My love of finger food meals is growing, not only are tapas and pinchos my faves I've now rediscovered the good old Afternoon Tea. It started with a rainy day in York in January with a trip to the ever famous Betty's. We queued with a LOT of tourists to get in and when we finally did we weren't exactly greeted with a smiling face, when I asked to change tables (to one with better light as we had been seated downstairs which I didn't enjoy) they looked at me very strangely!
Now it was very nice but I wasn't wholly sold, although their Macaroons (or Macarons as the French say, and in all honesty what we should say too I believe) are godly. Aside from that it was quite a standard afternoon tea really, sandwiches, a scone and a few desserts each. I'd very much like to go back but I feel I may be more enamoured with just a big plate of Macaroons. The afternoon tea with Pink champagne is £26.85 each which gets you four quarter triangle sandwiches, a scone and three desserts (usually a tart, small loaf cake and a macaroon), you are paying for the name and although nice I wasn't overwhelmed.
After that okay experience I was a little hesitant to go back to York for an Afternoon Tea, but when I saw some sneak peeks of what the Principal Hotel* York offered I knew I couldn't turn down the invite!
This was what I call fabulous service, our waiter was super lovely, and poured our champagne like a boss- he even did a little bow every time he left, which was slightly excessive but I liked it! We were in the Principal Hotels garden room which has amazing views of their lovely gardens and York Minster on the distance. We had a table in one of the bay windows so it was a stark contrast to Betty's no windows offering.
After champagne we went straight into he first plate of the day. This contained more unusual starters pre the actual afternoon tea stand as such. There was smoked mackerel mousse,Yorkshire Rarebit which was amazing and my fave a sweet potato, chorizo and sherry vinegar velouté which was other worldly. It came in a tiny cup to drink straight from and it was just glorious, I could have had a whole bowl and more (I may or may not have had Lukes as well!!). I also tried the vegatarian option of Yorkshire blue cheese salad which I gave to Luke in return as I can't do mouldy cheese I'm afraid!
The main event came along shortly after, I could wax lyrical about it all day, the sandwiches were gorgeous the chutney on the ham sandwiches was so nice! The mini scones were still warm and were just the right size to be filling but not over filling.
The desserts were the stars, the macaron (yep they go by the French name here too) was the best I'd ever had, with chocolate around one side, a generous filling and a great fruity taste! The Slingsby rhubarb gin cheesecake was the first of the Yorkshire themed desserts I loved, the Yorkshire curd tart was also lush but the Parkin was amazing. It had the perfect texture with not too many bits in and it was super treacley too just how I like it! There's also a salted caramel chocolate pot that Luke basically stole from me to enable me to have the Macaron in whole (a fair swap I feel!) and a handmade mini eclair.
Needless to say we were stuffed at the end. I even drank all my tea (spearmint) and considering I don't like tea it was an actual first! Theirs is more expensive than Betty's but worth it I feel, it's £29.50 including a glass of champagne, the plate of three starters, two finger sandwiches, 3 mini scones each plus 6 mini desserts to share. The food quality was superb and the service was fabulous and I'm already looking for a reason to return! (We also stayed over and more of that to come soon!)
Writing the above has made me realise I value a good macaron in an afternoon tea , but a scone is still the best part I feel, let me know what yours is in the comments!
*Afternoon Tea provided for consideration of review. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.