There are two types of people — those who like afternoon tea and those who don’t.
Being an obsessive foodie (and although I find the term painfully cringe-worthy), there is no need to say I belong to the first group. Yes, I love my food. And yes, I have a sweet tooth too. But to be honest, that is not all about it.
To me, there is something vaguely ritual about the whole tea-time experience: the idea of dressing in your best best to share good food and a lovely conversation with someone you appreciate; the endless succession of spongy scones, coated in a decadent foam of jam and custard, immaculately presented in the finest china. Afternoon tea represents the luxury of quality time — winding down from our usual fast-pace everyday routine.
As soon as we decided to visit Budapest last month, we booked the Herend Afternoon Tea experience at the Four Seasons Hotel as a birthday present for me. We’d had a nice time there the previous Summer and were looking to upgrade the game. And guys, I am so glad we did!
Four Seasons is located a the Gresham Palace, a 1906 Art Nouveau building which offers enviable views over the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and the Danube. The palace itself is a true national treasure and it is worth a visit, even if you only go for a coffee. But let’s talk about Herend Tea.
Afternoon Tea is served every day from 15.00 to 18.00 in the hotel lobby and tea lounge, where you can listen to a live piano concert. An elegant Herend porcelain table is set with bountiful bites and a cup of Gresham Tea, setting the ultimate mood for an afternoon at the Gresham Palace. The china service is one of the most beautiful sets I have ever seen in real life, decorated with dainty colours and floral details. Next time, I would love to purchase a set for our personal collection (the hotel offers a specialized porcelain boutique for customers).
The tea selection includes white Yea Long, superior Oolong, Finest Shizuoka Sencha, Superior Gyokuro, Golden Assam, Earl Grey, Yunnan Black Mao Feng and Massala among others. If you are a tea lover, you can’t miss the chance to taste some of their available range (when in Budapest, I enjoy paying them a daily visit just for a cup of tea and to rest from shopping and city sighting).
But the absolute winner here is food. Afternoon tea is served both with a sweet and savoury offer: from Tramezzini (a bold smoked trout, mustard and dill sauce bite) to their absolutely delicious triple chocolate cake, everything was simply divine. My personal favourite? Their confit duck sandwich is to die for (and I really mean it, some days the craving is still HARD, let me tell you. Like waking-up-at-three-in-the-morning-wih-a-craving kind of hard).
Not only the food quality is fantastic, but also the quantity is very generous: Sebastian and I are both good eaters, and even so we barely managed to try every delicious piece. (As you can see in the photos, I was wearing a flowy dress that day. Thank heavens I did so: none of my trousers would have fitted afterward comfortably…)
The staff working there is truly kind and well-mannered and they would explain to you everything about the different types of snacks and drinks provided, assisting you at all times.
Finally, the price for the afternoon service is around twenty euros per person, which can be slightly increased if you choose to enhance the experience with a cheeky glass of Kreinbacher Sparkling Wine or Veuve Cliquot Rosé N.V. (and c’mon, we all enjoy the occasional champagne glass, right? Actually, every meal would be better with some champagne, if you ask me). But overall, the price-quality relationship is impressive all things considered. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just enjoying your city break, I would recommend the experience to anyone.
Are you into high tea? What is your favourite afternoon tea experience so far?
(Disclaimer: To be crystal clear here, this post is not sponsored in any way. We paid for the whole event and this post shows my honest opinion as a customer strictly.)