If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram over the past couple of months, you may be aware that I’ve been to The Langham a few times and absolutely love it. And now that Spring has sprung, they were launching their new Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood and I had the pleasure of joining some new and familiar faces at an exclusive preview.
I honestly loved the new menu. I had the pleasure of trying the Festive Afternoon Tea just before Christmas and the Easter one a few weeks ago, but this was so different from the others, it just blew me away. As much as I like chocolate desserts, I actually love fruity and citrusy pastries just as much, if not more. And I can honestly say I’ve been raving about it to everyone and anyone I’ve seen since the preview.
The added bonus was that the wonderful Executive Pastry Chef, Cherish Finden was there to talk through her thinking behind her creations. She’s also a judge on the new Bake Off professional spin off show, Crème de la Crème, which I’m really enjoying at the moment – it definitely keeps me on the edge of my seat!They brought someone out to represent the Duchess of Bedford, who people claim to have been the person to start the tradition of afternoon tea. It was a nice touch and a good photo opportunity!The sandwiches were delicious as per usual, and if you want to read how much I loved them last time, just have a read of my previous post, where I couldn’t stop talking about them. They are just so damn good. The truffled duck egg brioche and the corn-fed chicken with golden sultanas on carrot bread are my absolute favourites.The apricot and natural yoghurt panna cotta just blew me away. The texture was different from any other panna cotta I’d tried before, and the intensity of the apricot flavour was perfection. But the star of the dish was the incredibly sweet and juicy strawberries that topped the panna cotta.
I know that strawberry season is just around the corner, but surely it was too soon to be getting that level of high quality. It was playing on my mind, so at the end of the event I asked Cherish about it. We were all pleasantly surprised to hear that they were actually British strawberries, and one of the first batches of the new season. They had been mixed with elderflower and it was such a treat! I would go back just to eat this again.The scones at The Langham are second to none. Whenever I see or eat scones now, they are quite harshly compared to the The Langham scones, because in my opinion, they are the best.
When I saw the ‘Hathaway Rose’, I thought it was just a pretty Victoria sponge. But when I took a bite, the sharpness from the lemon was such a pleasant surprise. It tasted like something in between a Victoria sponge and a lemon drizzle and I wish there were more cakes like this out there! I could’ve easily eaten more of these, but I knew I still had a fair few things to try.The ‘Wedgwood Wild Strawberry’ macaron with the pistachio cream filling were tiny nuggets of deliciousness. I wondered if you could tell the difference between normal strawberries and wild ones, and the answer is yes, you can.
The strawberry was intense, but the pistachio flavour wasn’t that strong. This could be because these were mini macarons, so the amount of cream between the macaron shells wouldn’t really be enough to make a huge impact. But one thing is for sure, they were very moreish and everyone loved them.The ‘Butterfly Bloom’, named after a Wedgwood Collection, was one of my favourites. I am a huge fan of shortbread biscuits and these were thin and crisp, but still had that buttery goodness. The thing that made this special though, was the delicious salted caramel filling, lightly sprinkled with sea salt flakes. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, I love salted caramel, so it’s a no brainer, of course I was going to like this!The ‘Paisley Parcel’ is the name of the coffee soaked Opera cake, and after watching this week’s Bake Off: Creme de la Creme, the importance of distinct layers was made very clear. As expected, Cherish’s creation didn’t disappoint. It’s so beautifully put together. Like I’ve mentioned before, it makes you appreciate how many individual elements have to be designed and made for each pastry. It’s a true work of art.The ‘Yuzu for You’ was the most chocolatey pastry of them all. They used their very own chocolate, the Langham No. 150, which has caramel tones and mixed it with yuzu for a citrusy kick. The mousse is complimented by the crunchy chocolate sable base.I just want to take a moment to give credit where credit is due. Cherish’s amazing pastry team work hard to create all these beautiful pastries. And I really loved it when Cherish got them all to leave the kitchen and come and say hello to everyone at the preview event. They truly deserve that round of applause, because they are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. Did you know that pastry chefs work on average 16 – 18 hours per day? Hats off to them!
The thing I loved about this afternoon tea as a whole was that it was designed to cater to a wide audience, from the older generation to the young. The flavours were bold and interesting, and Cherish is great at balancing out the flavours and textures like the professional that she is. I highly recommend it.
The afternoon tea is priced at £49 per person and launched on 6th April 2016.