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Help Me Design my own "Tea"

Newcastle, Maine
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Help Me Design my own "Tea"

Being that I am on my own and not one to go to a place like the Lainesborough, etc. for a "proper" tea, and, having a nice little self catering near Paddington, I thought it would be cool to make my own tea party. So, what I would like, are your suggestions for some freshly baked scones and/or other delicacies that would fill the bill.

Don't want prepackaged half stale tourist scones, want the good stuff.

Also I want some real clotted cream. What is the difference between double cream and clotted cream? What teas do you like and would you suggest I try? What other yummy treats would you suggest?

Looking for a little creative inspiration!

Thanks,

Suz

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1. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

If you'd like to go for tea and a slice of cake or a tart, do pop round to Maison Bertaux. It's a little place with a tiny upstairs room, but you'll be made to feel welcome there; the tea is superb, proper leaf tea with a second pot of hot water to adjust the strength. The raspberry tarts are amazingly good.

urbanpath.com/london/cafes/maison-bertaux.htm

Double cream contains - brace yourself - 48% fat. Thick and rich, it whips up nicely and tastes delicious. Clotted cream is even richer, at about 55% fat. See the link below for more info about how it's made and where to find it (Sainsbury's and Waitrose carry it). You'll need good jam for your scones; I found little 30 - 40gm jars of Tiptree jams at Morrisons last year, where they were four for a pound - nice to try cherry, strawberry, blackcurrant or raspberry with scones or teacakes.

Most grocery stores with an in-house bakery will have freshly baked scones. I rather like those from M&S, but Sainsbury's make good ones as well, but I prefer the fruit scones rather than plain.

If you can't find clotted cream or would like to keep your arteries as tidy as possible, consider Gold Top Double Cream as a decent alternate. It is almost as thick as clotted cream and really is a creamy gold colour - tastes sublime with fresh strawberries smashed into it.

http://www.roddas.co.uk/roddas.html

http://www.gold-top.co.uk/

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Maison Bertaux
Maison Bertaux
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Newcastle, Maine
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2. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

TP, we can always count on you! Arteries be damned-I'm on vacation! I'm a novice to tea really, more of a coffee drinker, yet while in London ..I like Earl Gray and Constant Comment, don't know much else..Smashed strawberries in cream sounds positively decadent. Think I'd like some little sandwiches too, something fresh and yummy yet easy to serve up to a party of one. Where is Maison Bertaux? Near Paddington?

Sometime I'll tell you all my funny story of me in pursuit of American style coffee with cream in Dear Old London..I fell in love with double cream!

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Maison Bertaux
Maison Bertaux
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3. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

Suz, you're very kind.

Maison Bertaux is on Greek Street in Soho not far from Cambridge Circus, between Old Compton Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.

Tea varieties....oh, that is a big subject. Pop in to Twinings at 216 Strand (the number 15 bus from Paddington or take the Underground to Temple and walk up Arundel Street towards the Royal Courts of Justice and turn right at St Clement Danes church, with Twinings just across from the RCJ) and have a sniff to see what you might like.

Tea varieties from India, China and Africa all have different characteristics and flavours: some are mild, some malty, some robust and others delicate. Fortnum & Mason's Breakfast Tea is a sturdy cup which may not appeal to a person who likes an aromatic Darjeeling; the burnt rope characteristics of a Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan tea may be an acquired taste but those who like it like it a lot.

For an everyday tea I like Yorkshire Gold; Clipper make an organic black tea that's quite good too. Assam is good in the afternoon, and the Twinings Everyday tea isn't bad.

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Maison Bertaux
Maison Bertaux
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London, UK
Darjeeling
Darjeeling
Darjeeling District, India
Assam
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London, England
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4. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

I like Lapsang Souchong as it is the only black tea I'm happy to drink without sugar.

TP's suggestion to Twinnings on the Strand is a great one. The Royal Courts of Justice accross the road is rather interesting too. Thay have started doing 2 hour escorted tours, but you can also just wander in. They make you check your camera, but the main hall is rather spectacular and almost always has people in black suits wandering around in 18th cetury wigs and gowns. There is also a video going which explains the history (its only 19th century) and how an English courtroom works.

The cafe on the 2nd floor of Liberty's is a nice place to have an informal tea and scones (or cake) on your own.

BTW, my local Marks and Spencer has a cafe in it, I think lots of the other's do too, so you can have TP's favourite scones right there.

M & S sells clotted cream as well. IMO clotted cream is well worth the extra fat and not to be missed.

Athens
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5. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

Hi Suz!

Best scones: M&S

Best clotted cream: M&S

Best jam: F&M Strawberry and Champagne

Best bread for sandwiches: Waitrose, thin sliced

Best pasties: Harrods (go at 7.45pm to get them in reduced prices)

Recommended selection of teas (IMO): Lapsang Souchong, Lady Grey, Prince Chrles, Queen Anne, English Breakfast

There is a cafe in M&S of Marble Arch, I think on the 2nd floor but I'm not sure, which does an informal, cheap but very tasty Afternoon Tea. Try it, even if you are alone. When I was in my 20s and I was alone in London I had tea and a scone every day at Littlewoods.

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The Marble Arch London
The Marble Arch London
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6. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

If you want some cakes to round off the tea and boost your sugar level, take a trip to Maison Sous on the north side of Shepherd's Bush Green (nearest tube Shepherd's Bush) and buy a couple of their quite incredible cakes (well, at least one per person), all priced at £1.60. Maison Sous is a Lebanese tea house and the French influence can be seen and tasted in their cakes. In fact whilst you are there have a cup of coffee or tea and sample a cake to deliciously double check the veracity of this suggestion.

I would also point out that Shepherd's Bush tube station is the one that serves the new Westfield shopping centre.

So my plan of action would be Maison Sous for cake and coffee, visit Westfield, and then back to Maison Sous for a top up and buy your cakes for your tea party. All in all a deliciously, self-indulgent way to spend a morning or afternoon

Newcastle, Maine
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7. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

All good suggestions. Twinings for tea. F&M for jam and I'm sure I'll find some other delights there, M&S for my scones and cream, then back to my studio for a lovely afternoon tea and a rest before I head out for the evening..Now, wondering what types of savouries are typical for an afternoon tea? Your suggestions are all so mouthwatering...

Thanks!

Athens
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8. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

M&S do a sandwich trio. There's half a BLT, half a shrimp/mayo and half a cheese/ham.

If you cut the halves in half, you have six mini sandwiches, the proper company for you Afternoon Tea.

London, England
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9. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

Thin sliced bread, crusts trimmed off, then: salmon with cucumber, thin sliced roast beef with horseraddish, thin sliced ham with mustard, marmite if you like marmite, chicken with chutney...etc. then sliced into small triangles or rectangles. The thin sliced meats are available at M&S.

In winter, toast with a bit of butter and gentlmen's relish is fabulous if you like anchovies. Fortman & Mason's probably still sells it. Also good in winter, toasted tea cakes (the sort with raisins)with butter and jam.

Now I'm hungry!

Newcastle, Maine
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10. Re: Help Me Design my own "Tea"

Oh yummy. On a roll now(no pun intended)...tell me about this Gentlemen's relish. Sounds intriguing to me as I deal in relishes and condiments for a living. Is that the brand name or just a description of the product? tummy's grumbling...