My absolute favourite treat is a luxurious champagne afternoon tea and in the grounds of probably the most spectacular stately home, Blenheim Palace, where better place than to enjoy it, truly heartstoppingly beautiful. Afternoon tea was not considered a luxury, it was ‘invented’ in 1840 by Anna Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, as a way to recharge the batteries, and long may this ritual continue, although now it is regarded as a luxury, and rightly so. Pretty bone china crockery and real tea, crystal glasses of champagne and delightful goodies.
Searcy’s Perrier-Jouët afternoon tea in the Orangery at Blenheim Palace is a sophisticated affair, it is set with a view of the formal Italian Gardens, manicured to a fault, stunning statues, a fountain and the palace in the background. It is peaceful and relaxing.
We sat under discreet purpose-built marquee pods taking in the perfect vista. Inside is equally as impressive, elegant white linen, high ceilings featuring fabulous lighting.
The afternoon tea was just delicious, the savoury selection was artistically presented. We enjoyed each treat, beginning with the crayfish Caesar salad, which was a little prawn cocktail in a crispy lettuce leaf. Then came the toasted Welsh rarebit muffin with a baby roasted tomato, then a light and fluffy rare roast beef vol-au-vent, a Cotswolds gin-cured salmon bagel with lime crème fraiche brioche and finally an open cream cheese, pickled cucumber and chives on a bagel. Each piece was a delicate little pop of art, a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.
We washed this all down with a couple of glasses of chilled Perrier-Jouët champagne. We felt the need for a little break before the sweet selection.
Next came the light and fluffy plain buttermilk and currant scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, cream first followed by the jam of course! To finish our delicious afternoon tea we enjoyed a pot of Earl Grey tea and the remaining delicate pastries and cakes, including pink rhubarb choux bun, passion fruit delice, strawberry macaron, pecan and carrot cake, small, delicate and completely fresh and delicious. Our tea was topped up readily, we stayed for a good hour and a half, relishing the peace and luxury.
The service was impeccable, the food divine, setting perfect and COVID-19 regulations strictly adhered to. To finish we took a little stroll around the beautiful grounds to the Secret Garden, to the fountains, The Pleasure Garden and then on to Churchill’s burial site, sadly the palace was closed to visitors, but there is so much to see and do here it would take several visits to fit it all in, so a return trip is definitely on the cards.
Written by Debbie Stone for Luxuria Lifestyle International