When it comes to the ultimate afternoon tea, nothing is quite as indulgent as one with a festive twist.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most wonderful thing has happened, afternoon teas across the north now have an added festive touch.
Venues from the north-east and Highlands and Islands have been busy spreading the festive cheer by putting a Christmas twist on some of their most popular sandwiches, pastries and desserts.
From macaron snowmen to gingerbread, to turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwiches, not forgetting pork and sage sausage rolls, customers are in for a treat whether they choose to dine in or takeaway one of these decadent offerings.
Small cafes to national hotel chains are all getting involved, and launching their festive offering today, the Fairmont in St Andrews has revealed its version which always proves popular with customers.
Priced at £29 per person, diners will be able to indulge in all of their favourite Christmas flavours they would find on the Christmas Day dinner table, albeit in a very different manner.
Executive sous chef James Adam has worked at the hotel for three weeks after swapping the warmer climate of Dubai for a Scottish winter.
A perfectionist when it comes to his craft, James he has teamed up with executive pastry chef Chris Nurse to get the sweet and savoury balance just right.
Taking inspiration from his time working in Dubai, James, who is originally from Leeds and has worked in Barcelona, Saudi Arabia and China, has redeveloped the menu bringing new flavours to the forefront.
He said: “Everything has been made individually, we do sets of two, but everything is individual. For the festive offering I’ve taken inspiration from when I worked in Dubai. I had trialled something similar out there and it worked really well, so I have brought it over here.
“I’m also using seasonal produce as well. In Scotland we have so much brilliant produce at our fingertips. My veg is all locally sourced and upstairs at the hotel we have our own greenhouse where we grown our own herbs and cress. We’ve also got our own beehives. Sourcing things as locally as we can is really important to us.
“Although the afternoon tea is traditional like what you would get in the Savoy in London, it is unique in its own way. We didn’t want to just have sandwiches, we have ingredients in cones, a charcoal tart – it all looks a little different.
“Expect festive flavours you’d find during your Christmas dinner like turkey, homemade stuffing and cranberry jam, chutneys and more. ”
On the pasty front, Chris has worked at the hotel for two years and has more than 20 years’ experience, meaning guests are in good hands with his extremely in-depth pastry knowledge.
He said: “For the pastry side of things, I’ve looked at things we did in previous years and have moved them on and adapted them. Expect chocolate and clementine torte with a clementine centre and charred pied of clementine on top, a cranberry and cherry eclair, a cinnamon and ginger macaron and a passion fruit and coconut moose for the sweet treats.
“My festive cakes and cookies will feature mini mince pies, individual stolen which I’ve had to adjust this year as we’d normally offer large logs of stolen and then slice it up in front of guests, however, this year I’m doing everything individual. I’m going to have two types of European cookies one being a speculaas cookie.
“Traditionally we offer the afternoon tea to enjoy in the hotel, but I have had a few customers getting in touch to arrange to pick it up and take it to their relations who can’t get out and about. We put a lot of time into what we do and try and make it as special as possible.”
A unique one-to-one experience at Hatters
In Newburgh, Fife, Stella Colleluori of outside catering business Hatters has launched a new unique experience in her tiny tearoom at her home for customers, giving them the opportunity to book out the entire space for themselves.
To accommodate guests and make them feel as safe as possible when enjoying the space, Stella’s afternoon tea experience is only available for one booking per day and seats just three people comfortably making it an extremely intimate and private occasion.
She said: “For the last five years I have been solely running my outside catering business and when the pandemic hit, like everyone else in the industry, I lost all my bookings. Once the initial panic subsided I decided to try my hand at luxury takeaway afternoon teas.
“I wanted to make them really special and managed to source some fabulous tea caddies which I hoped, along with my unique recipes and quirky presentation, would give my product an edge in a somewhat flooded market. It went really well during lockdown but when people started getting out and about again so it tailed off.
“I am never short of an idea but I knew it had to be pretty unique to keep people interested, it also had to be something I could manage on my own as I am in a higher Covid-19 risk category and I am nervous about working with people.
“A tiny tearoom seemed like a good idea, so my little conservatory got seriously sprinkled with fairy dust and voila, Le Petit Chapeau Tiny Tearoom was created in the summer of 2020.
“I have hopefully created an escape from reality, a real fantastical trip down the rabbit hole. The tiny space is crammed full of curiosities and many nods to Alice in Wonderland. We have some lovely pieces from a giant teapot to a 1920s chandelier, there is a wall fountain and we use vintage linen and crockery and crystal glassware. We have gone a bit crazy with the fairy lights and created a little winter wonderland outside with fake snow and even more fairy lights, 800 in fact. It really is quite bonkers!”
What the venue looked like this summer – it has now been fully kitted out for Christmas.
Been adding a few wee touches to Le Petit Chapeau.Who says less is more!!
