I’m a big fan of afternoon teas, and my only regret about having a blog dedicated to chocolate is that I can’t write about all the amazing non-chocolate teas there are in the world.
Needless to say, I jumped at the chance when I was invited to sample a special Chocolate Week afternoon tea at The Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly. It’s a collaboration with Thorntons and runs at the hotel until Sunday October 27th.
Now, at this point you might be thinking that a “Thorntons” afternoon tea sounds a bit too sweet for you. But rest assured, this is one of the most interesting takes on the concept that I’ve seen for a while. It was developed by Thorntons’ master chocolatier Keith Hurdman in collaboration with the hotel’s pastry chef Sarah Hartnett, and is “inspired” by some of Thorntons’ flavours rather than using them directly.
The sandwich course contains some cocoa elements, but never overdoes it or tries to mix chocolate into absolutely everything.
I’m not very good at explaining savoury food. Suffice to say, it’s all really good. Here’s the menu:
- Cocoa, tamarind and thyme cured salmon, basil bread
- Moroccan spiced roast sirloin of beef, wild rocket and cucumber yoghurt
- Salt and pepper roast corn fed chicken, cashew nut, celery mustard mayonnaise, mini ciabbatta
- Mushroom and rosemary crème brulee, parmesan crumble
- Prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, manzanella olive and crudo chocolate Panini
The scones – chocolate, plain, cocoa nib & chocolate chip are served with some great jams, including a chocolate & raspberry jam one, plus lashings of clotted cream. But of course, the main attraction is the pastry selection.
- Passion fruit and white chocolate mousse, macadamia nut crisps
- Tiramisu with mascarpone, roasted almonds & espresso jelly
- Raspberry cheesecake bombe, malted white chocolate shortbread biscuits
- Coconut mousse with milk chocolate and lime cream centre and crunchy coconut
My favourite has to be the coconut mousse (top picture) which is like a wonderfully coconutty tea cake. The raspberry cheesecake bomb was packed with zingy fruitiness and the passionfruit and which chocolate mousse was actually quite like a delicious custard tart. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the tiramisu… I may have to go back!
Thorntons Chocolate Week Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel is served from today until 27th October (3pm – 6pm on weekdays and 2pm – 6pm at weekends) in The Palm Court and costs £41 per person with Mumm champagne or £33 without. To book, call The Palm Court on 020 7499 6321 or visit www.palmcourtlondon.co.uk