valrhona Chocolate Afternoon Tea

Cliveden House



Cliveden is a majestic stately home in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. It has been entertaining guests for the past 350 years, including royalty, politicians and celebrities. It has just been awarded ‘Best Hotel in England’ by the AA.

Afternon tea is served in the Great Hall which is steeped in history. The wood panelled room with rich, bright coloured furnishings has many historic features and artefacts which can be admired whilst sipping your tea.

Three colossal tapestries adorn the main wall, the stone chimney place at the far end dates back to the 15th century and magnificent oil paintings of past owners are placed around the property. Imagine Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin have both been in this very same room.

Valrhona is a french premium chocolate used exclusively in high-end establishments and Head Pasty Chef Tracey Stewart has created some amazing delights for this bespoke afternoon tea. The three tier silver tea stand is brought to the table with the scones nice and warm! Best to start with these crisp scones served with homemade jam and Devonshire clotted cream. A lovely range of freshly made sandwiches with a few extra savoury treats.

Chocolate heaven is a delightful collection of six treats ranging from milk, white to dark, I would recommend save the dark ones to last as it has the deeper, richer flavours. Chocolate roulade is a swiss roll with a crispy surface and gold sprinkles, white chocolate raspberry tartlet was deliciously crisp, white chocolate cheesecake was my favourite, with a fine crisp base and a white chocolate truffle on top, yum! For the dark collection, the two layered jaffa cakes was quirky, a mint chocolate tartlet which has a very smooth texture again with a crisp base and finally a rich tiramisu cup. The sizes of all these treats are larger than average and by all means do get these packed if you cannot manage to indulge in them at your sitting.

Being a part of the National Trust, a minimal contribution is applied to the final bill. This can be appreciated when a walk is taken in the formal gardens and grounds of the 376 acre beautifully maintained Cliveden estate. Best to have a ‘long’ stroll around after the marvellous indulgence of the Valrhona tea!

Enjoy Chocolate Week at the Besh hotel in England having the best Chocolate Afternoon Tea!

You Deserve it!




Till 28 February 2016


The world famous Liberty store celebrates its 140th anniversary with a fabulous fashion exhibition exploring the iconic Liberty brand in fashion. Over 150 garments, textiles and objects which demonstrate Liberty’s strong relationships with designers since 1875, from Arthur Silver to collaborations with Jean Muir, Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood. They range from an 1890s cape constructed from embroidered Chinese shawls, a 1930s Paul Poiret pink silk robe with embroidered neck, hem and sleeves as well as high profile contemporary collaborations including Vivienne Westwood, Jimmy Choo and Nike.

The exhibition charts Liberty’s history as ‘the’ fashionable place to shop as well as its role as the source and originator of key trends in fashion history, from Orientalism and Aesthetic dress in the 19th century, through Art Nouveau and Art Deco in the early 20th century, and the revival of these styles since the 1950s. Liberty Art Fabrics and the textile design studio take centre stage, as the internationally recognised leader in floral, patterned and paisley prints and dress fabrics.

At the cutting edge of design and the decorative arts since 1875, Liberty is celebrated throughout the world both as a department store and for its distinctive textile prints. Founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, the store began on Regent Street in 1875 selling coloured silks and soon became one of ‘the’ shops in London, and Arthur Liberty’s clients and friends included Oscar Wilde. The Liberty dress department opened in 1884 and Liberty style soon became firmly associated with a unique ‘fashion’ look. Liberty continued to adapt to changing taste whilst maintaining its identity.

The Twenties and Thirties saw the development of the floral prints that are still associated with the company and were a mainstay of these decades. ‘Young Liberty’ was introduced in the 1950s, showcasing the best of new British and international design. A wave of young designers in the Sixties embraced Liberty fabrics and the textile design studio continued to produce up-to-date, innovative designs. Designers such as Mary Quant and Jean Muir contributed to the company’s key role in the fashion of the 1970s. Liberty continues to inspire fashion today as designers around the world feature the brand’s distinctive textiles. 

Exhibition structure - there are nine key sections:

1. The Introduction establishes the importance of the consumer to Liberty and the early history of Liberty and Co. from its beginnings as an Oriental Bazaar.

 2. A Dialogue With the East explores the circular movement of Liberty’s early inspiration in the styles and artefacts of the East and the fascination of Liberty for designers in the East

3. Artistic Dressing profiles the Liberty dress department, which encouraged women to dress ‘artistically’ and wear loose fitting, medieval inspired costumes, similar to those popularized by Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It was at this point that Liberty found a dedicated following amongst cultured upper and middle classes with an Aesthetic and historical style.

4. Fabric of Fashion details the range of Liberty fabrics – from wool, silk and tana lawn – in particular the legendary Liberty floral designs that increased in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s and which continue to be a mainstay of the company. 

5. High Style at Liberty shows how the store’s fabric and clothing in the 1950s reflected contemporary trends in fashion and design and why the company was at the forefront of the Art Nouveau revival.

6. Swinging Sixties will highlight not only how the traditional prints of Liberty are rediscovered and reinterpreted by a generation of young fashion designers but also a new spirit in the Liberty design studio that created a new series of iconic textile designs.

7. Seventies Nostalgia charts the era of nostalgia and ethnicity in fashion in which Liberty played a key role as both a textile wholesaler and fashion retailer.

