I like to indulge myself. Perhaps you already noticed this, as I did manage to plan an entire trip solely around eating and baking. But, just in case you haven’t, I’m freely willing to admit it: I enjoy life’s luxuries…probably more than I should. Pedicures, for instance. A perfect hour in a massage chair, warm water bubbling around my feet, flipping through magazines…you get the idea. Or, the $8 bucket of popcorn at the movie theatre with a free refill (because, really, one just isn’t enough), topped with 50 cents of real butter. One of my very favorite indulgences, though, surpassing even movie theatre popcorn, is high tea.
High tea. Ahh…even the name just sounds so posh (sorry, had to throw that word in somewhere). It conjures up images of long-plumed feathers sticking out of ostentatious hats, dainty heels and spacious gardens, and of course, the tea itself! Towers of tiny cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream, pots of earl grey accompanied by sugar cubes, miniature forks for dainty fruit tarts. The truth of the matter is, though, that reality could never live up to the expectation because, well…I don’t own a fancy hat. But, not to worry, the food is just as imagined. This particular trip, in order to provide ample material for you lovely readers – and because my relatives are amazing and know my weakness for high tea – I had the opportunity to go to tea twice!
Yesterday, we went to tea at Old Bank Hotel in Oxford. The afternoon tea came with little cakes and cookies (including a macaron!), sandwiches, and my favorite, scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream!
Blackcurrant macaron, coffee éclair, sugar cookie, and a mini layered cake! The macaron wasn’t exactly my favorite (it actually took me about a minute to find the macaron flavor), but still quite enjoyable.
I could show you a close-up of the sandwiches, but actually, I would rather talk about scones. Ahh scones, the loves of my life! A puffy and buttery center, surrounded by just enough crust to sink your teeth into, topped with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. Break it in half, spread clotted cream and fresh strawberry jam on it, and…perfection.
Oh yeah, and then there’s the actual tea. My uncle compares Earl Grey tea to “dishwater,” but I find it quite nice, especially with milk and a little sugar.
After the success at Old Bank yesterday, we visited the Randolph Hotel today for another afternoon tea adventure!
Tea tower! (I’m totally buying one of these…think it comes with all the food?)
In addition to the jam and clotted cream, these scones came with homemade lemon curd. It tasted like a lemon bar had been made into a jelly – super delicious and fresh!
So many cakes. And all so good.
Cool as a cucumber:
It’s official: My favorite time of day is tea time.