It would be remiss of me not to attend some form of high tea while I was in the country famous for their mass consumption of the leafy hot drink. So it was highly fortunate that I was able to attend a blogger's afternoon tea at the opulent and historic Sofitel St James during my London sojourn.
Not only did we sip on a choice of beautiful teas, indulge in sweet and savoury treats, and have our fortunes told via tea leaf reader - all to the sound of a harp playing in the background - we also learnt a thing or two about the variations of tea meals.
The term 'high tea' itself, for example, actually refers to a heartier meal with more savoury goods, than sweet. It's a highly misinterpreted term often used to promote what is actually an 'afternoon tea' - a traditional selection of light sandwiches, cakes and scones served with a pot of tea. Interestingly, high tea was a term used in the past to describe what the lower class would have instead of dinner plus the height of the table from which they ate. Naturally, my favourite kind of tea experience is a 'royal tea'. It comes with champagne.
The afternoon tea (the correct term) at Sofitel St James is a delightful affair of old world charm and tradition in the very lovely Rose Lounge. As the name of tea event implies, you are treated to a choice of teas, four types of finger sandwiches (ham, cucumber, beef, salmon), freshly baked and home made scones served with Devonshire clotted cream (drool), rose scented strawberry jam and lemon curd, plus carefully crafted cakes to finish.
Dietary requirements and preferences are respectfully catered for and let me just tell you, while the gluten free sandwiches were a touch on the dry side, the gluten free scones were pure heaven. I'm still bewildered by how they could possibly be quite so good.
Selected members of the Accor Hotel family across London also offer high tea so if you're staying at an Accor, maybe enquire about their tea offering and while away an afternoon on all the good things. It would be rude not to.
Oh - and there's no need for any pointed pinkies. Major tea faux pas in the tea world, darlings, didn't you know?