To work as a journalist can have its rewards. As part of the research on afternoon tea for an article I was writing for Aire (Aeromexico’s in-flight magazine), I kindly received the invitation of The Goring to enjoy their awarded menu of British classics accompanied by a perfectly brewed cuppa.
The story of afternoon is the story of Anna, the peckish 7th Duchess of Bedford who, back in the 19th century, started filling the gap between lunch and dinner with some sweets and savouries and a cup of tea. This was approved by Queen Victoria, her very Royal friend, and become a trend between high class Brits.
The Goring has a similar interesting history. It opened in 1910 and is one of the few 5 star family-run hotels left in the city. Linked to the British Royal Family since its very beginning, its elegance, timeless and classic savoir-faire makes you feel like James Bond, Mr Darcy or the Queen herself could appear any minute.
I was kindly greeted by their Guest Relations Manager, who taught me the right way of doing things: eat your savouries first, proceed with the scones and finish off with the sweets. About the milk first or not question, well, it depends on the china: 200 years ago it was as thin and delicate as it ever was, so milk would go first to avoid boiling water crackling its delicate surface.
Their china is bespoke and unique to The Goring. The weight of tea pots, plates and cups feels right, and it definitely adds to the experience the same way the atmosphere does.
Afternoon tea is part of the slow food movement: you can take it easy my friends, as no one will rush you to leave. As someone who has lived in London for four years, a new door to excellence has been opened. It has maybe even created an addiction for finger sandwiches and beautiful butter scones. I shall repeat.