Did I ever mention tea?

28 01 2012

Yeah, right! Like every other post maybe.

Tea can be taken in many forms, but as part of “Afternoon Tea” it takes on a kind of magic. Basically these days this is just a way of attempting to justify an astronomically inflated price for what is basically a cup of hot water with some toasted hedge clippings in it. But never the less, it’s magic. I’d like to draw two particular establishments to your attention, if I may. On either side of the Atlantic. Firstly, Betty’s tea shop in Harrogate.

Bettys of Harrogate

Bettys of Harrogate

The one in Ilkley is nice too, but the Harrogate one is special. Now I’m not saying it’s posh per se, but you might have to reserve a table for Afternoon Tea in the Harrogate or York locations if it’s been sunny for a few days. They serve from a selection of teas and bring a silver cake stand with posh-looking sarnies, scones, clotted cream (closely followed by clotted arteries!), the whole shebang. Glorious!

Bettys: Afternoon tea

Bettys: Afternoon tea

But that’s not all. As well as the “standard fare” for a posh tea, expected by all and sundry, Bettys also cater for the more discerning Yorkshire palette. (Stop laughing, you). They sell curd tart! My mouth is salivating at the very thought. But alas, I fear you do not share my excitement. Let me explain…

Basically it’s a bit like cheesecake. But not really. I’ve seen/tasted dodgy copies using cottage cheese, but proper curds are needed for the real McCoy. And it has currants. Bonus.

Bettys Yorkshire Curd Tart

Bettys Yorkshire Curd Tart

They don’t sell them online unfortunately, but the good ol’ BBC has thoughtfully posted a recipe so you can have a go at making them yourself, if you’re feeling adventurous!

Go on… you know you want to: BBC Good Food: Yorkshire Curd Tart

BBC Good Food: Yorkshire Curd Tart

BBC Good Food: Yorkshire Curd Tart

OK, so now I’m all drooling over the memory of curd tart, let’s move over the Atlantic and right across Canada, and then a bit further to Victoria on Vancouver Island. There we find the Fairmont Empress, opened in 1908 for the  Canadian Pacific Hotels.

Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Empress

The undisputed focus of Victoria itself, they too know how to over-charge for a pot of hot water with a few dead leaves floating in it. But in addition, they have easy access to Americans to fleece, so they add an extra zero to the end for good measure! For afternoon tea here, you’re likely going to have to book a week or two in advance, and expect to pay $60+ per person. And dress formally. But what scrumptious surroundings to sip your Earl Grey!

Afternoon Tea at the Empress

Afternoon Tea at the Empress

Well, that about wraps it up I think. I do believe I’ll go and have a cup of tea…

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One response

28 01 2012
Tea Friend

Great Blog! Afternoon tea is such a blessing! So many fun ways to go about it, and different spins now-a-days. I like that you mentioned what seem to be very traditional tea timeʻs! Both of these places sound great and made my mouth water as well:) thank you for sharing!

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