Cost – £22.00 (Mar 2017)
Background – When I was young my mother attended Putteridge Bury Teacher Training College, as it was known in those days, and trained to become a teacher. She died in 2009 and is much missed. During one of my Afternoon Tea browsing sessions my eye was caught by an advert for Afternoon Teas at Putteridge Bury College, which is now part of the University of Bedford. I investigated further and found that they offer just a very few dates each year when you can go and have afternoon tea at the college. One of these dates was a special one to celebrate Mothering Sunday. It seemed a perfect place to have a special Tea, along with my sister and our partners, to remember our Mother.
The buildings that make up the college are quite grand and there is a long driveway leading up to it from the main road.
There are also some gardens to the rear of the building where we were able to have a pleasant walk after our Tea.
The discussions / arguments we had over the sandwiches and cakes were definitely part of this Tea and would have been enjoyed just as much as the Afternoon Tea by our Mum if she had been there!
Contents – Eighteen finger sandwiches between four of us (three each of ham and cucumber, smoked salmon and cucumber, cheese and pickle, prawn, egg mayonnaise and Coronation chicken). Two medium sized fruit scones each, a large dish of strawberry jam and a large dish of clotted cream. A selection of twelve different small cakes between the four of us and a glass of either Prosecco or Schloer. The tea was made with tea bags in a stainless steel teapot.
Comments – We were allocated a table in one of about five rooms that were serving the special Afternoon Tea. There were lots of tables in the rather grand room. All of which were filled. There were four of us having this Tea.
We were offered a glass of either rose Prosecco or Schloer first of all. We then waited some time before the Afternoon Tea was served. When it eventually arrived we received a large plate of sandwiches for the four of us. This was followed by another large plate containing eight scones. The little cakes were served on a two-tier spindle type cake stand.
The number of sandwiches we received totally baffled us. Why eighteen between four of us? But more bizarre was having three of each type between four of us! Other tables with four people on were served the same but those with three people on got fifteen sandwiches! It was very odd and gave us much to talk / argue about during the Tea!
The sandwiches were all reasonably well filled and it was nice to see such a variety of flavours.
The scones were not homemade but were fresh. There was plenty of catering type jam and of clotted cream but this was helped by having our non-cream eating person with us. We asked for some butter for her scones but were given small pots of Flora instead.
The cakes were small and there was only one of each type. We managed to divvy them up between us with much debate and discussion. They were not homemade cakes.
The tea was initially brought round and poured individually. However, when we asked for a second cup we were brought a teapot for the table. We didn’t have a further refill. The tea was made with tea bags and was a good strength.
Service was slow but there were a lot of people all wanting serving at the same moment. When we were served it was friendly and polite.