity of Sue’s scented soy candles, which are left a natural cream colour to compliment any home decor. Her little packaged set of frankincense and myrrh tea lights would make a great stocking stuffer (I said to Mr. Tea who I know is reading this blog post).

Many Moons Ago. What’s not to love about vintage recycled tea plates that are turned into wall clocks? Kirsty says recycling makes the world a prettier place, and I thought her wall clocks were very pretty indeed. Usually, large dinner plates are used to make wall clocks; I much prefer these small plates that Kirsty uses. Her favourites are the plates whose designs act as ‘built-in’ numbers, like this one.

 

Cake Table, Windsor Emporium, The Guildhall, Windsor, England

 

Finally, there’s got to be a tea connection of course, and here it is – the Windsor Emporium features a Vintage Tea Room serving home made cakes, light refreshments, and Darvilles of Windsor teas. Whether you choose to tea first and then shop, or shop first and then tea, the tea room is there for you, bathed in soft light filtered through glorious stained glass windows. Service with a smile at no extra charge.

 

Tea for Two, Windsor Emporium, The Guildhall, Windsor, England

 

Mr. Tea and I enjoyed a lovely pot of Darvilles English Breakfast tea, and since it was breakfast time, I indulged myself with dry toast and water a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake.

 

Windsor Emporium Logo

With the holiday season nigh, I highly recommend a visit to the next Windsor Emporium. It’s a friendly and relaxing place to shop for quality, British-made products, resident within the beautiful and historic Guildhall, with tea and cake waiting for you at the end of it all.  The next event is on Sunday, 2 December 2012. See you there!

The Windsor Emporium is held on the First Sunday of each month, March to December, 10am – 4pm at the Guildhall, Windsor. Admission is free.

For more information, contact Jackie Couzens via email: jackie@windsoremporium.co.uk

 

See the Tea in England Facebook page for more pictures of The Windsor Emporium.

 

 

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Afternoon tea on the village green with Royal Albert

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

It’s not often that a person has the opportunity to be served Afternoon Tea on Royal Albert china on a sunny afternoon on a lovely village green – for free. But thanks to an invitation from Royal Albert (and a very thoughtful husband who doesn’t mind my dragging him by his gorgeous fifty-shades-of-grey hair all over the country for tea), it happened to me.

There’s nothing quite like Afternoon Tea served on beautiful china, and Royal Albert have been dishing up this type of English tea experience for over a hundred years. They started manufacturing china in 1896, and they continue to produce hundreds of beautiful patterns today – their most iconic being “Old Country Roses“.  This year, 2012, Royal Albert have updated several designs in their floral range to give them a fresh look and one that, I might add, screams out to be mixed-and-matched together. They are enchanting.

To celebrate the launch of the new patterns, Royal Albert tucked an adorable little van full of tea, cakes, and their beautiful new wares, and embarked on a Royal Albert London Tea tour, providing a “pop-up” afternoon tea experience for those of us who enjoy English style afternoon tea.  Lucky for me, one of these events was not too far away, so Mr. Tea and I toddled over to Kew Green on a crisp autumn Saturday morning for a late breakfast of tea and cake. (Don’t judge me.)

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour sign at Kew Green

It was a lovely day in Kew.
Several of these’Join us for Tea, Cake, Fun & Frivolity’ signs were strategically placed around Kew Green.

 

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

A charming tea tent was set up with tables and chairs and …..

 

 

Bunting. Photo courtesy of Victoria's Vintage www.victorias-vintage.co.uk/

….. bunting!

 

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour van at Kew Green

Royal Albert’s friendly Tea Lady
You can see some of the beautiful new china patterns.

 

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

Each table was set with a sugar bowl, milk jug, and 3-tier server of sweets using china from the new range. The fabric on the table cover and chair pads matched the china!

 

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

“Coffee, tea or me?”
Server’s in smart waistcoats delivered cups of hot tea.

 

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

Cupcakes and macarons for breakfast, anyone?

