So I went to another afternoon tea. Kind of.
The Assembly House Norwich were putting on a one evening only ‘Chocolat High Tea’, so obviously I had to go. I have spelt that right, the missing e isn’t missing. This high tea was chocolate themed to complement the movie Chocolat that would be showing after the feast, should you wish to book for an extra fee. I didn’t. I’m mostly about the tea and cake as you know. I’ve seen the film, I own it on DVD (remember DVD’s kids?!) along with every other movie starring Johnny Depp. It’s a good film.
It’s actually a good job I didn’t book the showing, after this edible chocolate dream I had a serious food coma, and comedown. Chocolate, my drug of choice. I’d have been snoring through that film.
Until attending this and doing a little research on the subject I wasn’t completely sure of the difference between ‘afternoon tea’ and ‘high tea’. It seems that the main differences are the time in which it’s eaten and the reason for. An afternoon tea was created to fill a gap between lunch and dinner, to keep hunger at bay by having something light to eat with a pot of tea. Whereas high tea was thought as something more substantial, often including warm food too. High tea was more a meal eaten in the early evening. The time of day some of us still refer to as ‘tea time’. Afternoon tea started as something more casual, served at low tables and comfy seats. Whereas high tea was more formal, sitting around tables on high backed chairs.
I think through history the lines have blurred a little and afternoon tea has also become a meal rather than ‘filler’. Mainly due to the change in lifestyles and eating habits.
Well there’s my little bit of historical context for you, let’s get on to the good stuff.
The finger sandwiches were as delicately tasty as always, smoked salmon, egg mayo and ham. Not all in one. Replenish-able, some ordered more. They were simple flavours but I think that’s a good thing considering the richness I could see coming from the top tier. The vegetarian amongst us had alternatives, one of which was hummus and olive, lucky for me she wasn’t a fan. I liked it but I have to say I don’t think the vegetarian options were quite on par with us carnivores.
We had the most delicious venison sausage roll (I don’t think I’ve eaten venison before). Sausage rolls are my guilty pleasure and this one hit the spot. it was herby and meaty with light crisp pastry. This was an added extra to the usual afternoon tea. However there didn’t seem to be a vegetarian alternative. If there was she didn’t get it.
Along with the sausage roll was a mini three cheese toastie and club brioche roll. These were the same as was served at the School Of Magic Afternoon Tea. Yum.
They brought out the scones.
As you know my afternoon tea etiquette is fairly particular, there is a wrong way to eat an afternoon tea and then there is the way I eat it. Well usually, but this decedent high tea caught me out! There were some sneaky extras in this one that meant I just had to bypass the scones altogether as I was faster filling up. They were boxed up for me to eat later. There was a bonus to this though, cheese scone for breakfast is amazing. That I could live with everyday. The afternoon tea that keeps on giving!
At first I thought we must have been given the wrong plates on our stands, there were loads of scones. At closer inspection we realised there were three scones each. Three! The usual cheese and chive that I’m totally obsessed with, your traditional fruit scone served with jam and clotted cream and then a bonus scone. There’s only ever two. At first appearance it had chocolate chunks through it. Upon later tasting we think it also had a hint of lemon. We were unsure what to top the chocolate chip scone with, some went for cream, I went for butter, others went for nothing. I think it could be rather tasty with a little chocolate sauce or lemon curd. What do you think Assembly House?
Top tier, the chocolate lovers dream.
I love a cookie, preferably gooey and not fully baked. But this one won me over to the crunchy side. It was chocolate chip and tasted a little oaty, just the right texture, crisp and crumbly. Two of these were sandwiched together with a chocolate cream, ganache type spread. (This would be nice on the scones) As you took a bite it oozed out. By far the best biscuit I have ever had, and possible the best bit of today’s high tea.
There was the usual shot glass dessert, this time a billionaires shortbread. Velvety chocolate with a sweet caramel, and crumbled up shortbread were layered and topped with cream and little gold balls. This was so rich and delicious, my only fault would be those little balls, you know the ones that nearly break your tooth? They’re the ones. It’s just personal taste, I despise the little things. The dessert though. I want that again now.
The Assembly House signature gateaux was back, this time with its well know flavours. My favourite version of it I have to say. Layers of light sponge, rich chocolate and smooth cream, with a hint of coffee. It makes an appearance at every Assembly House afternoon tea, but varies in flavour and colour depending on the theme. Remember the rainbow one for Norwich Pride?
The final dessert was a mini chocolate eclair. After all the indulgence this was a light and fluffy treat. I’m a sucker for choux pastry, give me profiteroles any day. I like it’s nothingness. The slightly chewy texture. That should sound better than it does but I hope you know what I mean!
This was definitely up there as one of my favourite afternoon teas, or high tea I should say. Mainly due to the sausage roll and cookie.
If you want to know more about wheelchair access to The Assembly House Norwich then check out my visit for their Pride Unicorn Tea.
I have also rated and detailed the access to their accessible toilet.
Unfortunately and very unlike me I don’t have anymore afternoon teas booked this year. If you have any recommendations in the Norfolk area do let me know. I’m also up for reviewing any new ones!