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Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Way back in the less Christmasy month of September, I attended an afternoon tea in London so full of Christmas carols, festive treats, and holiday spirit that I almost wanted to wish away the months of October and November so that December could get here that much quicker! It’s been a whole year since I attended my first of these tea-time gatherings of talented bloggers, and each time I come back for another, the experience gets bigger and better.

For this tea, we had the pleasure of previewing Christmas afternoon tea at the Conrad London St James Hotel before its official release in November. Calling it their Christmas Snow Scene tea, from the Christmas spice scones and meringue snowmen to the harpist in the corner playing Christmas carols, the Conrad London St James thought of everything to make sure our Christmas afternoon tea was merry and bright!

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Emmeline’s Lounge

Whisked away to a private room inside Emmeline’s Lounge as soon as we entered the hotel, the first thing I noticed right away was how sleek and modern the hotel looks. Our private room was subtly luxurious, relying on pops of color from strategically placed vases of flowers to brighten the space. We were seated on plush sofas and offered a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne (or an elderflower spritzer for those of us not drinking) as we perused the tea menu.

In a move that only someone who has had previous experience working with bloggers would know to do, Zoe, the Conrad’s pastry chef who designed this themed tea, had assembled a staged version of what we were all about to enjoy so that we could take our photos beforehand and then simply sit back and enjoy the tea later. Genius idea, really, because once our tiers of food were brought out to us, none of us wanted to waste a second before digging in!

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea

Distracted by the tempting Christmas sweets when we were photographing the staged presentation, I didn’t notice until tiers of food began being delivered to our tables that there was something different about this tea – an extra course! All of the afternoon teas I’ve attended in the past consisted of only three courses – the sandwiches, the scones, and the sweets. For our Christmas Snow Scene tea, we received an additional savory course, and it ended up being my favorite.

Unsure of where to begin, with the extra course throwing me off, I decided to try out the sandwiches first – smoked salmon and lemon crème fraîche, beetroot and spinach, and cured gammon and mustard. Surprised by the tastiness of the beetroot sandwich, and not a bit by the smoked salmon (it’s always my favorite), I deemed the first two winners. The dry gammon and mustard, however, was not. I wish I’d traded mine for another salmon, instead!

The second course of savory dishes featured a brussels sprout salad, turkey ballotine, and a flaky venison bite. Once again, there were two clear frontrunners and one I wish had been left off the table, although, this time, the fault was not that of the chef. Never a fan of brussels-sprout-anything, I almost skipped tasting this entirely, but given the need for a review, I gave it a go…and regretted it. The mixture of the creamed brussels sprouts with goat cheese was not something I’d want to try again. However, followed by the delicious venison bite and turkey ballotine, this course quickly redeemed itself. I found myself wishing for full portions of those instead of tiny afternoon tea nibbles.

My usual favorite course, the scones, pretty much had to be dismissed this time around because I had my eye on those holiday sweets instead. (Sometimes I really wish I had a stomach the size of a competitive eater.) Tempting as the Christmas spice scones and orange and cranberry scones looked, I only tried half of a Christmas spice scone topped with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam and it easily earned my stamp of approval. I skipped the blackberry curd, but would have tried it if I’d had room for the other half of my scone.

And finally, the Christmas treats. Everything I tasted was delicious – the white forest yule log, the meringue snowman, the Christmas postcard marshmallows, and especially the fluffy snowflake macaroons. I wasn’t able to try the winter berry Christmas tree, the edible snow, or the chocolate orange Battenburg present because there simply wasn’t an ounce of space left in my stomach after all of this good food. If you plan to have tea here, make sure you go exceptionally hungry!

As for the tea itself, the often ironically overlooked aspect of afternoon tea, I chose peppermint, like usual, and was given my own silver pot that lasted me through the end of the tea.

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Sent away with an extra box of macarons, I can’t say enough for the kind and attentive service provided by everyone at the Conrad London St James Hotel, from the man who greeted me at the front door to the chefs who prepared our delicious meal. As far as nontraditional gift giving goes, a Christmas afternoon tea experience here would make an excellent gift or special treat for someone you love. Or yourself! The Christmas Snow Scene afternoon tea will only be available until Christmas Eve, so if you plan to go, best to make your bookings for Emmeline’s Lounge soon!

Conrad London St James Hotel: Website
Address: 22-28 Broadway, London SW1H 0BH

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Christmas Afternoon Tea At The Conrad London St James Hotel

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Rachel G
    December 15, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    I wouldn’t have even known how many courses an afternoon tea ought to have! The food looks lovely, and sounds like it passed the taste-test, too!

  • Reply
    Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    December 15, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    I was so gutted to miss this tea – it looks utterly scrumptious, and just perfect for getting all festive with!

  • Reply
    Katrin
    December 15, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Everything looks so lovely! Very cute. I love tea a lot. :) Would love to go to an afternoon tea! I think a lot of people do not like brussel sprouts very much. Personally I love them but I can understand that they are not for everybody.

  • Reply
    mark a.
    December 15, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    very cool post!

  • Reply
    Jenn Sie
    December 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    I didn’t get to go to the event, but I went at the beginning of December. It was amazing. Free-flowing champagne. It was one of the better afternoon teas I’ve had and everything tasted nice.

  • Reply
    Robert
    December 15, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    I’ve never been to any of these very talented bloggers tea-time gatherings (guess I’m not eligible! :( lol) but you’re so right, they definitely seem to get bigger & better every time. The food always looks so delicious & the settings always beautiful. I need to up my game so that I’m invited to the next one! lol x

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      December 18, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      Of course you’re welcome to come! Consider this your invite! It’s even possible you won’t be the only guy. There was a male blogger who came to this tea and sat next to me. No one made him feel weird for being the only guy, so come along next time. Want me to tell you when I hear news of the next date/location?

  • Reply
    Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    December 15, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    I spy my purple head! I loved the beetroot sandwich too, and I almost passed on them because I usually hate beetroot.

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      December 18, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      You stick out from the crowd pretty well, Dannielle! :)

  • Reply
    Connie Weiss
    December 16, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    What a lovely spread!! I recommend you bring a tupperware in your handbag next time.

  • Reply
    Sand in my Suitcase
    December 16, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Oh, this looks like the queen of all teas to celebrate the upcoming holidays! Champagne, smoked salmon, scones – and tea, of course. Merry Christmas to you and have a great holiday :-).

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      December 18, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      This was definitely one of the better ones I’ve been to! All of the food was so carefully put together – I could have eaten more if I had a bigger stomach! A very happy Christmas to you as well!

  • Reply
    rorybore
    December 17, 2014 at 5:06 AM

    why doesn’t anything like this happen to me? I need to move out of my small town – there’s just nothing here. I wonder how the hubby feels about London?? LOL What an amazingly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. You really needed someone like me there – I can eat it all. ;)

  • Reply
    Miles of Happiness
    December 18, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Great article! I use to go there every winter, but this year I’m stuck in Hong Kong… It’s nice to see yr pics!

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