8. Collaborations showcases the designers of fashion, accessories and textiles for whom Liberty fabrics provided a source of inspiration in the 1990s and 2000s

9. Liberty Today explores the ways in which the company continues to innovate in the design, retailing and promotion of a modern heritage brand. 

Dennis Nothdruft, Curator of Liberty in Fashion, said: 

“Liberty has occupied a unique place in British fashion.  Every garment in the exhibition has been carefully chosen to enable the Museum to represent the incredible range of textile designs created by the firm as well as to present an argument about why Liberty is always ‘in fashion’”. 

Celia Joicey, Head of the Fashion and Textile Museum, said: 

“Liberty in Fashion is a celebration of one of Britain’s most imaginative stores, not only an internationally celebrated retailer but also a design studio and tastemaker.” 

Ed Burstell, Managing Director, Liberty London, said: 

“Liberty is one of the last great emporiums of its kind and I am thrilled that this exhibition is being organised by Zandra Rhodes and the Fashion and Textile Museum London, a museum which has pioneered displays on the relationship between fashion, fabric design and innovative British retailing.”  





Langham London

Till 28th March 2016

Seatings: 1pm; 3.15pm; 5.30pm 

The illustrious Langham hotel is where the tradition of afternoon tea started 150 years ago in 1865 and still lives on as the finest indulgence to be experienced in London.  Set in the grand Palm court  with magnificent high ceilings and quirky decorative mirrors, this extensive room has comfortable seating including lovely sofas to relax in and enjoy afternoon tea. The live pianist adds to delightful ambiance.

The Easter Afternoon Tea reflects the tradition of new beginnings associated with Easter egg and the much loved figurehead of The Easter Bunny. At the start of the tea, guests are presented with an amuse bouche of blanc mange with rhubarb compote to cleanse the palette.The sandwiches at the Langham are served eloquently from a lovely tray. Expect to see some quirky varieties such as Truffled duck egg brioche,Smoked salmon asparagus and rye, Cucumber, cream cheese, chives, Peppered beef pastrami and red Leicester coleslaw, Corn-fed chicken, golden sultana, carrot bread. Please do ask for more if you so desire.

A quirky take on the traditional scone here is a 'hot cross' scone which is truly delicious. Served with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam served deliciously warm and are only brought out to you when you are ready. As these are small in size, do not hesitate to ask for more. The five exquisite pastries on offer for Easter are:

  1. The playful ‘Bunny See-Saw’- a soft, melt-in-the-mouth delight made with 64% chocolate mousseine, raspberry and pistachio finanicer.
  2. The ‘Chicken or the egg’ piece - features a playful design of cartoon chickens and eggs on a finger lemon tart.
  3. The Rabbits Warren served in a towering glass, representing the tunnel journey made by the Easter rabbit, served with Milk chocolate Chantilly 
  4. ‘Sunny Side Up’ -  a lively creation with a chocolate fried egg balanced atop two cascading Chocolate Easter eggs.
  5. 'Bunny Show Jumping’  -represents the three stages of show jumping, with three Easter bunny figurines amongst a white chocolate mousse and tropical jelly creation. 

The tea selection includes exclusive Langham Blends which have been selected with the utmost care and harvested to capture the natural aromas and flavours. All staff can guide you to pick the perfect blend. Try a different tea with for each course, sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. For those who enjoy black tea, try the Langham Blend without milk! Best had with the sandwiches, you will be pleasantly surprised. With the sweet treats the Silk Road blend, which is a Chinese silver needle white tea is a perfect accompaniment with very delicate flavours. The exquisite sweet treats created by Cherish Finden, the head pastry chef and her team demonstrate the time and effort taken to create intricate designs.
















Till 2nd May 2016

Tour times: 17.30 and 18.00

In celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 90th birthday this month, the palace is now offering an exclusive tour for Spring.

Accompanied by an expert guide, you will be taken on a tour through the splendour of the State Rooms and have the opportunity to see many of the famous masterpieces from the Royal Collection. The tour lasts two and a half hours.

Spring is the perfect time to enjoy an Exclusive Guided Tour of the State Rooms, when Buckingham Palace is not usually open to the public.

Your tour ends with a glass of champagne served in the Grand Entrance. Included in the price of the ticket is a copy of the official guidebook and 20% discount in the Royal Collection Trust Shop on Buckingham Palace Road.

Tickets must be pre-booked. There is limited availability with a maximum number of 30 places on each tour.

Book Here



Colourful, Vibrant, Energetic… Taj Express will take you on a dazzling journey through India!

The story is of an upcoming composer, Shankar, who is faced with the trials and tribulations of the music production industry. It is only when his passion for his greatest inspiration, the legendary A.R. Rahman of Bollywood Oscar fame, comes to the forefront and he researches his works, that Shankar eventually succeeds in his endeavours.

Taj Express, the movie Shankar has to score, to save his career, is based on a love story between a beautiful celebrity actress from Bollywood and a handsome street hero. Through their love of dance they come together.

Fantastic choreography from the talented team of star studded performers from Bollywood, this musical will surely get you dancing in your seats!

The Merchant family production team who have created this amazing song, dance and drama show have ensured it will appeal to all audiences and will be travelling around the world taking Taj Express to any city to give a flavour of India.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE... Before the Express leaves town!