Gemma is a local blogger who runs both Fat Frocks and Where Are My Knees, which have been nominated for various awards. Gemma also works as a senior library assistant and studied History at Cardiff University. Find out more about what Gemma thought of the Celtic Manor Afternoon Tea Masterclass
After having such a lovely time at the Celtic Manor sampling their Festive Afternoon Tea last year I was really looking forward to attending a live cookery demonstration with the pastry chef Karl. It was billed as 'An unmissable treat for any budding chef or food lover, join our talented Resort chefs for a series of gourmet cookery demonstrations with a difference'. We were greeted with and tea and coffee reception in The Olive Tree restaurant before heading in to see Karl and his team create some wonderful afternoon tea treats.
Karl showed our intimate group how to make brandy snaps, carrot cake cupcakes and delicate lemon curd tartlets and we got to sample his creations. I took my recipe card home as I'm hoping to try some of these out in my own kitchen. The brandy snaps were so easy to make (or at least they made it look that way) but are really eye catching so they will be a welcome addition to my repertoire.
Karl and his team are so talented, look how neat all of those sweet treats are! I love the little detail of the carrot on top of the cake and all the delicate layers and different colours in the cake on the right. Once Karl had answered a few audience questions at the end of the demonstration we were served a refreshing rose infused gin before heading into the garden room for the main event, Winter Afternoon Tea.
I made sure I didn't eat a large breakfast before I went because we were served roasted carrot soup with paprika, rosemary and savory oil a tasting spoon with beetroot, Pant-Ysgawn goat’s cheese and Goetre Farm pear chutney, a west coast crab brioche roll and kati roll with spiced chicken, lime, onion seeds and coriander yogurt.
We were then served a three tier stand with a finger sandwich selection, raisin and pecan caramel tartlet Cappuccino cream, Celtic shortbread and a white chocolate, orange and toasted oat blondie.
The top tier of the stand was my favourite with the lemon and poppy seed cornets with crushed honeycomb looking and tasting great.The Caldey Island chocolate bar with salted dulce de leche was the highlight of the afternoon tea for me, superb.
When I thought we were all finished a basket of warm freshly baked scones were brought out. They had a hint of apricot and cinnamon and we served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve. We simply couldn't fit these in so we took these home in a box with some of the other leftovers to enjoy the next day.
With the Winter Afternoon Tea costing £24 per person (Monday – Friday) and £32 per person (Saturday & Sunday) I think the Masterclass was good value at £40 as you also got to enjoy a coffee and biscuit reception, the baking tips from the head pastry chef and a lovely rose infused gin for only a little more.
The Spring Afternoon Tea is launched in early March and I know I'll be booking a table to enjoy the delicious hand-made cakes, delicate pastries, freshly baked rosewater and vanilla scones that will be on offer.
Find out more: www.celtic-manor.com
Gemma's Blog: www.fatfrocks.com