I love afternoon tea. Is there anyone who doesn’t?
Last Summer I took my small team to Llanerch Vineyard for afternoon tea as a thank you for all of their hard work. It wasn’t long after I’d moved to Cardiff and started my blog, but I didn’t write about it.
Why didn’t I write about it? Well it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it (that’s an honour reserved for this shocker of an afternoon tea), because it most definitely was nice.
But it wasn’t, in my eyes, anything more than that. The trouble was, I couldn’t articulate why it was only ‘nice’. I recall at the time that I felt it was a little skinny on portions, although we left there stuffed. And everything was fresh and tasty – but it just wasn’t special.
Last week, that changed.
A client of mine wanted a review meeting, and as is his fashion, he wanted to take me somewhere nice to eat. It’s so lovely being taken out by clients – I’m sure it’s supposed to be the other way around! He suggested Llanerch Vineyard and so I was happy to agree and give it another go.
It wasn’t very busy which was a huge plus on a day where temperatures hit 27 degrees and so we sat looking out onto the wonderfully tended rows of vines.
I’d pre-ordered my vegetarian afternoon tea and I think that this always helps. Forearmed is forewarned and all that.
What rocked up?
I have to say that I loved the bottom layer. Rather than sandwiches, slices of baguette were presented with cheese and pickle, egg mayonnaise, hummus and sun-dried tomato, cream cheese and cucumber, oyster mushrooms with mushroom ketchup. All were beautifully presented and, as crazy as this will sound, I loved that the pickle was actually mixed in with the cheese rather than being spread on the bottom – this was my favourite savoury.
The middle tier was a bit confused between sweet and savoury and offered a small cheese tart, a scone which was as light as air, with plenty of clotted cream and jam and a Welsh cake.
The cheese tart was a tangy mouthful, but I needed to work my way to the scone quickly. It’s always so important to me that there is more than enough jam and cream! I was amused that my client committed the cardinal sin of putting the jam on first – such a no no for this Cornish girl – and he had to be berated. Lucky he’s pleased with the work we’re doing for him! So, plenty of cream, and plenty of jam on an airy scone. Total winner.
I can’t comment on the Welsh cake. I’m not a huge fan and so I didn’t eat it. I feel like a heathen when I say that they always taste a little dry to me, except for the raspberry split version.
The top layer offered strawberry cheesecake, a really moist lemon drizzle, a white chocolate brownie and macarons of which I could only manage one. All were fresh, a good size (a bite or two) and none were overly sweet.
In a change from my usual Green Tea, I plumped for English Breakfast. You get a teapot with a diffuser and an egg timer and you have to take the diffuser out when your egg timer (all of which vary depending on the tea you have) runs out. It’s a bit of a faff to be honest and I’d be happy without the egg timer, but I’m a simple girl.
So, my second visit to Llanerch Vineyard was second time lucky. The vineyard looked beautiful, the selection of savouries and pastries was excellent and plentiful, and everything was beautifully presented.
Has the Vineyard’s afternoon tea offering changed in the last year? I honestly don’t know. But having heard from so many sources how great afternoon tea at the Vineyard is, I can finally, and honestly agree.