Since my 21st Birthday in 2010 I have been enjoying mother/daughter days in London which have always featured a spot of afternoon tea at the gorgeous Knightsbridge based hotel, The Berkeley, where in their Caramel room they serve a fashionista themed Pret-a-Portea Afternoon Tea, complete with sandwiches, canapés, biscuits and cakes all decorated to match the hottest trends from that seasons fashion week runways.
This is a perfect experience for all women who have an interest in fashion, or cake or tea. The experience costs £39 per person, and begins with an optional glass of champagne, which of course, my mother and I always opt for. This is Laurent Perrier champagne (darling!) and carries an extra cost of £10 for the first glass, and £14 for every subsequent glass. You can even opt for ‘couture’ champagne (Laurent Perrier Rosé or Laurent Perrier ultra Brut) which is an additional £16 for the first glass and £21.50 for each there after. Unless you’re rolling in the money, best save that choice for a special occassion.
After this comes a round of sandwiches with four different fillings within four different breads. These sandwiches will keep on coming by request – it’s sort of an ‘all you can eat’ system, and the same goes for the canapés and the cakes. This season, the sandwiches include the classic cucumber and cream cheese on bread infused with sun-blushed tomato, the sophisticated salmon sandwich, a beef and horseradish on fresh white bread, and a small bun containing egg and cress. I would recommend two rounds of the sandwiches, before you move onto the canapes. These are a selection of five small mouth size bites served on small taster spoons, all served on Paul Smith fine bone china. This season, the canapes included soy marinated tuna with apricot-ginger chutney, turkey and chestnut millefeuille and a miniature puff pastry duck parcel. The most delicious of these was undoubtedly the millefeuille, creamy and soft; it tasted just like Christmas. My mother and I would usually take three rounds of these.
By this point, we have usually finished our champagne, and instead of opting for an expensive second glass, we move onto the wonderful selection of loose leaf teas and infusions to choose from. I can personally recommend the Pear Caramel, Chocolate Mint Truffle, and Vanilla flavours from the loose leaf teas, and my personal favourite of the fresh fruit infusions has to be the Luscious Lemon, which I love so much I have purchased my own stash to enjoy at home (ask the waitress for information on where to purchase these teas) The teas, like the sandwiches, canapes and cakes are unlimited refills, so you can drink until your heart’s content! You can even try several different flavours.
And then comes the exciting bit. You can move onto the cakes and biscuits, which have each been flavoured and decorated to match the most exciting and beautiful creations of the current fashion season. Traditionally one will find two tall shot glasses filled with an exciting mousse, beautifully decorated with a fashionable accessory – this season it’s a diane Von Furstenberg pink lady apple mousse and kalamancy cremeux topped with playful interlocking sugar puzzles, and a Lanvin chocolate and orange mousse topped with mouth-watering French meringue. Next to these elegant creations will be displayed the two traditional biscuits, which are currently based upon the sell-out Fendi ankle boot, flavoured with maple and ginger and decorated with yellow and black icing, and a Marc Jacobs double breasted blazer chocolate biscuit with show-stopping sparkly pink icing. These are always my favourites of the sweet treats, but the delights don’t stop there…
A delicious chocolate treat which can be found on the second plate is the manolo Bhlanik “Neurotica” pink polka dot cake pumps with gianduja cream, and a Burberry Prorsum layered praline, dulcey cream and chocolate mousse trench coat tipped with stylish violet umbrella, and it’s difficult not to be wowed by the yves Saint Laurent “Cabas Chyc” green Victoria sponge cake handbag. Almost too beautiful to eat… but luckily not, because it is delicious!
This really is an afternoon treat perfect as a girly day treat before or after a day of shopping in Knightsbridge or the West-end, and even more perfect for any mother/daughter combo. Remember Mother’s Day is coming up (March 10th) so maybe treat her (and yourself) to this special Afternoon Tea, but really, you don’t need an excuse to enjoy this exciting afternoon tea, just a sweet tooth and a love of fashion.