Another Christmas based post, and my last I promise (for this year anyway!) is for the Morrisons free from tiffin selection box. If I could find them on offer I think I’d stock up 😋 they were delicious, I had to limit myself to no more than two a day otherwise it would have led to (more 😬) weight gain!
There was a selection of 3 flavours, the original tiffin, rocky road and the cranberry and orange tiffin. If I had a gun to my head and had to choose a favourite I think I’d go for the cranberry and orange tiffin 👌🏼 but they were all yummy! I think these were up there as one of my favourite parts of Christmas. In fact I truly think these should be available all year round, they would be perfect for a gathering, dinner party, buffet, to have with a cup of tea – I don’t think those without allergies or intolerances would even tell these were free from dairy.
I was really chuffed to open up my dairy free selection box Christmas morning, I wasn’t expecting to have any chocolate knowing how difficult it is to find dairy free options. This box was (yeah, didn’t last long 🙊) great, it had a good selection including a Santa and snowman shaped bar along with a chocolate mint bar and chocolate orange bar plus some choccy drops.
I am not aware of how much this cost so can’t comment on the value for money but I was certainly not disappointed and I feel any vegan or dairy free eater would be happy with this selection box. The chocolate is really tasty, I wouldn’t have known it was dairy free, I can’t choose a favourite – I think I’d need another taste to pick 😉 Mmmm I wish I had a bar left to eat right now 😋
For my Nan’s Christmas treat, we have taken her on a couple of afternoon tea’s throughout the year – her first was at Braxted Bakery which you can read about here and this weekend we took her to Bluebell Tearooms in Danbury. My sister and I have been here before which I wrote about earlier in the year and marked at an 8/10 – I have re-read this review to bring back fresh memories of the day.
Unfortunately this time I was unable to have the afternoon tea due to my intolerances 🙄 so I came along and had something off the main menu. I played it safe with a jacket potato and beans with a side salad (no dressing), although there were other options available on the menu – sandwiches, quiche, soup etc. none would be suitable for me. I did spot a sign offering gluten free options so if this is something you require it is worth a visit. My jacket spud was a great size and I enjoyed it, however I do have to say the afternoon tea looked delicious and it wasn’t easy watching my sister and Nan munch their way through it 🤤. They were given the option to choose 3 fillings for their sarnies which I think is a great idea to be sure you are given something that you enjoy, I don’t recall having this option previously so I see this as an improvement. A fruit scone was on the next tier, one each and no option of having this heated although that didn’t seem like a problem for either my Nan or Sister who managed to get this down them in record time. I guess they had concerns over my jealous stares and felt they had to get it in them before I tried grabbing it from their hands 😑. Now the cakes, my god the cakes – they looked unbelievably tasty and the improvement on last time was not only that the macaroon was chocolate but also there was a cake each!! Of my 3 favourite types of cake, chocolate brownie, lemon slice and a Victoria sponge. This afternoon tea looked amazing, I am not sure if this is down to the fact I couldn’t eat it and I always want what I can’t have but it looked better and smelt nicer than any afternoon tea I can remember 😂. After discussing this with my sister we have agreed the improvements made from our previous visit deserve a half a point increase to an 8.5/10. My Nan particularly enjoyed the ambiance of this tearoom and loved the way the table was decorated.
Do not be fooled by this, it is not – I repeat, it is NOT a chocolate replacement!! I have no idea where they got the idea from that this has a similar taste to chocolate, it doesn’t. OK, the bars aren’t horrible – they taste ok in a different kind of way but there is just no way it can be compared to chocolate!! No, the powder I purchased as a replacement hot chocolate is another story – that is horrible! There is a chance I put too much in, I am not sure but it tasted foul and I won’t be trying it again as a hot chocolate although I will use the powder when I am next baking to see how that comes out.
What I find strange is that I really enjoy these 9 bars which are mostly made of seeds with a layer of carob on top – they are tasty and filling, quite a nice treat but I must admit they don’t quite hit it like a chocolate bar. Marshmallows on the other hand, they are a treat I can’t seem to keep my hands off of – 3 packets in 3 days is a new record.
Inspired by our numerous afternoon teas out my mum arranged to do myself, my sister, my Nan and her two sisters (Aunty Shirley and Janet) a homemade afternoon tea. I was very much looking forward to this until I had the news that I would be unable to eat the majority (all) of the foods included within an afternoon tea. So, I took my own lunch round and watched the family enjoy a very lovely looking afternoon tea –not able to rate this one myself I have conferred with my sister for the grading.
