That time of year when the sun has decided to bless us, in London, with its presence has finally arrived! We all sit wondering, or rather lay in the park half naked or lean back in a seat catching rays at the perfect angle, still wondering or instead hoping, yearning and even begging the sun not to leave us again as the memories of waking up for work in the dark and then walking from the train station home in the dark with our shoulders hunched up towards our ear lobes with almost magnetic strength forces of attraction to protect ourselves from blistering winds of winter are still too traumatising to forget. If you are trying to figure out what I am on about don’t hate on me because you live in a hot country and if you managed to follow that never-ending sentence lacking punctuation it is because you clearly feel my pain and I am grateful for your empathy. Whilst I have clearly adopted the British ability to talk about the weather all day, with different people as though it is the juiciest piece of gossip yet to be shared, this blog post is actually got nothing to do with the weather (after all it is a food blog not BBC Weather), but it has everything to do with London’s (and one of the world’s) largest tennis event, which somehow creates an energy throughout the city for tennis fans and even non tennis fans. What are the odds? I am sure Ladbrokes has an answer and if your luck is anything like mine yesterday the dealer will not get one over you since yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Afternoon Tea at the iconic Landmark Hotel courtesy of Ladbrokes Bingo who put extra icing on the cake (or perhaps I should say clotted cream on the scone) by having their Buff Ball Boys join us bloggers at the table.
Although many foreigners would lovingly mock the British culture of consuming shocking amounts of tea daily, or for believing that tea is the cure for all and not just appropriate but essential for every occasion. And of course one has to drink one’s tea tight lipped accompanied by an over extended almost dislocated pinky finger. This reference of tea in anything British is because even foreigners recognise that tea is so much more than the drink; it was apparently created around 1800 to ward off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner and became a British institution. In modern times it easy to forget tradition, which means that it swiftly loses value and is therefore not passed on for generations to come. But hopefully the human instinct of greed will not be going anywhere soon and our children and our children’s children and their children will make the time to indulge in the tradition of hot teas combined with sparkling alcohol mid afternoon and eat various small bites that are precisely prepared, cooked and plated only to be consumed in seconds to then close your tastes buds with astonishing amounts of mini sugary treats.
I have enjoyed a few lovely teas in my life and I don’t mean the drink but the whole shebang. Some of you may read about the first time I discovered scones, which inspired me to make them when I returned to Jamaica after a holiday in London; I have visited the famous Fortnum & Mason for tea several times and now I can add Landmark Hotel to the list. From my experiences I can honestly encourage people to treat themselves to tea but also keep in mind that every place does tea differently so keep those pinky fingers strong because you can have many chances to use them should you wish.
Yesterday there were limited tea options but I am always interested in anything that features vanilla as its main ingredient so when the pleasant waitress mentioned to another guest that the house tea was a blend of black tea and vanilla I knew exactly what warm beverage I was going to be enjoying that fine summery afternoon. Thankfully the tea didn’t disappoint, even with a cube of brown sugar and a drop of whole milk the tea sung and the vanilla flavours came through.
Once tea was poured then came the glass of bubbly followed swiftly by a selection of sandwiches – cucumber (which you know I can barely handle the smell let alone the taste), salmon, egg mayonnaise and chicken with tarragon. The chicken with tarragon was really good! I even made a note that I have to make them myself. These perfectly cut sandwiches would have been nothing without good bread.
After the sandwiches we were offered scones and I would be more than happy to share my recipe with Landmark, not that I’m biased or anything 😉 Then the afternoon ended with some more sweet treats, one of which was a sponge cake topped with a tennis ball in honour of Wimbledon 2015, it was absolutely adorable!
It’s funny how food can be used to get into the spirit of any occasion? Who knew, afternoon tea would transform itself into perfect way to begin Wimbledon festivities? But I certainly am not one to complain, especially as food often becomes the pathway to meet new people, which is definitely worth gambling on.
Live, Love, Eat!