Food & Tea
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Tea at the Palace: Blenheim

A few weeks ago I went with my family to visit Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, and was treated to Afternoon Tea in The Orangery. There was a lot of walking involved so the treat was well worth waiting for after the walk in the grounds before tea!

This grandiose palace has the distinction of being the only historic house in Britain to be named a World Heritage Site.

The tickets we purchased allowed us to upgrade to an Annual Pass at no charge, excellent value if you live within an hour or so of Blenheim Palace. The birthplace of Winston Churchill, this palace is well worth a visit to discover the history behind the Dukes of Marlborough and Churchill himself. The paintings and wall murals in the state rooms are magnificent, as are the furnishings. The formal gardens are beautiful with several water features and fountains with lots of statues.

I loved the display of wigs!!

The gardens, grounds and lake were designed by Capability Brown and the waterfall at the end of the lake is very picturesque. There are lots of scenic walks and hidden gardens to explore at Blenheim.

The Palace has recently opened up The Orangery, previously reserved for weddings and events for the likes of Michael Jackson, someone from JLS and footballer John Terry, and now available to us mere mortals where we can dine for brunch, lunch, tea and dinner like a character out of a Monty Python novel.

It’s a beautiful regal space The Orangery, itself an arched, tiled, tasteful room with beautiful views into the grounds beyond, and a great sense of occasion about the place.

“And what tea would modom like?” our impeccably dressed and mannered waitress asked as we sat down daintily for our Afternoon Tea at Blenheim. The selection of loose leaf teas caused us to make some tough decisions, Hunan Green, Upper Assam, Ginger and Lemon, or Ginseng Oolong?

The presentation of the traditional three tiers itself was magnificent – the bottom layer had delicious finger sandwiches – egg, smoked salmon, cucumber, ham, coronation chicken, all on different breads, mini cheese quiches and a fish paste blini.

The middle layer had warm scones which had lovely sticky crunchy tops and tiny pots of jam. And moist chocolate cakes to eat before moving up a tier.

But it was the top layer of the cake tier that really took the biscuit (see what I did there?) with its wide range of offerings from the pistachio macaroon to a lemon cheesecake.

And there were us thinking we would be asking for a doggie bag to take home. Not us, we finished all three layers.

As far as Afternoon Tea goes, eating in The Orangery seems about as perfect a setting as any, considering it was the Duchess of Bedford who invented afternoon tea, the Earl of Sandwich who invented a new lunch, and Earl Grey adding to our tea collection. The Duke of Marlborough must be racking his brains to come up with the next high tea offering.

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