Being British, we’ve had more than our fair share of afternoon teas. Hot scones, sticky jam, clotted cream, delicate finger sandwiches and medleys of mini cakes, have long-played a familiar role in our Sunday afternoons. It’s an inherently British way to spend a weekend afternoon and we’re big fans.
However, every now and again, even a British institution like afternoon tea can do with a little refresh. And The Chesterfield in Mayfair have done just that. All hail the Charlie and the Chesterfield Afternoon Tea: an afternoon tea embracing all things Willy Wonka. Wow.
Had this been around in 1997 when we were children, we would have died and gone to heaven. Fortunately, we haven’t grown up much since then and so when The Chesterfield kindly invited us to sample the tea, we were there like a shot; ready to relive one of our favourite childhood stories through the medium of food.
After two meetings and a photoshoot in London, we were exhausted. The dark skies had finally given in to rain and we ran along the busy streets of Mayfair, trying as hard as we could not to get completely soaked. We were beginning to wish we could go home to bed.
Any yearnings for pyjamas and a duvet, however, instantly evaporated as we stepped into The Chesterfield. Inside, the lovely staff took our wet coats and bags and led us through to the restaurant, filled with a sea of colourful cakes, champagne and real life Willy Wonka bars! Heaven.
Now wide awake and no longer aware of our damp clothes and hair, we were sat down and given a menu each to select the tea that would accompany the delicious treats. Immediately, we both spotted the chocolate tea (two cacao-based teas blended together to create a delicate chocolate taste) and ordered a teapot each, alongside a glass of pink champagne. This was fancy. Whilst we waited for the exotic tea to arrive we were both given a mini glass bottle of popping candy fizz, complete with colourful straws. It was delicious and very Willy Wonka.
I was a little worried the chocolate tea would be sickly but after taking the first few sips, we both found it surprisingly refreshing. We were also reassured that we could change teas at any time, selecting from the vast selection on the menu. Settling back in our chairs, feeling the pink champagne go straight to our now rosy cheeks, we both agreed this was the perfect way to end a busy day.
We had to contain our excitement as the afternoon tea was brought to our table; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something so beautiful. Delicate sandwiches sat at the bottom, followed by chocolate chip (and still warm) scones and strawberry jam, and the pièce de résistance: cakes.
We’re a lover of anything cake-based, but the cakes and pastries delicately placed on gold and silver tickets in front of us were something special. We had a lemon popping candy cake; a mini bubble gum flavoured eclair; a blueberry macaron; a mini fruit tartlet, a white chocolate egg; a cupcake with white chocolate mushrooms and a real life Willy Wonka bar. Hallelujah! And the best part? It was all unlimited. That’s right: extra refills whenever our bulging bellies allowed it.
The sandwiches were delicious and I got caught up eating them for quite some time, re-ordering several rounds, before realising I had another two levels to go. Moving onto the warm chocolate chip scones, I had to ask my metabolism to shift a gear as I bit into their fluffy base, slavered with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The vague memories of ordering myself to eat healthy before my wedding dress fitting were slowly forgotten and I didn’t care, not one bit. That’s what spanx are for anyway.
With eyes bigger than our stomachs, we were starting to struggle with finishing the beautiful cakes in front of us and a slight panic was setting in. It was, essentially, a sin to let these beautiful little creations go to waste. Fortunately, The Chesterfield had it covered and no sooner had we asked if we could take them away, then out appeared two perfectly sized doggie bags (actually little red boxes) filled with yet another round of cakes.
As we were leaving the restaurant we were met with one final treat: our chance to pick our very own Willy Wonka golden envelope. What’s in it? We don’t know – we’ve been told only to open it when we return to the hotel. If there’s any chance it could hold a ticket for another round of Charlie and the Chesterfield Afternoon Tea, we’ll be back very soon!
Thank you to The Chesterfield for inviting us to sample your Afternoon Tea, we had a brilliant afternoon.