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Dealing with a summer dilemma

By Annie Roberts

Business Times

ON a long summer’s day there is only one question that needs to be asked: “Cream or jam first?” It was a question I was only too happy to answer when taking the chance to sample afternoon tea at the Hilton in Northampton.

It is easy to understand, while piling a scone with strawberry jam and rich clotted cream, why afternoon tea with friends and families is so popular.

While others in the hotel’s spacious coffee bar were talking business the only decision I needed to take was what would be the first temptation from the hotel’s generous savoury and sweet selection.

The old adage that you eat with your eyes first really did ring true when the tea was served on an eye-catching display. Fresh pansies, which were really good enough to eat, added the finishing touch to the selection, which has been refined by the hotel’s Food and Beverage Operations Manager Adam Marriott and chef, Anisur Rahman.

The crustless finger length sandwiches on brown and white bread were first to be put to the taste test. While the ham and egg mayonnaise sandwiches were good, it was the generous smoked salmon that came in a close second to the cream cheese and cucumber.

Lashings of freshly-brewed tea was a welcome addition and we were soon on to the sweet content.

My son, Thomas, had joined me and it came as a surprise that, at 22 this was the first time he had sat down for ‘afternoon tea’. He admitted his social media feed was often swamped with photos of his female friends enjoying afternoon tea but it was not something he and his mates had ever considered.

A bite into the rich brownie topped with a strawberry might be a game changer followed by the moist carrot cake. We were at risk of a sugar overload but gamely battled on and we soon made short work of the flavour-filled macaroons. A zesty fruit compote on top of a rich mascarpone cream came next before an indulgent dark chocolate Jaffa cake with orange-flavoured caramel.

The scone was the last treat and, to avoid any dispute, the jam ALWAYS comes before the cream.

We will, I hope, be returning to put this theory to the test. To book afternoon tea at £15 a head call 01604 700666 or see the website at www.northampton.hilton.com


Adam Marriott, Food and Beverage Operations Manager with chef Anisur Rahman.

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