A great way to spend one of these dreary winter afternoons we have ahead of us over the next few months is to get a few friends round, or even just the family, and to host an afternoon tea.
But what if you like the idea of sitting eating cucumber sandwiches and lots of cupcakes but don't really like the idea of slicing, buttering, chopping and baking? It's no problem, thanks to the wide range of eateries and bakeries in London which can bring high tea components to your door. All you need to do is get out your best china, whip a tablecloth onto the table and boil the kettle!
Here are our top picks for items to grace your high tea table.
1. Mince Pies
Meet our Mince Pies. Chef Dominique's version of the British classic is made with brandy-soaked mincemeat (spiced currents, sultanas and raisins) with hint of cider and sherry, with clementine jam in a flaky buttery crust, all dressed up as little reindeer for the holiday. #MincePies #DABLondon #DominiqueAnselBakery
Granted you wouldn't be putting mince pies on your tea table at any other time of year, but if you're hosting during the festive season, the box of five Mince Pies from Dominique Ansel is a great idea.
These are no ordinary mince pies. As well as having macerated fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and brandy in the filling, the pastry is sweet and crisp. On the top, there's a piped icing face of a reindeer, complete with antlers!
2. Coco's Ultimate Sandwich Platter
When we mentioned cucumber sandwiches earlier, we were only joking! But sandwiches can be an interesting element of any high tea - providing the savoury before you move onto the sweet. A sandwich platter gives you and your guests a mix of flavours to choose from, and will probably include fillings that you might not bother to make at home.
Coco's Ultimate Sandwich Platter from Coco di Mama includes an Italian ham and cheese baguette, a prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella on sourdough, chicken pesto baguette and a bacon and avocado wrap. The platter serves four, so there'll be plenty to go around.
3. Nuts Box of 6
Everyone loves a cupcake and it's even better if you can order an assortment of them so that your table has variety. At Lola's Cupcakes, the Nuts Box of 6 is just the job. You'll get a mix of Vegan pistachio and cherry, rocky road, chocolate and hazelnut, peanut butter and jelly, caramel macadamia nut and carrot cupcakes.
4. Red Velvet Cake
While there are no particular rules about which desserts a proper afternoon tea should include, no tea table would be complete without some kind of showstopper cake, so why not order a beauty like the 8 Inch Red Velvet cake from the Hummingbird Bakery? The vanilla sponge is a deep red, and it's covered in cream cheese frosting. It serves 10-12 people, so you might have some of this leftover for later!
With so many tempting treats that can be bought direct to your door, there's nothing stopping you from sending out those afternoon tea invites for this weekend! Make your selection now at Deliveroo!