Posted by Hatters on Monday, June 22, 2020
Priced at £30 per person, customers can escape “down the rabbit hole” as Stella says and indulge in a little time to themselves this festive period in her Alice in Wonderland-themed tearoom.
And with everything from stilton and caramelised pear cups, hoisin and sesame pulled pork boats and turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches, to the sweeter things in life like candy cane meringues, spiced white chocolate, cranberry and clementine tiffin, and sparkly mince pies, diners are in for a treat whether they sit in or takeaway.
She added: “The festive menu will be running until the end of January as people seem quite interested in Christmas gift vouchers. I try and make everything a little different and the little touches seem to go a long way, everything is made from scratch and I use local wherever possible. We are lucky enough to have our own apple and pear trees and I also grow my own salad, herbs and edible flowers.
“We always have six sweet treats on our menus, three sandwich fillings and three canapes all of course served with lashings of tea served in a very beautiful gold teapot. I really like the bite-sized pecan pies and the miniature candy cane meringues filled with white chocolate cream on our Christmas menu, they look super cute too!”
The menu at Hatters
Luxury handmade Afternoon Tea, available through December.Book now to takeaway or book Le Petit Chapeau for a magical experience in our teeny Christmas grotto restaurant.
Maria’s – Kirkcaldy, Fife
Try out afternoon tea Greek style with Maria’s Baking Stories. Available for Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and Hogmanay, this feast of delicious pastries, cured meats, cheese and more is perfect for grazing in the evenings.
Priced at £20, there’s everything from Nutella baklava, cheesecake brownies, homemade hummus, halloumi croissants, mini frankfurter sausage rolls, a Greek spicy cheese dip to name a few.
To order your box, click here.
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The Hub – Friockheim, Angus
Enjoy a selection of festive goodies such as cakes, sandwiches, scones and savouries with unlimited tea, coffee or hot chocolate at The Hub at Friockheim.
For £12.95 per person and £8.95 per child, you can treat yourself to an afternoon of delights.
Payment is required at the time of booking and you can secure a table by calling 01241829214.
The Hub at Friockheim will also be serving up Christmas dinners, too!
🎅☃️ CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON TEAS! 🎅☃️We are holding Christmas Afternoon Teas throughout December! Book a Table to avoid…
The Palaris Tea Room at The Quay – Dundee
Join the team at The Palaris Tea Room for a scrumptious festive afternoon tea which features lots of sweet and savoury treats and unlimited tea or coffee.
From sandwiches to sausage rolls, not to mention macarons, scones and more, there’s plenty to indulge in.
A £5 deposit per person is required and afternoon tea is served from noon to 4pm Monday to Saturday. To book call 01382 223430.
Malmaison – Dundee
It’s the most wonderful time of year for a merry afternoon tea with your nearest and dearest and the team at Malmaison have reimagined their offering featuring all the classics, spruced up with a bit of festive sparkle.
Catering for all dietary requirements, afternoon tea is priced at £29 including a glass of Prosecco or non-alcoholic sparkling Riesling or £32 including a glass of Champagne or a classic cocktail.
From a sticky toffee log to a chocolate mousse with dried cranberries, amaretti and honeycomb, not to mention Mal’s signature Chez Mal slider, smoked salmon and pickled cucumber on brioche and scones, there’s plenty of eating to be done.
The Apex Hotel – Dundee
Tuck into an array of sandwiches with festive-themed fillings followed by a delicious selection of sweet treats at The Apex Hotel in Dundee.
Surrounded by beautiful quayside and waterfront views, there’s plenty to admire when heading along. And the RRS Discovery, city centre shops and V&A museum are all within a short walking distance.
From festive finger sandwiches to pigs in blankets, crispy brie and cranberry chutney, gingerbread men, macarons, white chocolate fudge and a mint chocolate brownie to name just some that are part of the delicious offering, there’s something for everyone to devour.
The Russell Hotel – St Andrews
Launching a festive afternoon tea for the first time, The Russell Hotel is looking forward to welcoming guests for its new addition this December.
With classics like coronation turkey, Clava brie with fig chutney and Scottish salmon sandwiches, to Stornoway black pudding, haggis and pork sausage rolls, to meringue pie, coffee creme patisserie with gold leaf, white chocolate and Bailey’s snowball, there’s lots to be excited about.
To book, call 07947457454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Atholl Palace Hotel & Lodges – Pitlochry
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Atholl Palace already has its festive lunch and afternoon tea menus up and running to get us all in the festive spirit.
Kitting out the hotel with festive decorations, you’ll be in a Christmas grotto, all wrapped up and ready to indulge in an afternoon of delicious delights.
Served every day until December 23 from 12.30 to 3.30pm, the experience costs £24 per person and can be booked by calling 01796 472400 or emailing email@example.com.