 

 

The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

Top: NEW COUNTRY ROSES (pink) pattern
Middle: ROSE CONFETTI pattern
Bottom: NEW COUNTRY ROSES (white) pattern

 

 

Royal Albert wallet. Photo courtesy of Victoria's Vintage www.victorias-vintage.co.uk/

Also on each table were really cute Royal Albert travel card cases, pretty postcards, and a booklet with photographs of the new china range.

 

 

Denise toasts The Royal Albert London Tea Tour at Kew Green

Cheers, Royal Albert!
Teacup: POLKA ROSE pattern

 

We were one of the first to arrive at Kew on that day, and it was fun to listen to the gasps of disbelief as people (like the family of 5 seated next to us who just happened to be on the green that morning) realised that there was no cost involved in this. Hopefully, it encouraged folks to think more about Afternoon Tea, and about the enjoyment that comes from making your own teatime just a little bit more special by using pretty dishes.

I think it’s outstanding that Royal Albert are willing to put all their beautiful china into the hands of the public (well, we did have to give it back). The pieces truly are lovely and the type of thing every tea lover should have in their china cabinet.

Thank you, Royal Albert, for a lovely Afternoon Tea on Kew Green!

Visit the Tea in England Facebook page for additional photos of the tea.

 

(Thanks to Victoria’s Vintage for letting me use her image of the bunting and travel card since I had forgotten to take pictures of those two things!)

Impressed with the zest of the Nell Gwyn Tea Hamper

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from the English Cream Tea Company

One of the most fulfilling aspects of being a blogger is meeting people who share similar interests. Because I write about the subject of tea, I have had the pleasure of connecting with a number of  ‘foodies’, and I love getting to know them and their businesses.

When I first came across The English Cream Tea Company I thought …. well, it goes without saying. They had me at the words ‘cream tea.’

 

The Company

Wife Jane and husband Roger (a chef) are the owners of The English Cream Tea Company in Essex. Years of travel gave them opportunities to indulge in afternoon tea at hotels around the world. After their children were born, they continued their afternoon tea adventures with family trips to London’s grand hotels. They know how tea is done.

We believe in providing excellent customer service and always strive to create and maintain the deliciousness of our hampers. – Jane Maylon, owner and Chief Scone Gnome, The English Cream Tea Company

But not every person can travel to tea, so Jane created The English Cream Tea Company to bring tea to the person. Anything from a Cream Tea for two to a full London hotel-style afternoon tea for four (sandwiches, cakes, scones, jam, and cream) can be delivered straight to your front door – the food freshly made, arriving chilled and ready for consumption.

 

Hamper Review

Thanks to the generosity of The English Cream Tea Company, I was privileged to take delivery earlier this week of one of their themed products, the Nell Gwyn Hamper, and I must tell you that the quality, thought, and artistry behind this product was both impressive and outstanding. Everything from the packaging to the food to the presentation was first-class.  It was immediately obvious to me that they operate to a very high standard and want to provide their customers with a product of great beauty and great value.

To begin with, I love their concept of an orange-themed Nell Gwyn Hamper!  Nell Gwyn was born in London in 1650 of  very humble beginnings. As a young woman, she sold oranges at the King’s Theatre and, believe it or not, became one of England’s leading comedy actresses. She eventually caught the roving eye of King Charles II, and became his mistress (and mother of several of his children).

From The English Cream Tea Company website:

This box comes with a brief history about ‘pretty, witty Nell’ who was renowned for her buxom charms (hence our Saucy Meringues!) and this hamper celebrates both Nell and orange flavours in style.  However, as Nell is attributed with persuading the King to set up Chelsea Hospital as a permanent home for military invalids, we would like to honour her spirit.  Therefore £2 from each Nell Gwyn box will go to the Carver Barracks Injured Soldiers Fund.

