Santa Claus comes to Tea in Beijing!

My Festive challenge : Find 3 fantastic Christmas Inspired Afternoon Tea’s in Asia. December festivities have taken me to the Great Wall of China, the city that never sleeps – Hong Kong and Singapore for a Singapore Slinging Christmas.  Starting the advent month with an exhilarating trip to Beijing with temperatures of -4C, a cosy and warm Festive Afternoon Tea @ China World Hotel Lobby Lounge felt Christmas fitting! Reviews by City Weekend rated China World Hotel as the leader for Afternoon Tea in Beijing. With limited time in Beijing I took on their ranking and paid a visit to the busy China World Trade Centre. The hotel was decked out in full Christmas cheer and had me excited with anticipation of what an afternoon tea service would be like in China.

IMG_0067 IMG_0066 IMG_0064 IMG_0076

The Christmas Afternoon Tea set is priced at RMB328 +15% service charge and includes two teas, coffees or hot chocolate. Tea selection is broken down into three categories with multiple options available in each selection: Classic Tea Selection (English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Assam and Sencha), Chinese Tea Selection (Jasmine, Pu’er, Chrysanthemum) and Herbal Tea Selection (Peppermint and Chamomile). For an added indulgent there is also a Champagne Afternoon Tea option available which I took along with my option for a hot chocolate.

IMG_0082 IMG_0083 IMG_0078 IMG_0080

The table setting was quite vintage with white lacy dollies and striped armchairs. The hot chocolate was divine and rich, I had two cups! The Perrier Jouet Brut was accompanied with the most moorish sweet popcorn, I just couldn’t stop!

IMG_0024 IMG_0025

The Tea Stand was presented in true festive glitter…it just brought the biggest ‘big kid’ smile to my face…I knew this was going to be a tasty tea!

IMG_0081  IMG_0031 IMG_0050 IMG_0072 IMG_0061 Santa just stole the show. He looked so cute and endearing, a part of me felt bad about eating him, however it had to be done once I knew it was a white chocolate Santa! The battenberg cake was a famous inhouse bake and considering I’m not really a fan of marzipan I found it to be one of the lightest and tastiest battenburgs I have ever eaten. Perhaps Battenberg converted. IMG_0032

Chinese snacks were next in line for demolishment. The BBQ Pork Pao was decent not like the delicious ones you get in Hong Kong or Singapore but still fun to have at tea time. IMG_0041

The scones were good and the variation of a chocolate scone was interesting but the real highlight was the  Clotted cream, one of the best Tea condiments I have tried in Asia. The egg custard tartlet was also a great alternative option but lacked a little on taste.

IMG_0036 IMG_0045

The finger sandwiches were a good palate cleanser to make way for more sweet pastries, of which the Cinnamon Stars were a favourite.

IMG_0034 IMG_0048

The China World Hotel is one of the few afternoon tea events in Beijing that requires a reservation to ensure a seat at their fantastic Tea.

Top Tip: I would highly recommend doing a bit research before heading to Beijing, the Internet and language can be a bit of an obstacle if you are not mandarin speakers. City Weekend was a helpful guide for dining and restaurant reviews.

To Tea Or Not To Tea

I’m guilty of eating between meals and at half past three everything stops for tea!

Its National Afternoon Tea Week in the UK a National event I feel compelled to join in. After all, it is a very British affair and we do, quite frankly, do it the best.  I spent last week in London meeting friends over tea, I achieved a new record; 4 afternoon teas in 6 days.  How fitting for Tea week! It feels apt to share some scone highlights and tea favourites, One gorgeous tea review at a go…. Kicking off with……

Afternoon Tea Inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory @One Aldwych £34.50 per person, alternatively you can opt for an add on (as I did, and would recommend) of Lallier Grand Reserve Champagne at £45 per person. There is also a Charlie Cocktail option which had many takers.

One Alywych had me at the menu! Inspiring they promised and inspiring it was. Who doesn’t have fond memories of Roald Dahl’s classic characters?!

IMG_0014 IMG_0003 IMG_0036 IMG_0015 IMG_0038 IMG_0018

The contents of the menu continued to be inspiring and transported me back to my childhood; candy floss, eton mess, chocolate eggs! Glee. The Tea Selection was full of fruity options, I chose the Jewelled Apple and was not dissapointed. It aimed to transport you back to the days of sticky, crunchy toffee apples and it really did.

IMG_0020

No afternoon tea is without its sandwiches and savoury. I say upfront however in my opinion they are not the highlight of this tea. Its about the Sweet. A good range nonetheless for vegetarians and pescatarians as the only land animal was the Roast beef sandwich (resembling a chocolate brownie) which wasn’t really to my taste, a bit too rare for my liking but probably the way it should be.

IMG_0019

Now for the ultimo magic, the Sweet round. What a display, quirky, imaginative and highly attack worthy. We ate it all without any pause. I cannot say any particular item was standout as they were all superb! We left nothing but a few crumbs behind us. Like a big kid the homemade pear drop & rhubarb candy floss got my attention first and then the Golden Chocolate egg filled with vanilla cheesecake and mandarin. The Chocolate Caramel Milk helped wash down the divine Eton Mess and Lime, Coconut, White Chocolate pop.

IMG_0013 IMG_0028 IMG_0031 IMG_0033 IMG_0040

I normally eat scones before the Sweet Round however this time they came third and rightly so after that display. That said, the scones were good and came in a bread basket accompanied with a blueberry brioche and the best Cocoa Bean Financier I have ever eaten.

IMG_0035

If like me Roald Dahl sits very fondly in your childhood memories then this tea is worth your time. Perhaps even a visit to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical running across the road would be a fun joint trip.

One Aldwych have aced their tea service, they are attentive and warm which is not always a London norm. The theme is wonderful and full of magic and sparks. Overall, a fun sweet filled day at a price that is competitive to the main high tea flyers in London. Go!

http://www.onealdwych.com

IMG_0024

Watch out for the second scones write up….featuring one of my favourite Drawing rooms in South Kensington!