Report by Sarah Carr
Last week was Afternoon Tea Week and we celebrated in style on the Countess of York, here at the National Railway Museum, with free tea and cake samples, tours of the Countess and talking all things afternoon tea.
The Countess of York is a beautifully restored 1956 Pullman-style carriage with a fascinating history. It’s had a varied life having been used by the postal service to transport mail, Bulmers Cider to move bottles around the country, and has even carried passengers up to Gleneagles golf course as part of the Orient Express line. It now sits in our South Gardens, between Great Hall and Station Hall, and has been converted into a Victorian style dining car, serving afternoon tea daily.
We want to keep spreading the word about Countess of York, so on Monday we took some of our cakes and macaroons to York Station to show people what they’re missing. We came across some avid Countess fans and people who’d never heard of us alike, but they all agreed that we serve delicious cake! There were also plenty of compliments for our stunning tea service that we had on display on the stand.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we set up a tea tasting table on the sunny veranda of the Countess of York, with samples of Pure Ceylon, Imperial Gunpowder Green Tea and China Rose Petal for people to try. With the weather on our side, people came to explore these exotic teas, chat about their favourite types of tea and take a tour of the Countess. Our tea expert Caty was on hand to tell visitors about the history of afternoon tea and give advice on pairing your tea with your meal. Here are some of her hints and tips:
- Your cup of tea should always have a clear colour and refreshing taste.
- Black tea should never be made with boiling water, your water should be around 90⁰c.
- When making tea you should never re-boil a kettle as the minerals will affect the taste.
- We often choose wines to go with our food – you can do exactly the same with tea.
- A rich tea like Assam will compliment stronger flavours like our chargrilled chicken with basil pesto finger sandwiches.
- The aromatic flavour of Ceylon tea is a great choice for our honey roast ham with English mustard sandwiches.
- Darjeeling has a subtle flavour that goes perfectly with cream desserts like our raspberry cream éclairs dipped in white chocolate.
- Green teas have a fresh and light taste that go perfectly with fruit, try our Imperial Gunpowder Green Tea with one of our fresh strawberry tarts.
- Earl Grey tea goes wonderfully with light sweet cakes like our lemon and blueberry cake.
- If you’re looking for just one a tea to compliment everything on our Summer Afternoon Tea menu we would suggest Afternoon Darjeeling as a great all-rounder.
These Afternoon Tea Week activities perfectly showcased our renowned afternoon tea, served daily between 12-4. We serve the three teas we used in the tasting, those mentioned above and many more, along with delicious finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. Word is getting out there, but don’t just take tripadvisor’s word for it, come and try for yourself.
To book your own afternoon tea experience on board call 01904 686295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org