Yesterday was another good day at the office; or more correctly, not at the office. At The Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey. For Afternoon Tea. Oooooooooh, I hear you cry. How swish! And you’d be right.
Another local(ish) place I’ve never made it to before, the drive from York was glorious – incredible Dales scenery, tummy-dropping dips, two separate rain storms and plenty of time to sing along to Taylor Swift.
I arrived a bit earlier than my colleague so there was plenty of time to potter around and take some snaps. I’ll grant you that from the outside, the hotel doesn’t look super duper impressive, and it was quite grey at that point, but inside, I was enchanted. It plays to the whole rustic theme beautifully but then throws in expertly chosen contemporary elements, such as the gorgeous black flocked wallpaper in a cosy little sitting area – who doesn’t love velvet dachshunds?
We were booked into the conservatory area for our Devonshire Fizz Afternoon Tea, and by then the sun had come out and was streaming through the windows. Mr P (that’s Poppa P, except no one would call him that…) would have approved of the pristine white tablecloths with matching napkins, while the polished silverware would have made his little heart sing.
Within moments, two flutes of Laurent Perrier NV were popped in front of us. What a delight. Our lovely waiter offered us a selection of tea and coffee. I went for peppermint as I felt it might somehow counteract the insane amount of sugar that I was about to consume. (Update: it didn’t, but it was still tasty.)
Then our cake stand arrived. Now, I’ve had Afternoon Tea before. Don’t sound all surprised, guys. I know I’m usually a lettuce-munching exercise fiend (cough), but wowwwwwwweeeeeeee. Not your traditional fancy silver cake stand, instead, we were presented with a modern right-angled jobbie with three tiers of goodness.
First up – individual pots of strawberry and custard, blueberry and lemon shortbread, chocolate brownies, and raspberry and white chocolate macaroons.
I could happily have pounced on them, but the grown up in me forced me to look one tier down to the sandwiches – dainty fingers of brown and white bread with egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, cucumber, cheese, chicken, and ham. They probably have really fancy names like Yorkshire’s finest Ham from Hand Reared, Bottle Fed, Christened in a Church, and Read Bedtime Stories, Local, Organic Pigs; ditto with the other fillings, although how you hand rear cheese is beyond me… in fact, scratch that, I don’t want to know. Shudder. Whatever their official titles, the sandwiches were tasty, alright? But once they were finished, that meant I could move on to the good stuff.
All of tier number one disappeared into my mouth. And I loved every single mouthful. Every. Single. Mouthful. Although would it have killed them to have two brownies EACH?…
Finally, the cream tea part. The scones with clotted cream and jam. Now, if you’re Cornish, you pop the jam on first, and then the cream, but we were at The Devonshire Arms, so it was cream first, and frankly, that’s the way I like it anyway. We each had two individual scones to scoff – one plain and one with raisins (or dead flies as they’re universally known). I collared a waiter to ask for more cream. Obviously.
You’d think I’d be STUFFED by now, and I admit I was filling up, but I hadn’t had lunch, and I was also kidding myself that this would be tea. Anyhoo, with the tiers in front of me depressingly empty, and the pot of clotted cream scraped out with a finger (I may or may not be joking about this. Who knows?… You know, right? You know…) I was forced to realise that there would be no more sugar coming my way.
Wiping a tear away, I luxuriated in the warm embrace of the conservatory watching the clouds skitter across the blue sky and the bushes of lavender sway in the light breeze, and then I went home to Mr T.
And here’s some more pics that didn’t fit neatly into my genius narrative…