I think no one does Christmas quite like London’s luxury hotels… for me as soon as I walk into a hotel foyer lined with decorations and decked out with a huge Christmas tree… the smell of pine in the air, I feel excited and festive!
And you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the whole time when I attended my first hotel Christmas event of the year. Binny, Emma and I reunited at The Connaught, one of my favourite London hotels and the location of my favourite bar, to sample the brand new festive tea launching that very day.
The tea takes place at Jean-Georges at the Connaught, the hotels more casual dining space which boasts floor to ceiling windows allowing brilliant views of the hotel’s Mayfair location.
Starting with a glass of champagne – Laurent-Perrier is the house option here which is my favourite – Emma, Binny and I caught up on recent holidays and discussed Christmas plans to come.
Being more a savoury girl, I always love it when there’s an extra savoury course and the ‘pre-afternoon tea bite’ comes in the form of a black truffle feuillette – these are absolutely melt in the mouth delicious with the finest pastry infused with the earthy taste of truffle.
Fellow sandwiches fans will rejoice at the delicious classic selection. There’s cucumber with Greek yogurt, lime, mint on herb bread, egg and truffle mayonnaise on watercress, onion bread and my fave H. Foreman’s smoked salmon with Chipotle, coriander, iceberg lettuce. Roast ham and butternut squash and white miso, black pepper on walnut bread feels oh so festive while Coronation turkey (yes, turkey not chicken) is perfectly spicy and served with coriander mayonnaise.
Next came the main event… my favourite delicacy was the festive orange was actually made from orange and hazelnut praline and filled with orange mousse. The Christmas log is made from raisin shortbread and filled with caramel and chocolate crémeux – the perfect slice of Christmas decadence. A coconut square reminded me of a Christmas present and it was full of passion fruit jelly, topped with coconut cream and a snow flake.
The apple spiced mince and cinnamon cream speculoos was shaped like a jolly father Christmas while perhaps the cutest cake was the chestnut cupcake with walnut sponge and pear-shaped like a Christmas tree.
Huge fluffy scones are a given at a tea like this and they come in the form of plain and raisin served with home-made strawberry jam, lemon curd and Cornish clotted cream.
For me the best bit of the tea was the adorable gingerbread men that come alongside a spice chocolate fondue…I mean does it really get any better?
I’ve had my fair share of afternoon teas in London both festive and regular and I can happily say the Connaught’s is utterly fantastic. The perfect way for me to kick off a London Christmas.
Jean-Georges at The Connaught
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We were lucky guests for this gorgeous tea.