Le five o´clock

You know that thing Holly Golightly has with Tiffany´s, the feeling that nothing bad can happen to you there? I get that when confronted with an English afternoon tea.
Everything evaporates when they place that little silver tower before me, troubles fade before the delicious Christmas-morning indecision: where to start?
(The answer has to be the scone, of course, while it´s still hot and able to melt the clotted cream a little.)
To my mind, it´s one of the most sophisticated food creations around. A tasting menu, if you will, going through a whole gamut of different tastes and textures, and with the added bonus of no irritating waiters telling you "Chef suggests you start with the rice pudding, take a bite of the biltong tempura, and chase with the roast-watermelon bloody mary".
The UK seems like a crazily foodie place, all about Gordon Ramsay´s loss of a Michelin star, Nigella´s new program, or the launch of yet another line of Thai-prawn-bresaola crisps. But I spent the best possible hour in the very bourgeois and old-fashioned confines of Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate, nibbling on the little cakes to make them last.
You can take your Michelin stars and put them with your Tiffany´s diamonds, I´ll be perfectly happy with my cucumber sandwiches. Very cheap date, moi.

13 comentarios:

Ramona dijo...

It is a cool and cloudy day in New Mexico (fall is just around the corner)and afternoon tea sounds very nice.

Casey dijo...

God how I love a proper English tea. One furiously rainy day we arrived at the sublime Gravetye Manor and as we checked in, rain still dripping off our jackets, the woman at the desk said: "Wouldn't you like a spot of tea by the fire while we finish preparing your room?"
I nearly lept across the desk and kissed her.

xps dijo...

Pastelitos, pastelitos. Que rico, por Dios!!

Anónimo dijo...

I feel deprived; I only know real English teas from reading about them. But I love them still! Your descriptions (and pictures) give me just one more delicious vision of English tea.

Saffron dijo...

I agree, UK is becoming even more food obsessed! This summer I had great food experiences travelling in Scotland.

Anónimo dijo...

Bettys is wonderful! They have a lovely place in York too - a real life-saver after a hard day shopping!

Anónimo dijo...

I really enjoy afternoon British-style, even being all the way here in Asia...my cousin and I used to have it when I visited her in HK and we spend hours nibbling and gossiping!

lobstersquad dijo...

ramona: sounds perfect for tea, here it´s too hot still
casey: I love that, in hotels it´s even better.
xps: mmmmm sorry
julie: well, they´re easy enough to reproduce, but the real mcKoy just has to be there, it´s true.
saffron: they´re pretty crazy out there, aren´t they?
elegant sniff: I love York, pity I couldn´t make it there this time.
Joey: in HK it sounds even more cosmopolitan and fascinating

thepassionatecook dijo...

you say cheap date, but there are so many people who shy away from spending £25 on just tea. i love it though - such an english institution and so civilised. i had one with pille at brown's hotel near piccadilly and i love it at the lanesborough on hyde park corner... and of course, high tea is nothing without the piano music, don't you think?

Cottage Smallholder dijo...

Ah! Betty's in Harrogate is the perfect place for English afternoon tea. Lucky you.

Anónimo dijo...

My best one: A very proper-looking Edwardian hotel in Brighton. Consuming afternoon tea took all afternoon, looking out the lace curtained window at the ocean, in the rain. And it is cheap, really, because you can't eat much of anything else all day.I love cucumber sandwiches.

Anónimo dijo...

There's a little cosy place near your neighbourhood in Madrid called Living in London Tea room, take a look at it when your're back in Madrid and you'll be perfectly happy, same way as in your post.

Anónimo dijo...

I'm starting to see this edge back into fashion locally (Auckland, New Zealand) at the moment. What a welcome change, reminds me of long lazy days (and bowling greens for some reason) the blue rinse brigade was right all along!

By the way, love the illustration for this piece, would be amazing to see a menu laid out as such.