13 November 2015

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at The Grand, York

The great city of York is known for many things - not least being it's long and proud association with chocolate. Terry's chocolate orange and the humble Kit-Kat are among the well loved treats that owe their existence to the city, and if you visit on the right day the streets of York are still filled with the wonderful aroma of melted chocolate.

I'd have been excited hearing about a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea anywhere, but in York, and at the gorgeous Grand Hotel, it just seemed to fit - so of course I got myself booked in at the earliest opportunity!


My first couple of visits to The Grand for afternoon tea didn't quite live up to me (high) expectations I'll admit. We were all a little taken aback by the buffet-style set up and excess sugar at the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, and while the traditional afternoon tea was more,.. well, traditional, it was still tough going sugar-wise, and that's for someone with my sweet tooth!

This time though, I was prepared. I knew what I was letting myself in for. I'd lined my insides with bland savouries beforehand and I was ready to go!


To find our way to tea we jut had to follow the bubbles down the colourful corridor to our special tea room. Call me a simple child if you will, but this simple touch got me all giddy in itself! We were also handed these 'fizzy lifting drinks' to really get us flying!


The room, as I'd expected following my previous visits, looked marvellous. It's such a grand old place anyway, but the little details that does into dressing the room for these special tea events is really something.


Plus this time we had extra entertainment in the form of Mr Willy Wonka himself and his Oompa Loompa buddy (who'd had a tragic accident with one of the factories machines, resulting in his increased stature). These guys were grand and did an amazing job of pleasing the children in particular (though us adults certainly weren't left out!)



To kick off the feasting, we were presented with our 'three course bubblegum dinner' - remember when Violet Beauregarde had the full dinner in the form of a stick of gum, before turning into a massive blueberry? What we had was a less disasterous version of this mini-meal - a shot of yummy hot tomato soup followed by a tasty salt beef croquette finished, finished off with the most delectable tiny blueberry meringue pie!


Once that was done, it was time to hit the big buffet table! On the menu were Sundried Tomato and Cream Cheese Scones, Golden Eggs (filled with the most delicious chocolate praline mousse!), Edible Mushrooms, Oompa Loompa Cupcakes, Grand Chocolate Bars, White Chocolate and Raspberry Pannacotta,...



.... and at the middle of it all, a huge chocolate waterfall, with piles of marshmallows, brownies and fruit to coat in the chocolatey goodness!


One of the concerns with this buffet style of afternoon tea is portion management.... you don't want to greedily pie your plate high on the first time round of things you might not eat, but you don't want to miss out on anything either. This was one of our worries at the similar Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea here if I remember and something that went through my mind again on this occasion on observing some kid load up on alllll the remaining marshmallows before I'd gotten to them. As I was silently cursing the child (I'm a terrible person!), I saw a fresh pile of marshmallows being delivered to the table! Hurrah!


In fact, the table was toped up pretty regularly throughout the afternoon, so there was no need to panic (as if I hadn't already had enough food - told you I'm a terrible person!) and no need for anyone to not get to try anything they wanted! The other welcome addition to the table was fresh fruit - strawberries and pineapple - that was meant for the chocolate fountain but if you managed to resist the extra chocolate made a refreshing and palette-cleansing break from all the gooey stuff!


I don't know if it was the above factors, the change in my expectations, or the fact that my company on this occasion was not as tea-fussy as my fellow bloggers and was having a grand time - but whatever it was, this was by far and away my best experience at The Grand.  I knew it had the potential to be this good, and I'm glad I persevered with it!


The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea is available on the second Sunday of every month for £35 per adult (it's steep for sure but it's quite the experience!) It does need to be booked and paid for in advance though, and you can find the details on how to do that here. Now I can't wait to see what their Festive Afternoon Tea looks like!

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