Holidays are over and I am back home, to a freezing house, only to be expected after a few weeks without heat. But I did at least have a lovely experience to set me off on my long, dark drive.
Afternoon tea with the ladies at Ballygarry House Hotel, was a lovely official end to my Christmas at home. I was glad to see the decorations still in place, it made the afternoon feel festive and cosy right from the entrance.
Although the hotel is undergoing some extensive and exciting renovations, The Pavilion, where the afternoon tea was served was warm and welcoming, lit by a large open fire. The décor is bright and modern and the view to the gardens and the fountain is a lovely backdrop.
And so to the main event. The company, the presentation and the food was all great. There was an unfortunate issue with the coffee machine, which was causing trouble and so freshly brewed coffee was supplemented with the instant variety. To be fair not a major inconvenience, but for a caffeine addict like myself, it was a minor disappointment.
The food was a typical three tier afternoon tea, with sandwiches, sweets and scones all in plentiful supply.
To start us off, the sandwich layer was excellent, with an interesting variety of extremely fresh offerings. There were two open sandwiches on a homemade brown bread; one a prawn in cocktail sauce and the other an excellent smoked salmon. There were also two closed sandwiches; a simple ham on white sliced bread and a more interesting dressed chicken and cucumber. All in all, a success for the savoury tier which was polished off enthusiastically.
Personally, the sweet layer was a little less to my taste, although it was so pretty, it was a real feast for the eyes. A cute lemon cream concoction served in a shot glass, was possibly not as tart as I might like and it had a cream consistency as opposed to that of a mousse, but it was nonetheless very palatable. There was a chocolate pudding with a molten soft centre, that was delicious but extremely rich and filling. Finally, there was a perfectly acceptable raspberry cheesecake, glazed and cut into little triangles.
Unexpectedly, it was the scones that were the jewel in this particular crown. They were perfect. Fresh, sweet and accompanied by real butter, good quality jam and a generous serving of cream. All good, all to be expected. However, within these morsels of loveliness lurked a surprising, and very delectable, hint of vanilla. This was new to me in a fruit scone, but my goodness it worked. I don’t remember a tastier scone. In fact, I pounced on the one that was left over, wrapped it up and whisked it off for a late evening snack.
All in all, this was a lovely experience on yet another rainy afternoon. I look forward to a return visit in the not too distant future!!!