Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Afternoon Tea at The Alverton

Alverton Cakes

Afternoon tea is one of my absolute favourite things. For me, there are few activities that are as indulgent, sociable and relaxing as this very British institution; whether it be a tea party in the house, sitting in a friend’s garden, visiting a café or tea rooms or upping the anti at a luxury hotel such as The Alverton, the only 4 star hotel in Truro.

When I was a child, we lived for a few months with a friend of my mother’s who was renowned for her elaborate high teas, which she made for us all every weekend. There were sandwiches, cakes, tarts and the piece de resistance, Yorkshire puddings served with jam and clotted cream – no scones for Glenys. She later opened a very popular tea shop on Dartmoor, which I so wish was still in existence. I’m sure it was her teas that set me up for my love of baking.

The Alverton

It wasn’t until my early 20s that I had my first afternoon tea at an exclusive London hotel – The Ritz, no less – where I’d gone with friends to celebrate my birthday. It’s hard to express how excited I was at the prospect. Later a group of us celebrated our graduation with afternoon tea at The Grosvenor, which was even more sumptuous than the Ritz. Afternoon tea has never ceased to be a real treat and something to look forward to.

Luckily, afternoon tea has become increasingly popular outside London and it’s now easier to find hotels and other venues that put on a good spread. In honour of National Cream Tea Day, last week, I was invited for the Ultimate Afternoon Tea at The Alverton. The Alverton is a beautiful old manor built in 1830. It became a convent in 1876 with a large chapel added for the purpose.  In 1984, the manor became too big for the dwindling number of nuns and it was converted into a hotel. The building is grade II listed and boasts sandstone walls, mullioned windows and a Cornish Delebole slate roof. It also has an extensive garden with some impressive specimens, as CT was pleased to point out.

Alverton Gardens

The day we visited was a pleasantly warm and sunny one, so we chose to sit outside on the terrace, although the table that had already been laid for us looked rather inviting with its crisp white napkins and window aspect. We sat under the parasol enjoying the views of the garden and chapel whilst we studied the tea menu. The teas are all Cornish ones from the nearby Tregothnan estate, which I thought a particularly apt touch. We both ended up ordering manuka tea, which is not only refreshing, but has a distinctive fragrance which took us both back to our time in New Zealand. I was quite entranced with the accompanying tea timer, which allowed us to enjoy the perfect brew.

I’d already notified the hotel that I was a vegetarian, but was rather concerned that this might have been overlooked. I needn’t have worried; when the sandwiches arrived, there were the set ones for CT and a separate plate for me. The finger sandwiches were neat, with the crusts cut off, of course. My fillings were: cream cheese and cucumber, egg mayonnaise and cheese with homemade pickle – all rather tasty.

Alverton Cream Tea

The sandwiches did not arrive on their own. We had a veritable tower of goodies, with a selection of elegant patisserie as well as homemade scones, jam and Cornish clotted cream – it was National Cream Tea Day after all. I thought the clotted cream shaped into quenelles was particularly well done and made a nice change from the usual pot. We enjoyed the cream tea part, but the cakes were truly delectable. As we didn’t want to ruin our afternoon with an unseemly squabble over who should have what, we halved the cakes so we could try them all. Luckily there were two pistachio and orange macarons so we had a whole one each. We really enjoyed the raspberry millefeuille, profiterole and chocolate brownie stack, but surprisingly we both thought the less showy pistachio and olive oil cake was the best of the lot. We were told that the chef particularly enjoyed making his patisserie and it showed.

Alverton Tea

We sipped our tea, savoured our cakes and thought “this is the life”. The staff were very attentive, coming out regularly to check on our welfare and whether we needed a top up for our brew, which we did – twice. It was a relaxing and very enjoyable afternoon and I have a sneaking suspicion we will be back. I did think, as it was the strawberry season and we grow some most delicious strawberries in Cornwall, that there might have been one or two accompanying the scones, but that’s a minor quibble. Tea is served from 3-5pm seven days a week. At £15, the full afternoon tea is reasonably priced. A glass of prosecco or champagne can be added for an additional £5.50 or £10.50 respectively.

Thanks to The Alverton for inviting me to partake of afternoon tea. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.

Comments

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      29th June 2015

      Haha Katy, don’t tell me you don’t have some good places to go to near you 😉

    • Leave a Reply

      Rachel
      1st July 2015

      I love Afternoon Tea – its such a treat! It looks lovely and those scones – wow!

