A classic marble cake will always be a welcome feature at afternoon tea. It also makes a great pudding – children love it. A little icing and a drizzle of white chocolate finishes this cake off perfectly.
The afternoon tea is as quintessentially British as the Queen driving in the countryside with a silk headscarf wrapped around her hair.But afternoon teas have evolved over the years to include more than coronation chicken sandwiches and scones. Now you can get halloumi-filled steamed buns, banoffee pie jars and mini slices of tiramisu.To celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, we’re rounding up some of the most Instagrammable (and decidedly delicious) afternoon teas in the country. Cliveden House, Berkshire> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Cliveden House (@clivedenhouse) on Jul 7, 2019 at 7:16am PDTPerhaps best known as the stately home Meghan Markle chose to stay in the night before she became the Duchess of Sussex, Cliveden House also offers a stunning afternoon tea. Expect classics like scones with jam and clotted cream alongside heavenly finger sandwiches with the added twist of whatever theme they’re offering that month. For World Chocolate Day they served up a blood orange tart, white chocolate and coffee macaroon and milk chocolate and praline choux bun. Opt to eat outside to enjoy the sprawling views of the estate.clivedenhouse.co.uk/ Sketch, London> A post shared by sketch (@sketchlondon) on Feb 14, 2018 at 6:00am PSTIs any foodie Instagram-based list complete without a mention of Sketch? We think not, and luckily its delectable afternoon teas are just as visually delicious. On the current menu, you’ll find such delights as a foie gras tartlette and white peach and verbena cheesecake. If you’re looking to add a little fizz, you can have the champagne afternoon tea or the English spritzer afternoon tea. Either way, an afternoon tea in Sketch’s gallery is a must for any Instagram aficionado.sketch.london/ Holbeck Ghyll, Cumbria> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Holbeck Ghyll (@holbeck_ghyll) on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:01am PSTThe Lake District always promises a picture perfect escape, so make the most of it this summer by visiting Holbeck Ghyll where you can find an equally picturesque afternoon tea. With wild boar and apple sausage rolls, hot smoked salmon with citrus crème fraiche, white chocolate profiteroles and scones, this will satisfy even the most ardent foodie.holbeckghyll.com/ Muriel's Kitchen, London> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by 𝐌𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐥𝐬 𝐊𝐢𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐧 (@murielskitchen) on Jun 2, 2019 at 6:37am PDTServed on miniature picnic tables, this afternoon tea is a pure delight. Think all the usual afternoon tea trimmings with the added touch of banoffee pie jars, brownie bites and carrot cakes.murielskitchen.co.uk/ Oh Me, Oh My, Liverpool> A post shared by OH ME OH MY (@ohmeohmy_liv) on May 15, 2018 at 4:33am PDTMerseyside’s hidden gem, Oh Me, Oh My’s rooftop gives you spectacular views over the city but it’s the afternoon tea that’s really worth the hype. Available weekdays from 12 to 2:30pm, the tuna, cucumber and lemon finger sandwiches are accompanied by white chocolate and raspberry crème brulees with banana and toffee eclairs. The perfect place to book for a special occasion.ohmeohmyliverpool.co.uk/ Dalloway Terrace, London> A post shared by Dalloway Terrace (@dallowayterrace) on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:33am PDTOne of the most Instagrammable restaurants in London , with its ever-changing terrace, it's also home to one of the capital’s most Instagrammable afternoon teas. The current offering – the elderflower afternoon tea – complements the summer décor and offers white elderflower parfaits next to gin smoked salmon and lemon crème fraiche finger sandwiches. Inspired by the French countryside, this afternoon tea is best enjoyed with a glass of sparkling wine.dallowayterrace.com/ Sugar Junction, Manchester> A post shared by Sugar Junction (@sugarjunctionnq) on Jul 2, 2018 at 8:41am PDTServing up a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes, scones and sandwiches, the Sugar Junction is a Mancunian afternoon tea institution. They also offer gluten free options so those with intolerances don’t miss out.sugarjunction.co.uk/ Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle> A post shared by Jesmond Dene House (@jesmonddenehouse) on Mar 2, 2018 at 7:40am PSTSit on the terrace, relax on a sofa in the cocktail bar or pull up a chair in the garden room and indulge in one of the best afternoon teas in the North East. Choose from a number of loose leaf teas to accompany the assorted finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats – including strawberry and lemon macarons and a lemon cheesecake. Pair with a cocktail, novelty tea or a well-deserved glass of prosecco.jesmonddenehouse.co.uk/ The Assembly House, Norwich> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Maryrisa (@afternoonteaqueen88) on Aug 11, 2019 at 11:15am PDTA towering Georgian gem in the serene centre of Norwich, the Assembly House’s afternoon tea makes for the ideal treat. Expect dainty ham sandwiches, savoury and sweet scones and colourful treats. They are currently serving an ‘Alice in Wonderland’-themed afternoon tea, complete with heart-topped pastries, rabbit holes and toothy smiles.