I am going to transport you back to Madeira for a short while to talk about the afternoon tea we had at Reid’s Palace Hotel. Coincidentally when researching this post, I discovered that it is afternoon tea week. I often wonder who comes up with these different weeks. The cynic in me thinks that it coincides with a lull in the market, maybe mid-August is quiet for afternoon tea, who knows?
I have to say I am not someone who relishes the prospect of consuming a large amount of cake and sugary things in one sitting. I sort of shudder at the prospect, but when you have a birthday to celebrate, why not make an exception?
There is something very English and genteel about having tea, proper tea from a teapot in bone china cups with a saucer. Not your usual builders tea in a mug. It conjures up images of Victorian ladies sitting in big sprawling manor houses with a poor servant running around pouring tea and serving cucumber sandwiches, while the lady of the house gossips about her neighbours or some local scandal. It is said that it was introduced by the seventh Duchess of Bedford to fill the gap between lunch and dinner, which was generally served around 8pm.
Traditional afternoon tea consists of finger sandwiches, scones served with jam and clotted cream and little cakes with a choice of teas, or if you are celebrating, a glass of champagne. In London all of the main hotels vie for the honour of serving the best afternoon tea, at prices ranging from around £20 to a whopping £70 a head. You can sit in ornate lounges admiring both the decor and the artistry and talent in producing the cakes.
Afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace costs €36 a head with a glass of champagne costing a further €18.50. For that you get the usual fare of finger sandwiches, scones, dainty cakes and a menu of teas. But the best bit is the view over the gardens and, of course, the sea.
The serving staff are very attentive, a little too attentive for my liking, and once you’ve finish your first round you’ll be offered even more sandwiches and scones, and a fresh pot of tea which you will need to cut through the sugar. How many carbs can a person consume at one sitting?
The hotel itself is spectacular. It still retains it’s colonial feel but is immaculate with polished floors and large grand piano sitting majestically in the bar. There is a wall of photographs of the hotel over the years and decorative features like an old phone artistically arranged. Even if you don’t go for afternoon tea it is worth a visit just to admire the foyer area alone.
Wherever you go for afternoon tea it is something really special and a nice thing to do for a celebration which will appeal to all ages and especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Not sponsored and paid for by me. Reid’s Palace Hotel HERE.