Salted cucumber and Venezuelan chocolate sandwiches, followed by hot cocoa nib liquor? We discover Paul A Young’s extraordinary chocolate afternoon tea.
Grosvenor House, London has teamed up with master chocolatier Paul A Young, to create an afternoon tea so chocolatey it would even impress the Easter bunny. Available from the 14th April 2014 for one month only, it’s an afternoon tea not quite like any other and makes a fitting alternative Easter treat to your standard chocolate egg.
Served in the plush surroundings of the Park Room at Grosvenor House, an assistant kindly takes your jacket while another leads you to your table. You are then presented with a menu which details the exquisite treats to come, and poured a glass of top-notch Louis Roederer champagne.
To kick things off, an amuse bouche of finely diced pineapple, melon and mango cleanses the palate, while hot cocoa nib tea is poured through silver strainers into delicate china cups. Cocoa nib tea, you say? Yes, you heard right. Although you tend to find cocoa nibs studding adventurous chocolate bars, these roasted cocoa beans that have been broken into small pieces, can be used to make a cocoa-flavoured tea. Left to infuse in hot water, they release a deep aroma of hot chocolate and taste deliciously malty. Let's just say it's easy to reach for a second cup!
Soon after, a lofty 3-tier cake stand arrives laden with dainty finger sandwiches and tantalizing patisserie. For chocolate lovers, there’s mini cocoa shortcake biscuits layered with Madagascan chocolate spread, a tiny chocolate tart powerfully infused with Earl Gray tea and an unctuous orange, English honey and geranium ganache, served in a port glass. There’s also a cute slice of chequered Battenberg cake – deliciously almondy with homemade marzipan – and a zingy pistachio and raspberry jam slice to balance out all that chocolate.
Finger sandwiches are filled with Loch Fyne smoked salmon, Clarence Court free-range egg mayo, coldwater prawns in a Marie Rose sauce and smoked chicken with tarragon, to name but a few. There’s even a salted cucumber and Venezuelan chocolate sandwich which makes a terrific combination – so much so, you might just find yourselves throwing etiquette out of the window and fighting over the last one.
However, the pièce de résistance has to be the scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and – in true Paul A Young style – luxurious salted caramel. You won’t be pining for jam as the sticky, smooth caramel makes a perfect partner for the deliciously thick cream. Tuck into one, two, even three – just cancel any plans for rushing around afterwards.
Paul A Young’s Chocolate Inspired Afternoon Tea costs £39.50 per person and is available from 1pm – 6pm in The Park Room at Grosvenor House, from April 14th 2014. Discover more about Paul A Young's intriguing truffles by following him on Twitter @paul_a_young, or visiting Paulayoung.co.uk.
**Grosvenor House:** (a JW Marriott Hotel) 86 - 90, Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 7TN. For more information about Grosvenor House Hotel London visit their website.
**Written by:** Isobel Troca-King