I have always delighted in the whole experience of afternoon tea; the formality and the deliciousness that comes with a proper tea service. There are many interpretations of afternoon tea from a casual café setting, to the opulence of a Palm Court.
There are not many stylish Palm Courts left in the world, a handful at best. The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, is one of the few who maintain this early 1900s palm tree atrium. I have been fortunate enough to partake in afternoon tea in three of these Palm Courts; The Plaza Hotel in New York City, The Ritz Hotel in London, and The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. There is nothing like it when it comes down to the elegance of afternoon tea traditions, inside a historic and sophisticated setting.
The Palm Court inside The Balmoral was the prettiest of the three that I have been to. The elegant color palate of creams and sage green, traditional furnishings, and the tall slender palm trees created a beautiful backdrop to afternoon tea. Everything was exquisite; from the service, the attention to detail, the delicacies, and down to the people partaking in tea were beautiful- old and young a like.
Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral
– Champagne Cocktail –
I started off with their classic champagne cocktail with the fizzing sugar cube. If offered and if you enjoy champagne, I recommend ordering a glass before your afternoon tea experience. More upscale establishments will offer a champagne afternoon tea, which is a wonderful way to upgrade your experience.
– Peony Rose Tea –
Since I am fond of floral flavors, I chose the Peony Rose Tea. I found it was the perfect pairing with the delectable flavors of my afternoon tea courses.
It was the simplest of things, but I was impressed with my tea server and his long pour. This excellent pour was skilled, and I had never seen anyone pour my tea like this before. He mentioned to me that he learned from the Palm Court that the long pour was the proper way to serve tea, and it had to do with the steeping and aeration. I learn something new everyday.
– Amuse Bouche –
Chef Jeff Bland’s Amuse-Bouche of Hazelnut, chives and celeriac
– First Course: Scones –
Homemade Scottish style scones, fresh from the oven
Clotted cream and homemade Balmoral jam
– Second Course: The Savories and Tea Sandwiches –
Haggis bon-bon with apricot puree
Mushroom and Brie Tart
– Tea Sandwiches –
Coronation chicken- free ranged chicken, little gem lettuce, sliced brown bread
Traditional Scotish Ham, Arran mustard, vine ripened tomato, white bread
The Balmoral smoked salmon, chive creme fraiche, wholemeal bread
Egg mayonnaise, mini brioche, mustard watercress
Cucumber and lemon cream cheese, cracked black pepper, soft white bread
– Third Course: Tea Desserts –
– Palate Cleanser –
Miniature Mango Sorbet on a Waffle Cone- Pallet Cleanser
– A Gift from The Balmoral –
House made chocolate in a little white box
Tiny tin of loose leaf tea
Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage…– Catherine Douzel
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