We visited the Aztec Hotel and Spa to see it all dressed up in its Christmas finery with the tallest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen merrily twinkling alongside a roaring log fire in the lobby. What could be a better place to take a festive afternoon tea; our table was laid with all he rudiments necessary for a classic four o-clock event, and a rather charming little teapot with ‘reserved’ written on it. There was a choice of Yorkshire breakfast tea, or Earl Grey; robust Yorkshire was our preference and it arrived loose-leafed in a dish, with a teapot of hot water and a timer, so you could make own choice of how long to let it infuse which was very novel, and the three minute timer made the perfect cup.
A three-tier silver stand was brought to the table with a flourish positively groaning under the weight of delicately cut finger sandwiches, the lightest looking fluffy scones, pots of jam and cream, and a fulsome selection of all sorts of cakes. My husband was in heaven as he saw alongside the sandwiches something which normally doesn’t come with tea : a flaky pastry sausage roll and it was warm. I fended him off from eating mine and have to say it was delicious; spicy sausage meat and light pastry an inspired addition to the menu I have to say.
We loved the sandwiches, a savoury taste before the sweet things, egg mayonnaise and cress, ham and cranberry sauce, smoked salmon, and cheese and chutney, a combination made in both white and brown bread. The scones were delightful warm and crumbly and risen to perfection. We do it the Cornish way, first the jam and then generous blobs of clotted cream; we had to have a five-minute rest after these!
Then there were mince pies, macaroons, ginger cake, little pots of chocolate mousse and fruit tarts. The ginger cake was just as it should be, a rich and sticky concoction with a warm bite of zingy ginger and a hint of orange. The little fruit tarts were a baked custard delight and I’m afraid after these we had to admit we were beaten. But not to worry, the excellent service included boxing up the cakes that were left with the assurance that they would still be as good tomorrow. We had spent a most enjoyable afternoon and we couldn’t have enjoyed the tea more.