Imagine a sophisticated grand room, with a gold and white interior decor scheme – a perfect venue for the quintessential British tradition of Afternoon Tea. The tables are lined with gleaming white tablecloths and topped with sparkling fancy cutlery, tea cups and champagne flutes. You sit down in anticipation of the cakes, scones and desserts about to come your way.
As you happen to take a peek outside the window of this fine dining restaurant, you suddenly see a charming view of the sea and you feel a slight gentle rocking, and suddenly you realise – you are having Afternoon Tea on board a ship! After my afternoon tea with Giraffes in Kenya, this comes in as the next most unusual but wonderful experience!
This experience was just incredible and what made it even more special was this particular Afternoon Tea is created by one of my favourite pâtissiers, and one who I regularly see on a certain hotel brand’s TV, the multiple award winning ‘Cake Boy’ – Eric Lanlard.
Having yet to make it to his cafe, I was so excited to find out this was available on board the ship and booked it in advance and excitedly awaited for the day.
The Afternoon Tea is available on sea days in the Epicurean Restaurant on board Britannia, the beautiful P&O Ship I stayed on, and is available at an amazing £15 per person, and £20 with a glass of fizz. That was such an amazing price for an incredible selection, especially when you compare it to central London Afternoon Tea prices.
Of course I opted for a glass of fizz and it was so refreshing and I sat back marvelling at the selection on the three tiered stand in front of us.
How incredible does this look? A few minutes later a waitress arrived with a perfume bottle and she said to close our eyes. She then spritzed an edible earl grey perfume to awaken our senses. It smelt incredible!
After a few moments in dreamland, I selected my tea, from the impressive choices available, and went for the Nutty Chocolate, which was rich Assam loose leaf tea with flavour tones of chocolate and hazelnut. Perfect tea for an indulgent afternoon!
From the selection on our cake stand, for savouries we had Scottish Smoked Salmon and Dill in a Lemon and Cracked Black Pepper Macarons, Roast Beef in a Brioche and Cheese Éclairs. My favourite was definitely the Cheese Éclair, which had Brie, Red Onion Marmalade and a rocket salad. It was so delicious.
For the sweet selection we had Exotic Pop Cakes with Cotton Candy, Dark Chocolate Tear Drops with Italian Amarena Cherries, Summer Berries and Meringues , Orange infused Almond Cakes with a hint of Lavender and scones, which had an added twist of lemon flavour, served with individual clotted creams and jams.
My favourite was definitely the Summer Berries and Meringue, which had a Raspberry Mousse, Lychees pearls and fruit Coulis served in a cute mason jar. OMG it was so heavenly I am not even ashamed to say I had both the jars! Didn’t even share. It was also fun as you had to squeeze the coulis into the dessert using a little plastic tube.
The variety within the selection of sweet and savouries was amazing and the value was just exceptional. I am now definitely going to make a trip to his cafe to try more of his desserts!
If you are travelling on board any of the P&O ships where this is available, I highly recommend it! It is very popular so do book it in advance. A selection of his desserts are also available in the Market Cafe. It was truly a fabulous experience and one I look back on very fondly.
If after seeing this mouthwatering selection you fancy trying to make some of his cakes and desserts yourself, you are in luck as Eric has a cookbook out too!
For more information about P&O cruises go to:http://www.pocruises.com
For more information on Eric Lanlard go to: http://www.cake-boy.co.uk/eric-lanlard