The Nell Gwyn Hamper:

Olde English Marmalade Sandwiches
Freshly Made Orange and Cointreau Sultana Scones
Luxury Orange Curd
Clotted Cream
Saucy Meringues*
Orange Pekoe loose-leaf tea
Bournville Chocolate & Orange Delight (my hamper contained chocolate brownies instead, which I actually preferred)
Orange teapot
Napkins and bamboo cutlery

The food from the Nell Gwyn Hamper was delicious, full of flavour, and tasted like it had just been made. Portions were lavish. The incredible orange fragrance from the sandwiches and scones proved to me that the ingredients used in this tea hamper were superior.

Included in the box was a very helpful leaflet describing the product ingredients used in all their hampers. The leaflet also reminds customers that their hampers are made with hugs from the Scone Gnomes. You just can’t help but smile.

Whether you want to treat yourself, your friends and family, or your employees – or are looking for an alternative way to host an Afternoon Tea (by letting someone else provide the food!) – I highly recommed a hamper from The English Cream Tea Company.

 

Product photographs

The sheer extravagance of  the Nell Gwyn Hamper compelled me to take detailed pictures so I could show you the high standard of product and presentation. You will see by the table I set just how easy it was for me to create a magnificent afternoon tea by doing little more than simply opening a box delivered to my front door from The English Cream Tea Company.

 

Box containing hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Attractive, substantial packaging.
Delivery is arranged so that you know exactly
when your hamper will arrive for signature.

 

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Very appealing corrugated cardboard box,
thoughtfully wrapped with a bright orange satin ribbon.

 

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Top layer contents:
Scones, orange curd, clotted cream (chilled), brownies, tea.
Each item had a small sticky sponge on the back so that this
attractive arrangement remained intact during shipping.

 

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Bottom layer contents:
Tea sandwiches, meringues, napkins and bamboo cutlery.

 

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Freshly made tea sandwiches are kept cold by chilled inserts.

 

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

The orange slice and parsley are a delightful garnish.

 

The Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Light-as-air meringues with glacé cherries

 

*If you are familiar with this famous portrait of Nell Gwyn,
you will understand the symbolism behind the saucy meringues!

 

 

Setting up for a Nell Gwyn Afternoon Tea courtesy of the Nell Gwyn Hamper from The English Cream Tea Company

Easily create a stunning Afternoon Tea:
All you need are some plates, teacups, and …..

 

A Nell Gwyn Afternoon Tea. Food and tea from the Nell Gwyn Hamper, The English Cream Tea Company

….. a hamper from The English Cream Tea Company!

 

Tea sandwiches from the Nell Gwyn Hamper, The English Cream Tea Company

The orange marmalade tea sandwiches
were fresh, soft, moist and bursting with flavour.

 

Scones and meringues from the Nell Gwyn Hamper, The English Cream Tea Company

I am a scone baker and can honestly say that these scones were perfect.
They were a good size, firm, and full of moist fruit.
The meringues were lovely – not too crumbly, and very light.

 

Orange Curd and Clotted Cream from the Nell Gwyn Hamper, The English Cream Tea Company

Orange Curd and Clotted Cream.
The bamboo spoons included in the hamper were perfect for serving.

 

Orange Pekoe loose leaf tea from the Nell Gwyn Hamper, The English Cream Tea Company

The Orange Pekoe loose leaf tea was excellent.

 

Scones with orange curd and clotted cream from the Nell Gwyn Hamper, The English Cream Tea Company

Orange and Cointreau Sultana Scones in action.
Partners in crime: Orange Curd and Clotted Cream.

 

 

 

The English Cream Tea Company label

The English Cream Tea Company
www.englishcreamtea.com

 

I urge you to visit the website of The English Cream Tea Company to view their complete range of products that include cream tea weddings, food for crowds, corporate boxes – and of course, Christmas hampers.

In conclusion, if you are searching for tea hampers of five-star quality and value, look no further than The English Cream Tea Company.

 

(For an unbiased review of a tea or tea-related product of beneficial interest to the readers of Tea in England, please get in touch with me via the contact form.)