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk/ Miss V’s, Cornwall> A post shared by Miss V's (@miss_vs_cornwall) on Mar 7, 2018 at 4:17am PSTSet on the Roseland Peninsula, Miss V’s is the perfect sunny spot for a classic British afternoon tea. With scones, homemade cakes and treats all set on delightful china plates, make sure you pick up a couple of extra tart slices to take with you while you’re there.instagram.com/miss_vs_cornwall/ Terre A Terre, Brighton> A post shared by Terre a Terre (@terreaterrebrighton) on Jun 29, 2018 at 5:13am PDTBrighton’s iconic vegetarian restaurant offers up a show-stopping afternoon tea. The Terre à Tier Tea comes with a steamed rice bun stuffed with Szechuan marinated halloumi, mini muffins and a chocolate hazelnut truffle cake and praline served with a whipped dark chocolate mousse, among other treats.terreaterre.co.uk/ Amorino, London> A post shared by London Food, Drinks & Travel (@londonfoodbabes) on Aug 17, 2016 at 10:36am PDTFor something a little different and perfect for summer, Amorino – the gelato and sorbet specialist – offer an ice cream filled afternoon tea. Think gelato roses and gelato-filled macaroons and your choice of their 10 rich hot chocolates.amorino.com/ The Salt Room, Brighton> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by The Salt Room (@thesaltroombrighton) on Aug 4, 2019 at 4:15am PDTBilled as one of Brighton’s best seafood restaurants, The Salt Room has another claim in offering one of Brighton’s best afternoon teas. The sea-facing restaurant located along the waterfront offers a ‘taste of the pier’ afternoon tea, with chocolate pebbles, lemon meringue fudge, raspberry bark, candy floss and a strawberry and lime doughnut.saltroom-restaurant.co.uk/ Bardolino, Birmingham> A post shared by Bardolino Birmingham (@bardolino_bham) on Jun 20, 2018 at 10:00am PDTBardolino’s afternoon tea comes with an Italian twist, think parma ham rolls with avocado, bruschetta, beef sliders and tiramisu. The sweet potato fries and selection of teas and lemon tarts are perfect for a long weekday afternoon.mpwrestaurants.co.uk/
Is there any sound more pleasing than the cheerful pop of a Prosecco cork?Whether you’re marking a special occasion or simply raising a well-deserved glass to the weekend, the sparkling Italian wine is one of our favourite tipples to toast the good times.It’s easy to see why; it’s kinder on the wallet than Champagne and pleasant to sip solo or with food. Prosecco is also light on calories, at roughly 80cal per flute although of course, this differs from bottle to bottle.While a bottle of bubbles can only be called Champagne if it’s made in the prestigious French region of the same name, so to only Italian-grown grapes can be called Prosecco.Ditto Spain’s Cava must be made on the Iberian peninsula. All are made in very similar ways, but what differs is the taste of the grape and of course the location of the vineyards in which they grew.Typically made in a north-eastern corner of Italy, Prosecco comes in various degrees of fizziness – spumante (sparkling), frizzante (semi-sparkling) and tranquilo (still).You’ll often find the letters DOC or DOCG stamped on the label of a bottle of Prosecco.Top pub quiz fact: these letters are to guarantee the high quality of the sparkling elixir within. Translated from Italian, DOCG is short for Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, while DOC stands for Denomination of Controlled Origin. Both are there to reassure drinkers that the Prosecco they’re sipping is the real deal.But which one is the best? That’s the crucial information we’re here to determine, once and for all.We rounded up some of the best supermarket and food hall Proseccos, all available to shop online for the ultimate in convenience, to find the king of a drink colloquially known to some in the UK as Prosexy.After the gruelling taste test, helped by 16 of the finest set of tastebuds in the ES office, the numbers have been crunched and the findings are in. Read on to see the results of the Best Prosecco to Buy Online M&S Conte Priuli ORO ProseccoThere’s no denying that this golden bottle makes an impression from the get-go, making it an impressive gift for weddings and birthdays.Best reviewer quote: Our reviewers adored the bouji bottle, saying it has a “classic Prosecco taste” and likened it to a “Granny Smith, extra dry”.Estimated price: £20.Average rating: 9 out of 10. Take a bow, M&S.£15 | M&S | Buy it now Organic ProseccoSourced from a family-run vineyard just outside Venice, the grapes in this bottle were handpicked and grown free from pesticides and herbicides.Best reviewer quote: “Tastes more like Champagne than Prosecco.” Not a bad thing.Estimated price: £10, a couple of quid over the actual price, so this bottle tastes of more expensive than it actually is - win!Average rating: at 8, this bottle fared particularly well with our hand-selected ES taste team.£7.99 | Aldi | Buy it now Allini Prosecco SpumanteThis ‘easy-drinking’ Prosecco was made in Veneto, Italy and according to Lidl, pairs well with bruschetta and east Asian cuisine.Best reviewer quote: “Fruity overtone and a lively finish on the tongue”Estimated price: £11.99, double the actual price.Average rating: doing well at 7.