      • Leave a Reply

        Choclette
        1st July 2015

        It’s probably just as well afternoon tea venues are few and far between around my bit of Cornwall Rachel, or I might partake rather more often than I should 😉

  1. Leave a Reply

    Dom
    29th June 2015

    oh yes, afternoon tea at every stop on a British holiday!… my favourite pastime! A gorgeous review and look at all that stunning clotted cream!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      29th June 2015

      Clotted cream Dom? Now you’re talking. They were very generous with it, which is not always the case at some cream tea stops we’ve tried.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      29th June 2015

      It is a lovely setting Dannii. I’d never seen those timers before and was very impressed.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Frugal queen
    29th June 2015

    Know any where I can get a gluten free afternoon tea? Being coeliac I have to be careful not to get cross contamination, I’ve contacted lots of places and none yet do a fully gluten free afternoon tea

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      29th June 2015

      It’s not something I’ve ever asked about, but I’m rather surprised in this day and age that there aren’t a few places that cater for it. There is the Waymarker, but it’s not exactly close. I’ll let you know if I come across anywhere else.

    • Leave a Reply

      The Waymarker
      28th March 2016

      Hello frugal queen
      we offer our gluten free scones all year in sweet or savoury and on request can have g.free bread to serve the afternoon tea sandwiches
      I hope to see you soon

  3. Leave a Reply

    Frugal queen
    29th June 2015

    Thanks, coeliacs are 1:100, shame we can’t eat out more often, I often sit and watch DB eat and I don’t have anything

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      29th June 2015

      Oh no, that’s no fun at all. I’m really surprised. I certainly see gluten free cake in most places I go to. You need to start making a fuss, the more who demand gluten free, the more there will be on offer. Cafe Fleur in Liskeard usually have gluten free cake on offer, but I’m guessing that’s a bit too close to home.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Sarojini
    30th June 2015

    Mm! I love high tea, but only ever had it out once, at the Adelphi in Liverpool many years ago when I was a student. I love making vegan versions this time of year though; scones, jam and coconut whipped cream being top of my list!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th June 2015

      What a good idea Sarojini. I still haven’t tried coconut whipped cream, but I’ve been meaning to do so for ages and really mustn’t leave it much longer.

  5. Leave a Reply

    manu
    30th June 2015

    OMG everything looks delicios!!!
    I’m goign to UK in August, hope I will have an afternoon tea!
    xox

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th June 2015

      Oh do try for afternoon tea Manu – it’s so quintessentially British.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Ness
    30th June 2015

    How absolutely divine! Looks a beautiful setting for afternoon tea as well.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th June 2015

      Thanks Ness, it really is a lovely place for afternoon tea – tranquil with beautiful views.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Glamorous Glutton
    30th June 2015

    I love afternoon tea too and this one looks superb. It’s always a treat to find somewhere nearby to enjoy a wonderful summer afternoon and a perfect tea. GG

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th June 2015

      Thanks GG. It would have been even better if it was a bit closer, but at least it was in Cornwall 😉

  8. Leave a Reply

    Claire @foodiequine
    30th June 2015

    Lovely! I’m very jealous of the clotted cream. We never get it up here. Hope to sample some when I’m down your way in September.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th June 2015

      Oh that’s an absolute must Claire. Have you decided where you’re going to stay yet?

  9. Leave a Reply

    Janie
    1st July 2015

    What a lovely day out, and a proper Cornish one at that!
    Janie x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      1st July 2015

      It was a lovely afternoon Janie – so relaxing and just what was needed to revive our flagging energy.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      1st July 2015

      Surely, in this day and age, there is such a thing as a vegan afternoon tea Jac, even if you have to alert in advance.

  10. Leave a Reply

    Laura @ KneadWhine
    1st July 2015

    I love afternoon tea – it was one of the things that I craved massively when I was pregnant – I reckon I got through a bushel of scones. These look lovely – uneven looking scones with perfectly neat sandwiches.

    I’m a huge fan of pistachio too so I think that those cakes and macarons would put me in absolutely heaven.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      2nd July 2015

      Haha Laura, I’ve not heard of scone craving in pregnancy before – it could have been a lot worse. I’m with you on the pistachio, which I guess is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much 🙂

  11. Leave a Reply

    Sarah
    1st July 2015

    There is just something wonderful about afternoon tea! The Alverton looks beautiful and the food sounds perfect. Dying for a cuppa now, even though it’s hot here! Hehe.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      2nd July 2015

      Not sure if it’s one of those urban foodie myths or not Sarah, but I understand that hot tea is meant to cool you down!?!

  12. Leave a Reply

    My Life As A Mummy
    2nd July 2015

    I have never heard of Jam and cream in Yorkshire puddings. However I always stuff lots of cranberry sauce in my YP’s for Roasts so I suppose their isn’t much difference really.

    I have never been to an afternoon tea before. I think because we are a world heritage city, it’s just too expensive! I think £15 is a really good price, and the selection you received was wonderful!

    Laura x x x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      3rd July 2015

      Ooh cranberry sauce in YPs, what an excellent idea Stella. It sounds as though you live somewhere rather beautiful, so maybe that is some compensation for expensive cream teas.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Serena
    2nd July 2015

    I’m a big fan of afternoon tea! Those scones look lovely 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      3rd July 2015

      There is something really indulgent about afternoon tea that makes it particularly appealing.

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