Ultimate indulgence for East London tea-and-cake brigade

Barbara Hollands

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POINTED PINKIES: Elegant guests (from left) Gill Andreas, Tracey Gravett, Zona Mpendulo and Melody Clarke take tea at the launch of the high tea offering at Key Largo restaurant at Hemingways Hotel. PHOTOGRAPHS: BARBARA HOLLANDS
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SWEET TREAT: Executive chef of Hemingways Hotel and Casino Gabriel Diutlwileng serves up delectable little cakes in true high tea fashion.

A MIDWEEK break from workaday routines coupled with dainty savouries, mouthwatering little cakes and the tinkling of the baby grand is the ultimate indulgence just launched in East London.

Keeping up with international trends, Hemingways Hotel has devised a decadent high tea service on Wednesday afternoons giving the tea-and-cake brigade a whole new opportunity to spoil themselves.

“There is such a gap for this in East London, especially for businesswomen who want a different way to socialise in the afternoon,” said Hemingways complex food and beverage manager James Brown at the recent launch of the Wednesday high tea.

“High teas have traditionally been posh, elegant events in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s and people see them as an event and a pre-dinner indulgence,” Brown said.

“We want to have themes like say chocolate or apple, so our high tea will be different every week.”

Elegantly attired guests at the sneak-peek launch helped themselves to delicious lamb kebabs drizzled with balsamic reduction, bite-sized chicken and mushroom quiches, vegetable kebabs with basil pesto, chicken wraps with guacamole and sweet chilli mayonnaise and – in keeping with English high tea traditions – delicate cucumber sandwiches.

They then loaded their cake plates at the tiered cake stands groaning with tiny Black Forest cakes, delicate chocolate eclair swans and mini milktarts and a large dish of fresh strawberries.

Hemingways executive chef Gabriel Diutlwileng , who designed the delicious high tea menu, said the thinking behind the high tea offering, which is held at the elegant poolside Key Largo restaurant in the heart of the hotel, was to make it both attractive and affordable and to provide patrons with “small, fussy things” to eat.

And, to accompany these delectable small fussy things, is a table devoted to a wide selection of teas, including Ceylon, English Breakfast, Earl Grey as well as the more unusual infusion silk teabag teas which are a blend of Ceylon, rose petals, and fruits like granadilla, rose hip and passion fruit.

According to Ciro Border manager Stuart Galloway, the silk teabags allow for deeper steeping after which the infusion teas are best enjoyed without milk and can be served hot or cold.

For those not going back to the office after their midweek high tea treat, sparkling wine is also on offer and can be enjoyed in the graciously appointed restaurant or around the sunny pool deck.

Reservations for Wednesday afternoon high tea, which is held between 2pm and 5pm every week, can be made by phoning Key Largo at (043)707-7985. The cost is R95 per person or R120 per person if champagne is included.

Fluffy and light production of ‘Swan Lake’  

Chocolate Eclair Swan

Ingredients

300g Flour
80g Sugar
125ml Milk
80g Butter/margarine
2 whole eggs
80ml Whipped cream
20g Castor sugar
30g Dark chocolate

Method

1. Pour the milk in a pot and bring it to boil once and add butter and stir using a spatula until the butter has melted.
2. Add sugar into the pot and give it a round of stir to dissolve the sugar
3. Add the flour slowly into the mixture while stirring continuously until the mixture is well mixed together and stiff.
4. Remove your pot from the stove and cool off the mixture until it is slightly warm.
5. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time and stir the mixture well until it comes to a dropping consistence, you may add the second egg if your mixture hasn’t come to a dropping consistence as yet.
6. Once your mixture is ready, then you pipe it on to the baking sheet at about 3cm diameter forming a shell shape and pipe 2cm thin S-shape for the swans neck, bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 170° or until it is golden brown in colour.
7. Remove from the oven and place on the wire racks to cool down.
8. Once it has cooled, cut in the middle along the eclair to open
9. Melt the chocolates separately using the double boiler.
10. Pour the cream in the bowl, add castor sugar and whisk it until it is nice and firm
11. Pipe the cream into the half-cut eclair to fill it, then cut the top part in the middle with a knife and place it onto the bottom part filled with cream making wings.
12. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top of the flare wings
13. Ready to serve garnish with strawberry and mint leaves.
The recipe serves 4.

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