£5.99 | Lidl | Buy it now Fillipo Sansovino Valdobbiadene ProseccoThe complex flavours within this unusually-shaped bottle set it apart from the competition. 11.5 per cent ABV.Best reviewer quote: “Could drink this for days” High praise indeed.Estimated price: £9.15.Average rating: Scoring 7, this was at the better end of our taste test table.£10 | Asda | Buy it now Mionetto MO Collection Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra DryWith a history dating back to 1887, Mionetto is one of the finest winemakers Italy has to offer. This extra-dry 11 per cent ABV bottle is a legacy of its expertise.Best reviewer quote: “Nice refined taste, would serve to the in-laws during an awkward dinner party”. Sounds like a winner in our book.Estimated price: £9.Average rating: out of a possible 10, this scored a very respectable 7.£12 | Sainsbury’s | Buy it now Prosecco Superiore DOCGLight with the flavour of ripe Autumn fruits, this sparkling Prosecco is purported to have a creamy taste.Best reviewer quote: “Perfect for a boozy day at the races.”Estimated price: this averaged at £9.50, tasting slightly more expensive than the RRP.Average rating: 7.£7.99 | Aldi | Buy it now Tesco Finest Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCGWith grapes plucked from the finest vineyards in the heart of Italy's Prosecco region, this bottle is lovely with canapès and summer puddings.Best reviewer quote: “A decent amount of fizz, honey taste. Brace for a hangover the morning after.”Estimated price: our reviewers thought this tasted like an £8.50 bottle, on average.Average rating: a good rating, but not as high as expected at 6.5.£10 | Tesco | Buy it now ASDA Extra Special Prosecco Asolo Brut DOCGFloral and fruity, this is an impressive-looking bottle to take to a party.Best reviewer quote: A rather middle-of-the-road “nutty but nice.”Estimated price: £6.31.Average rating: Scoring a good 6.5.£8 | Asda | Buy it now Tesco Dino Prosecco DOCFruit and lemony, Tesco suggests this Prosecco is recommended to be drunk alongside a fresh fruit salad.Best reviewer quote: One person said this tasted “like a spring meadow – lovely!” while another said it would be a suitable gift for a colleague… but not for themselves.Estimated price: At £6.55, our reviewers’ average guess was just £1 out.Average rating: Although this bottle divided opinion, the average score was 6.£7.50 | Tesco | Buy it now M&S ProseccoA vibrant refreshing bottle, this Prosecco is made with 100 per cent Glera grapes.Best reviewer quote: Another bottle to split the opinion of our focus group, one said it was “a bit like cardboard, but improves as you go”, while another declared it their favourite of all the ones they tried.Estimated price: £6.18.Average rating: 6.£8 | M&S | Buy it now Prosecco Spumante ConeglianoThe award-winning bottle was made from a 2017 Veneto grape harvest and is 11 per cent ABV.Best reviewer quote: “Nicely balanced with a fizzy aftertaste”Estimated price: £7.80, 19 pence off target.Average rating: just shy of ‘okay’ at 5.5.£7.99 | Lidl | Buy it now Harvey Nichols ProseccoProduced by the Sorelle Bronca estate, this bottle is said to be ideal with light snacks or drunk unsullied all by itself.Best reviewer quote: One of our esteemed reviewers branded this “apple-juice like, PG13”. However, another said it was a classic Prosecco.Estimated price: £7.43.Average rating: 5.£16 | Harvey Nichols | Buy it now Morrisons The Best Valdobbiadene Prosecco 75clMade with a two-grape blend, this bottle of bubbles is suitable for vegans.Best reviewer quote: the best thing someone said about this bottle was that it “looks spenny”. The worst? “I’ve drunk 15 at this point, and they all taste the same now.” We did say it was a gruelling test.Estimated price: £7.Average rating: 5.£8 | Morrisons | Buy it now *On sale from £10 Selfridges Selection Prosecco Made under the shadow of the mighty Dolomites, this own-brand bottle from one of the UK's best food halls is perfect for celebrations.Best reviewer quote: “Dry and sour tasting” from one reviewer "refreshingly crisp" from another, this was something of a Marmite Prosecco.Estimated price: £9.11.Average rating: 4 out of 10.£13.99 | Selfridges | Buy it now BotoniqueThis de-alcoholised Prosecco replacement is packed with nutrients and minerals that alcohol normally depletes.Best reviewer quote: The most fitting comment for this zero-alcohol drink was “the beverage equivalent of a shoulder shrug.” The botanical notes confused some drinkers into thinking this was medicine, with one remarking that it “tastes like something you would serve to your child if they were afflicted with a fever.” An acquired taste, perhaps.Estimated price: our reviewers wouldn’t pay more than £4 a bottle for this booze-free alternative.Average rating: 1, this didn’t stand up well against traditional Prosecco.£7.99 | Ocado | Buy it now VerdictMarking out of a top score of 10, six of the bottles in our taste test scored 7 or higher, making them Best picks. M&S’s Conte Priuli ORO Prosecco not only looks the part but tastes amazing too, making it a worthy gift for someone special or to pop at a party. Contenders from Aldi, Asda and Sainsbury’s were also extremely impressive. * Read more Best daybeds 2019