If I was to write a list of my favourite things it would definitely, amongst others, include fresh flowers, Champagne (I’m not even sorry), new perfume and scones with clotted cream. Put them together and it can only lead to excellent things – like combining two of my other loves chocolate and peanut butter.
Anyway before I digress the Royal Opera House have done just that, throughout May they are serving up a limited edition floral tea in association with L’Occitane and their fine fragrances – La Collection de Grasse. It’s served in the spectacular Paul Hamlyn Hall – famed for its Ruinart bar and beautiful curved glass roof and here is a fact, it was originally known as the floral hall which is rather apt, being a place where vegetable and fruit were sold.
The tea begins with smelling three scents; Jasmin and Bergamote, Néoli and Orchidée and Thé Vert and Bigarad, you’ll understand later. That done, we carried on with crisp, cold Ruinart Champagne and sandwiches – the stand out being the native lobster with citrus and dill crème fraiche on lemon thyme brioche, it was a mouthful that tasted of summer, I mean in the fresh, floral sense, although I do wish my summers were all just about lobster.
Naturally followed by scones, clotted cream and home –made jam, which was slightly too runny but I’m forgiving that on the basis that it wasn’t full of preserves and cups of Opera Tea. The tea had a sweet, full, robust flavour, we found it to be like a floral Early Grey and you can only get it there having been specially blended for the Royal Opera House.
The cakes have all been inspired by the collection so you’ll find their take on a baba, steeped in Ruinart Rosé with candied rose petals and a light, crisp green tea and peach macaron. A delicate little elderflower and mandarin amandine was wonderfully sweet and of course they couldn’t leave out the signature Opéra Gâteau – fine layers of coffee cream with a chocolate twirl.
Remember the scents we smelt at the beginning? Well they’re all fragrances from La Collection de Grasse and anyone having tea is given a bottle of the fragrance to take home –unlike so many bottles which have enough to spray one wrist if you’re lucky this was actually a decent bottle, perfect for travelling. Thank you L’Occitane.
The whole tea is elegant, light and encompasses spring from the cakes to the setting to the fragrance. Plan it around an opera or simply make an afternoon of it.