Use of English part 2: The ultimate festive afternoon tea.

The ultimate festive afternoon tea

Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, London

Fortnum & Mason has been a British establishment since the early 18th century, so 1. is a classic destination for afternoon tea, which is served in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. The menu has been given 2. festive spruce-up in time for Christmas and there’s nothing that makes you feel quite as festive as exceptional service and 3. pianist playing carols.

The tea starts with traditional finger sandwiches, including coronation chicken and cucumber with capers and mint, but the highlight of this course 4. the huge trout topped with caviar.

After this come the scones, both fruit 5. savoury. These are followed by patisseries sweet and savoury. The oeufs Drumkilbo (a decadent dish of soft-boiled eggs and lobster that King Charles is a fan of) comes served in an eggshell and topped with more caviar. It 6. rich and delicious, and the lobster is beautifully cooked. Other sweets include sweet chestnut mousse and 7. sublime tonka bean and Caraibe chocolate bauble.

Cédric Grolet at the Berkeley Restaurant, Knightsbridge, London

Patisseries by Cédric Grolet

You cannot talk about luxury patisserie without talking about Cédric Grolet, the visionary French pastry chef famous 8. his magnificent croissants and desserts.

When he opened his shop 9. the Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge (his first permanent patisserie outside of Paris), there were queues, just as there have been — and still are — at many of his shops 10. France.

Guests can buy all manner of delicious, delicate pastries to go, from pain suisse to Grolet’s bestselling hazelnut dessert, 11. ball of chilled hazelnut mousse with an oozy vanilla middle, dipped in milk chocolate and covered in gold dust.

Or they may dine at the chef’s counter where they can get a close-up look at how his creations are made while enjoying 12.  tasting menu of seasonal courses with gold pastry knives (£135 per person).

The icing on the cake (quite literally) 13. the Goûtea menu, the chef’s take 14. afternoon tea, which can be enjoyed in the Berkeley Café. This Christmas the five-course menu includes mini cream-cheese salmon caviar tarts, 15. truffle egg croissant, foie gras arancini 16. vanilla flowers. You won’t find an afternoon tea in London — or Paris — quite like it.


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