I’ve heard so many good things about afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor from both friends and social media. This meant I was very excited to be invited to try the Very Berry Garden Party Summer Afternoon Tea at the Olive Tree.
Upon arrival we were seated in a garden room off the Olive Tree restaurant. The setting definitely adds to the garden party theme of the afternoon tea with lots of light streaming in through the windows and lots of lovely flowers outside.
The afternoon tea menu was already on the table which meant we could look forward to the treats that were coming (and it is impressingly detailed when it comes to dietary requirements showing that each aspect is freshly prepared). After we’d had a chance to get settled and look over our menu a waiter came over to help us with our tea selection. Some loose leaves were bought over so we could see the teas and smell them. There are three teas (Darjeeling, Earl Grey and a green tea) and three tisanes (camomile, peppermint and blackcurrant & hibiscus) to choose from. We were told that breakfast tea and coffee were available as well. I chose the Earl Grey as Ceylon is the base tea used and I like Ceylon with food. Also, it wasn’t clear which tea the green tea was which meant I didn’t know what I would be drinking if I had decided to pick it. My friend chose the peppermint tisane as she wanted something without caffeine. Also, peppermint is good for digestion which is perfect when indulging in afternoon tea. The teas on offer are good gateway teas and not too overwhelming to choose from if you don’t know much about tea.
Our tea was bought over and poured using a strainer with the tea pot being left for us. The pots contain between 3-4 cups of tea each. I felt that the water used was a good temperature meaning that my first cup was brewed well and ready to drink straightaway. As the leaves are left in the pot I found I had use sugar and milk in my last cup as it had become somewhat bitter.
The tea is supplied by JING. JING only supply their teas to what they deem to be exceptional restaurants and luxury hotels and they label themselves as ‘defining the modern tea experience’. The Celtic Manor is definitely a luxury resort and their afternoon tea is what I would consider modern, rather than traditionalist, so I think JING is the perfect choice to supply their tea.
The afternoon tea is served in three sections and arrives as if they are separate courses. The first section is a miniature hamper and this comes served with a chilled raspberry lemonade. We were served the lemonade first and then a cute little picnic basket was bought over with some mini savoury treats inside. Our favourites were the leek & Snowdonia Red Devil cheese tartlet and the chorizo, basil & spinach frittata. I also opted to have a glass of Prosecco just as I would do at a garden party! There is Champagne available as well.
The second section, the main body of the afternoon tea, is served traditionally on a cake stand. It consists of finger sandwiches and cakes & pastries. The finger sandwiches are quite traditional choices but timeless flavours. I always throughly enjoy a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich but my favourite was the Hafod cheese and pickle sandwich.
The cakes and pastries all looked stunning meaning we had a hard time deciding what order to eat them in. They were all delicious but our highlight was definitely the citrus scented red berry pâté de fruit. I can only describe it as being an amazing version of a fruit pastille. The blueberry & vanilla cream tartlet and raspberry & elderflower meringues were also exceptional.
The third section was scones served in a little wicker basket which again added to the theme. The goji berry and chia seed scones were still warm when they arrived and we were given plenty of strawberry preserve, berry curd and clotted cream to smother them in. The berry curd was particularly good and I wish I could have taken a jar home!
Both the food and atmosphere make afternoon tea at the Celtic Manor a lovely experience. The waiters are attentive (but not in way that is too much) and, with plenty of food on offer, the afternoon tea is more filling than a meal! I’d highly recommend visiting and I can’t wait to see what treats the autumn menu has in store. It’s the perfect place if you want to book afternoon tea to mark a special occasion or just as an indulgent treat, maybe after a treatment at the resort spa.
I would like to thank the Celtic Manor for inviting me and a friend to have afternoon tea. Our visit was complementary but afternoon tea is £24 per person (Monday – Friday) or £32 per person (Saturday) and you must book in advance. Prosecco is £6.95 per glass and Champagne is £10.50 per glass. The summer afternoon tea is available until 6th September.