Luxury High Tea at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny, with tea pairing by the East India Company
What could be better in the summer than high tea out in the countryside in a luxury hotel in Abergavenny, South Wales? I do enjoy an afternoon tea and I was excited by the prospect of visiting Abergavenny, somewhere I had never been before, despite numerous walking trips in Wales.
I travelled by train from London Paddington with Great Western Railway, in the comfort of First Class, to Newport a reasonable 2-hour journey from London, with a short onward journey to Abergavenny.
The Angel Hotel is situated in the centre of Abergavenny and has been beautifully renovated. High tea was held under parasols on the terrace, the perfect location on a warm, sunny, summers day.
On arrival, we were treated to a refreshing cocktail made with gin from the East India Company together with lemon juice, prosecco and crème de cassis. Very welcome indeed after the journey from London to Abergavenny.
We were very fortunate to have the Tea Master, Lalith Lenodora, from the East India Company at the event. With over 30 years of experience in the tea industry, he provided a fascinating insight into how tea came about and explained some of the differences between the types of tea. I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of tea but was amazed at how much research and planning go into the different blends.
We started with sandwiches paired with Royal Flush tea from Sri Lanka; this smooth black tea is made from leaves harvested from bushes propagated from the bush planted by HRH Prince Philip in 1954. It perfectly complemented the freshly made sandwiches, poached and smoked salmon with lemon and dill, cream cheese and cucumber, ham and whole grain mustard, egg and cress.
The savoury course followed, paired with Da Hong Pao tea from China; a high quality, dark, oolong tea. This course was made up of a delicious selection of small savouries; spinach and ricotta parcels, Coronation chicken tarts, sausage rolls, bacon onion and cheese quiche and Feta cheese, sundried tomato and pesto palmiers.
To cleanse our palates we were offered a glass of Dragon Well Lung Ching from China, iced with fresh mint and truly refreshing.
The cakes followed, a stunning selection of dainty pastries, accompanied by Darjeeling First Flush 2018 from India a smooth and golden, soft, aromatic tea. Raspberry cheesecake, mini Bakewell tarts, chocolate and nut baskets, custard slices, small lemon and poppy seed fairy cakes, coffee and walnut cake slices and lemon and raspberry tarts.
We were then treated to tiny dishes of Eton Mess with black vanilla tea from Sri Lanka, one of my favourites as it was smooth with a definite taste of vanilla.
Any tea is not complete without scones – our final course. I grew up in Cornwall so I’m very fond of scones and appreciate a good one. These were fresh and perfectly made, accompanied with strawberry jam and, of course, clotted cream. To accompany the scones, a special cocktail developed by the East India Company; Gin with sugar syrup, ginger wine and angostura bitters.
I’m a fan of a good afternoon tea and this one certainly hit the mark, a lovely location, delicious food and the chance to taste some very special tea. The tea was served on delicate porcelain – just right for a special occasion.
I stayed overnight at the Angel Hotel in a large and spacious and impressive room with a very comfortable bed, a sofa, tea and coffee making facilities and a clean and modern bathroom with toilet, bath and overhead shower and sink. There were complimentary toiletries and large soft towels.
Having never been to Abergavenny, I took the chance to walk off some of that splendid tea with a visit to the castle, a short walk from the hotel. It was early evening and a perfect time to stroll around the grounds and appreciate the view of the castle and the surrounding hills.
After a good nights’ sleep, I had breakfast before heading off to the station to catch my train back to London. I really enjoyed the trip to Abergavenny, the High Tea was excellent, the Angel hotel was comfortable and the tea sampling with notes was a definite highlight of the trip.
We were guests at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny – a hotel which has received numerous awards and accolades for its afternoon tea.
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The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny www.angelabergavenny.com
Monday – Friday; Afternoon Tea and High Tea are served in the Wedgewood room from 2.00pm – 4.00pm.
Saturday & Sunday; High Tea only (£30.00 per person); served in the Wedgewood room from 1.00pm – 5.00pm.
For reservations, book online or contact reservations on 01873 857121.
Pairing teas and London Dry Gin were provided by The East India Company.
Visit www.theeastindiacompany.com for more information about their stores in Covent Garden and Mayfair, other stockists and mail order.
Travel to Wales from London Paddington was with GWR (Great Western Railway), www.gwr.com.