There are many strange things about blogging; stalking people on twitter, it being socially acceptable for your food to get cold while you take photos of it, not to mention the overuse of the words awesome/brilliant/amazing. But among the strangest is the ability to get a preview of a Christmas afternoon tea in September, complete with carols played on a harp.
Last Christmas I went to the Intercontinental St James and was entirely underwhelmed by their offering; the scones were cold, the treats a bit meh and the ultimate offence they made us share the solo helping of sweet things. So when I heard that the Bloggers Afternoon Tea was going back to the same hotel for a preview of their Christmas afternoon I was not exactly amped. I know that the hotel had changed its name to the Conrad St James and I just had my fingers crossed that the afternoon tea offering had had a revamp as well.
The London Blogger afternoon teas are fantastic, if you are a blogger and want to talk shop/meet some fellow typing crazies then you have to sign up for the next one. Conversations with my table veered wildly between camera settings, the best cafes in London and how to approach PR companies. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these chances to chat, its entirely different to listening to a formal talk or the hidden desperation of networking. This tea is just celebrating or commiserating the highs and lows of being a blogger.
This hobby or career (depending on your inclinations) doesn’t have a rule book. There is no degree or career path, and even if you tried to copy the tactics of someone else it is no guarantee of success. So as silly as it sounds the casual chatter of bloggers drinking tea (and champagne) is actually the best way to learn, grow and refine your craft. Oh and it turns out that Sony cameras have a selfie mode…go figure.
Sorry I got a bit distracted there. Christmas right? I had nothing to fear, the Conrad afternoon tea was every bit as magical as I could have wished for. After a standard but really tasty sandwich and scone diversion, I focused mainly on the top tier which held special Christmas savories. My favorite by far (good enough to use the ‘hey look over there’ tactic to steal one from another blogger) was the mini-venison pie, just so full of flavour and meaty pastry goodness. Also worth a mention are the spreads that the scones came with, normally you get clotted cream and a jam (or lemon curd if the chef has something to prove). But finally a hotel is doing something a bit different and we were served blackberry curd – other afternoon teas take note, the spreads is an area where you can be creative!
After consuming my body weight in Jing tea the grand finale was revealed to us. Under a glass canopy was an entire winter wonderland scene, complete with Christmas trees, scarf wearing snowmen and snow. In that moment even though we were having an Indian summer and it was still September I was instantly transported to the world of mulled wine, presents and bad Christmas jumpers.
I went straight for the ginger and white chocolate snowflake macaron, a beautiful light flavour to have as part of a massive afternoon tea. I then tried to tackle the Christmas tree which was without being overly dramatic (totally unlike me) was shocking. I was expecting chocolate or cake at the very least, but my spoon went straight through it. It was a berry moose on top of a brownie rolled in something green with chocolate stars on. An absolute masterpiece. Again it was lovely to see something so light in an afternoon tea, it just means you can eat more.
Since this is Christmas lets end this post with a moral: if you are looking for a magical themed Christmas afternoon tea I vote go to the Conrad St James. And if you can take a group of 3o bloggers along then all the better.