Afternoon tea is one of those luxurious treats which, once you’ve been introduced to, will probably become somewhat of an obsession! It all started a few years back when a good friend of mine from Austria who spent many a year in Dublin, brought me to the swish Westin Hotel in Dublin city centre for some “afternoon tea”. I was intrigued indeed, but didn’t know quite what to expect!
The relaxation, the calm, the absence of any hurry, the tea served in pretty china cups and saucers, the savouries and the sweet treats; wow! Suffice is to say, I was well and truly hooked.
Since then I have been lucky enough to experience a few Afternoon Teas. In July 2012, my sister and I visited the K Club in Kildare and were treated to a beautiful array of goodies, outside, admiring the preened and beautiful gardens, in the sun, yes the sun, summer 2012 – I kid you not!
|Afternoon Tea looking out to the gardens at the K Club|
A few months later, my sisters and good friends organised the perfect hen party for me to Fota Island Resort in Cork. It included Afternoon Tea (they know me well!) while reminiscing, perusing old photos and getting all girly and a tad weepy too. It was truly delicious.
|Not a bit emotional on the hen - oh no!|
There have been some disappointments, such as a very expensive and not overly special Afternoon Tea in The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt, in Wicklow.
Then, just this year, the dream discovery was made - Afternoon Tea at Ariel House in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. I’ve been there twice and envisage more visits, sooner rather than later!
From the idyllic setting as you stroll up to the striking Victorian building, to the wonderful warmth of welcome you receive upon entering the guesthouse, your visit is sure to begin with the most positive and relaxed feeling.
On both occasions, I was seated with my companion by the window in the dining room, which is also where their excellent breakfasts are served every morning. I actually took a peek at the breakfast menu on my last visit. Oh yeah! I’d be a very happy camper from early morning if I was rising to one of their breakfasts! The view by the window is lovely, the music is atmospheric and the china is adorable. Anyway, back to the matter at hand; afternoon tea. The selection is simply superb, with more than enough to fill two hungry aficionados until bedtime that night! I feel strongly that tea and tea alone is the correct beverage for afternoon tea and the tea here is good and replenished liberally! On my last visit, we were also treated to delightfully refreshing homemade lemonade, as a summertime treat. This was much appreciated on a warm day; I only wish I had the recipe!
Now to turn to the food! To begin with the savouries, we were served an array of freshly made sandwiches, including my personal favourite of smoked salmon on gorgeous homemade brown bread. Then to move on to the sweets, between my two visits we devoured a selection of macaroons of various flavours, chocolate biscuit cake (their special recipe, which must be tasted to be appreciated!), miniature lemon meringue pies, raspberry scones, yummy shortbread biscuits, pear frangipane, coffee and walnut bakes, banana bread, supreme pavlova and Eton Mess, mm mm mmmm…I could go on! The whole experience is just lovely. I left on both occasions knowing I would return and wanting to share my discovery with one and all! Afternoon tea can be an expense but at Ariel House it is reasonably priced and truly excellent value for money. I would offer these few words of encouragement, if you think it’s something you’d like to treat yourself to, make it your Saturday outing and forfeit the night out. You will not be disappointed. Now it’s time for some marvellous visuals. I’ve said more than enough; these pictures will speak for themselves…
Ariel House is on Twitter, Facebook, and on Instagram, just search arielhouse, and you can ooh and ahh over even more photos like mine - not advised on an empty tummy though ;-)
For more interesting reading on Afternoon Tea, this blog is well worth a read. These two lucky ladies, Kate and Chelsea, travel around sampling and reporting on Afternoon Tea experiences, in many fabulous worldwide destinations - talk about living the dream!
If you do decide to try Afternoon Tea in Ariel House or elsewhere, it'd be great to hear your take on it, so please do comment below. Now I'm off for a cuppa!