Last weekend was a celebration of birthdays. It was my birthday, and Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her official 90th birthday. Her actual birthday is at the end of April, but it's celebrated in June due to better weather. Unfortunately, the better weather was not to be on the 12th of June as we had a lot of showers. Forunately, I could celebrate inside a dry room with afternoon tea at St. Ermin's hotel near St. James' Park.
The afternoon tea would have taken place in the courtyard in street party style had the weather been nice. It was moved inside to St. Ermin's ballroom instead, where the centrepiece of the room is a stunning chandelier. A live brass band performed above, and the room was decorated with patriotic bunting. The venue also promised to show the events of the day unfolding not far away live on television. There wasn't any sound, but we could see Kate and William greeting guests and the queen and her husband riding in an open-top vehicle while waving to people and then step outside for a speech.
The events unfolding took place on the Mall, the long drive from Buckingham Palace. The Mall was lined with tables for thousands of lucky people who were patrons of charities. This was dubbed "The Patron's Lunch".
I received my 'welcome drink', which was champagne mixed with blackberry or raspberry liquer and a red raspberry on top.
The sandwiches were lobster, salmon, ham, and cucumber.
After I had finished them, the warm scones came out in a basket with clotted cream and strawberry jam. They were different flavours, apparently, but I had smoothered them with clotted cream and jam so I could not taste an individual flavour.
The pastries were all royal-themed, and I will describe them below.
Espresso Choux Bun with crust and decedent decort chocolat: I am glad that this did not taste of coffee, but it had a subtle creamy-caramel taste.
Chocolate and Scottish raspberry opera grand torte with chocolate ganache, raspberry and dark chocolate glaze and decort chocolat: This did taste delicious with a creamy chocolate mousse texture. A red raspberry, flower petal, and meringue kiss sealed the deal.
Tongan vanilla custard with poached Yorkshire rhubarb and meringue: Decorated like a crown, this pot of custard was tart and sweet, but I was not a fan of it. I do typically like rhubarb, but the texture of it put me off.
Last (but not least), the dark green pastry almost matched the colour of the Queen's dress the previous day.
Scottish Shortbread with pistachio, lemon lime curd dome with bejewelled glaze: This had a jelly-like texture and was a mix of lemon and shortbread primarily.
How did you celebrate?