The table was set very nicely, just like a tea room with a pretty table cloth and the sandwiches and cakes were set out on special afternoon tea plates. Flowers were presented in the middle of the table inside a cardboard tea pot which I thought was a nice touch. The sandwiches were filled with a great selection of prawns, egg mayo, ham and cheese with an onion chutney and were crust less and cut into cute triangles. Next up was the scones, now – these weren’t homemade or warmed up but they were from the local bakers and not only did they look delicious but they were also a great size. A large pot of cream was provided with Tiptree strawberry jam, a discussion took place regarding how this should be put on the scones and although we all know which way is the correct way, the outcome was pretty split. Prosecco was served whilst the afternoon tea was being enjoyed and this seemed to go down really well with everyone. The cakes were bought out on a tiered cake stand all looking yummy – a selection of butterfly cakes and cupcakes all in different flavours ranging from chocolate to strawberry and vanilla and a slice of carrot cake was also available (these were all purchased from M&S).
In between the cakes my mum had placed a variety of chocolates and some grapes and strawberries which looked great and I thought it was a nice idea to have these to break the cakes up a bit. I have to say I thought the presentation was really good so this began the marking off at a high level, my sister was very pleased with everything provided and it all tasted great. I think the only things that I could mark down here is that the scones weren’t warmed up (we all know this makes a difference) and the cakes weren’t homemade and therefore we will grade this at 9/10, maybe mum can do this next time to get full marks.
After my Nan had received vouchers for afternoon tea at (as it turns out) Tiptree Tea rooms (not Perrywoods after all….🤦🏻♀️) for Christmas we had arranged to go as a foursome. My sister and I were going to join my Nan and her sister Auntie Shirley, it had been arranged for weeks and although we couldn’t book we had decided we would turn up at about 3 in the hope that the lunch time rush would have left. Now, unfortunately I was unable to go due to IBS issues 😔 (I am doing my best not to let this disrupt my afternoon teaing so rest assured I will be back on form as soon as possible). However, I have asked both my sister and my Nan for their opinion on the afternoon tea and although we are unable to grade it as the rules state that both me and my sister have to be present (there’s no rule book, I am making these up as I go along 😏), please keep reading for a write up from their views.
Myself and my sister have been here before, you can read our review on it here, we had marked it at a 6.5/10. So, when I asked my sister what she thought her first words were ‘I think we were generous with the mark we gave it before’. Although there was nothing wrong with the afternoon tea here, she just expected more especially from a proper tearoom. Not being able to book meant there was about a half hour wait and to be honest this is never a good start, I don’t really know the reason behind not allowing bookings especially when you have vouchers – I’d have thought it would make things easier. Perhaps we have now been spoilt with some of the afternoon teas we have had, with this being only our second one on the score sheet we didn’t have much to compare it to. We were not keen on the fact we only got the one sandwich filling each previously and again we still feel this doesn’t reflect a true afternoon tea although it could be argued that at least you will know you like the flavour you have chosen. After having the choice of jam flavours (all Tiptree) presented to us at Perrywoods you would kind of expect this same option at a Wilkins tearoom, especially this one in Tiptree. Although the strawberry and champagne one they were all given was very nice it would have been good to have had a choice. Now, we both enjoy our scones warmed up so it’s always a little disappointing when this is not the case although it doesn’t take long for us to come to terms with this. It hits a lot harder when you only get 2 cakes each AND to top it off they were all different flavours so you had to choose the 2 you want. Quite frankly this can, and more than likely has in the past or will in the future cause arguments.
My Nan fully enjoyed her afternoon out – both her and Auntie Shirley had a lovely time and thought the ham they had chosen as their sandwich filling was delicious. Nan did feel it would be much better if they could have booked in for this afternoon tea because the wait wasn’t ideal although, luckily there was some seating available.
I don’t think we would ever say not to go here for an afternoon tea, its pleasant and tasty – it just doesn’t match up to some of the others we have been to. I would however, tell you to go here for a cuppa and a cake – even a sarnie, the menu looks great and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t enjoyed eating in any of the Tiptree tearooms.
So the plan of going to Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton after completing the marathon (you can read about my marathon experience here.) didn’t quite go to plan. Although we did visit the store I was unable to eat so gave the cake a miss and opted for a tasty rice crispy and fudge chunky bar. O.M.G! it was amazing! Was perfect for post marathon and the sections are so big and chunky I could have one at a time without needing to eat the whole bar. Must admit I was disappointed I had missed out on trying some of the cake, there was so much on the menu that I wanted to start working my way through!! So when we went to London earlier this week I couldn’t help but make a trip to the café there. Was a tough choice but went for the Everything Chocolate 5 layer cake… tasted goooood! But it was far too big for me to manage by myself, should probably have shared this with the husband – whoops. If I am honest I probably preferred the bar, it was so chunky and as I managed to make it last for a few days I didn’t end up feeling sick, but I will be wanting to go back to try out the dipping pots or the hot chocolates or perhaps the marshmallow biscuits……