4 November 2014

Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Party

There are few things in this life as enjoyable as a good afternoon tea, but when I heard about an Alice in Wonderland themed 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' I was giddy about trying a very different take on a British tradition. 

Alice in Wonderland tea party

It seems I wasn't alone either and in the end there were 9 merry bloggers who met up in York to head to the rather stunning Cedar Court Grand Hotel which was to be our venue for this special tea occasion. 

York Hotel Afternoon Tea

Luckily our little bunch was the first to arrive which meant we got to spend a good ten minutes or so running round taking pictures without the confused stares of the other patrons. It was a good job too because everything looked STUNNING and there was lots to photograph! 

mad hatters tea room york

Wonderland party buffet


We had, amongst other things, spiral sandwiches, edible candles, sweet mushrooms, chocolate clocks and strawberry jelly. I could't praise the presentation more highly, everything looked wonderful and the table display had obviously been put together with great care and attention. We were all very excited by this point! 

savoury afternoon tea york alice in wonderland


Mad hatters afternoon tea york chocolate lollies

white chocolate candles


mad hatters tea york toadstools


cute jelly pots


tea pot york cedar grand

alice in wonderland i'm late clock

Once the room filled up a bit, it seemed best to take to our seats and let other people have a look in. We got all cosy at our big round table where we were served out choice of tea or coffee - but it was the adorable little milk churn jugs that made me smile most - how sweet are they?! 

mini milk churn

We were also presented with a little 'drink me' bottle of a pineapple ad yogurt drink - this was really tasty and again beautifully presented in these cute little bottles (though seems a missed opportunity for a drink me label?)

Alice in wonderland afternoon tea menu

We also had a plate of fresh warm scones delivered to the table. It seemed a little strange to have these before the rest of the food but they were so lovely that I couldn't resist tucking in straight away while they were still warm! Our large table was initially only provided with a small blob of clotted cream (about the amount I'd put on one scone for myself!) between us all - the staff very kindly brought some more out when requested but I'd already demolished mine by that point - serves me right for being so impatient! It was still gorgeous with just butter and jam though, very possibly my favourite part of the afternoon tea.

scones butter jam basket

Then it was time to attack the buffet! I'll admit I think we were all a little ... surprised by the fact our £33 afternoon tea was a grab-it-while-you-can free-for-all! I managed to get one of everything and head back to the table with my sugary stash. It did seem to detract a little from the 'calm and civilised' traditional afternoon tea vibe but I suppose this was always going to be different from that anyway and as you know at the end of the day I'm usually very happy to have cake in my possession! 

But this is where it gets a bit tricky. I have a high sugar tolerance. I LOVE sugar, I think it's awesome - so this next sentence is not something I say lightly. It was all far too sweet. I don't know if it was the relative lack of savoury options to balance out the sweet or someone just got carried away when measuring out the sugar in the kitchen but the whole thing just didn't work out very well. I think I was the only one on the table to actually finish everything, and that was more a point of principle as I definitely stopped enjoying it somewhere early on along the line (a shame as individually most of the items were very good).

jam pot mushroom

I think the Mad Hatters Tea Party at Cedar Grand Hotel has great potential to be a truly brilliant afternoon treat but it's just not quite right for me. A few little tweaks, a couple of adjustments and it could be much better and be truly worthy of that significant £33 price tag. As it is, I'm glad I went - for the experience, for the company, for the awesome presentation and attention to detail in so many respects - but I wouldn't be in a great rush to do it again. 

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