The delicious savory selection
The delicious savory selection

A spring afternoon tea at Gleneagles Hotel

It may have been a typically dreich April afternoon in Perthshire, but there is little that can cast a shadow over the grandeur of Gleneagles Hotel.

Rushing through the revolving doors to escape the drizzle we made for Glendevon, a room with the most stunning views over the hotel’s perfectly manicured grounds to the Ochil Hills, which we managed to just about glimpse through the mist. The décor is full on 1920s elegance and we marvelled at the opportunity to take afternoon tea in such glamorous surroundings.

Gleneagles new Spring Afternoon Tea has just launched and to match the fresh and seasonal offerings on the food menu I plumped for a White Peony Tea, refreshingly cucumbery with sweet honey notes. The tea arrived in a gorgeous and weighty silver pot, perfectly in-keeping with the surroundings.

The delicious savory selection

The feast began with an amuse bouche of courgette veloute with citrus cream, served in a dainty china cup, the veloute was rich and green and provided a welcome warm glow ahead of the first of our two stands of afternoon tea delights.

The savoury selection included a rich haggis bon bon with a rich whisky mayo, new season asparagus wrapped in crisp pancetta and a cube of coronation salmon served with a golden raisin chutney on a crisp rye cracker. My favourite though, was the broad bean and pea tart with crisp corn and mint oil.

The freshness of the greenery providing a glorious contrast to the perfectly crisp and buttery pastry. Delicious Tweed Valley roast beef and smoked salmon finger sandwiches as well as a mini brioche bun generously filled with duck egg mayo and mustard cress sat on the lower level of our savoury stand.

The splendid setting of the Glendevon

After a welcome freshen up of the tea pots and the opportunity to swap to my old favourite Earl Grey the sweet stand arrived, along with a tray of cake slices to choose from. I chose the Edinburgh Gin and grapefruit cake (who wouldn’t) and my tea friend kept it traditional with a rich Dundee cake with confit fruits. Saving these till last was an error in judgement as neither of us could manage to eat them.

Thankfully our lovely waitress boxed them up, allowing us to take them home and save a little bit of the experience for the next day. The warm scones were literally irresistible when combined with Gleneagles & Co’s own jams and rich clotted cream. I’d be hard pushed to choose a favourite between the treacle scone and the Dalwhinnie soaked apple and sultana scone.

But the crowning glory of the tea was surely the sweets, which were achingly beautiful. The lemon and lime leaf tart with Tahitian mascarpone and elderflower was a ball of shimmering citrus sweetness sat atop a shortbread style biscuit and encased in a ring of white chocolate.

The Jivara milk chocolate cremeux with Earl Grey tea mousseline and orange blossom honey was beautifully layered and adorned with gold leaf.

The dessert selection

However, I’ve left the best till last with the shocking pink orb of loveliness that was the custard bavarois with rhubarb compote on a liquorice sable biscuit. Imagine the most refined rhubarb and custard that you can possibly think of and you might be getting close to the wonder of this little dessert which combined the acidity of the rhubarb with the rich and creamy custard to perfection.

We were so well looked after at Gleneagles, it was just the antidote to a wet Monday afternoon. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable about the menu, despite it being new to them. If you’re looking to treat someone to an afternoon of old fashioned luxury and unadulterated foodie pleasure then look no further.

Afternoon Tea is £45 per person including a selection of teas or coffee. If you wish to indulge further, the Celebration tea with a glass of champagne is £62.50.

The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, PH3 1NF.

01764 662231