As highlighted a couple of blogs ago, I had missed out Number 12 and the title of this blog may offer clues or confuse as to the far flung destination for this afternoon tea.
At the time of taking this afternoon tea, Greater Manchester was a patchwork of Lockdown measures – not all areas experiencing Lockdown equally and the plan had been for three of us to catch up over sandwiches and scones.
With one of us very definitely confined to the house, this wasn’t going to work.
Postpone? Or cancel? An element of the latter occurred as I canceled the intended venue. Postponing seemed futile as Lockdown was likely to have been eased and re-implemented or strengthened by the time we arrived at the next date.
What to do… Loath to cancel completely, I suggested a virtual afternoon tea – actual food (my enthusiasm for virtual life does not reach that far) and the wonders of modern technology, yes, another Zoom call so that we could catch up and chat from our homes while we all ate our individual afternoon teas.
No. I did not prepare my own.
Slattery in Whitefield was the restaurant responsible for my dining.
Slattery is an award winning confectioner, chocolatier and cake baker/decorater situated in Whitefield, on the edge of Bury/Manchester. I was first introduced, in hushed tones to the restaurant and cakes, by colleagues when I worked in Bury almost 20 years ago.
People talk about their faith and beliefs in the same way as many people in Manchester talk about Slattery.
The shop is a fantastic place to visit as you look at the hand made chocolates and intricate wedding cakes. They also produce birthday cakes. These two were 40th birthday cakes for my brother (the oompa loompa on the left) last year and for myself (the Dalek on the right) a few years ago. (Yes, I bought my own birthday cake – I knew exactly what I wanted).
From the shop you can watch the chocolatiers and cake decorators at work, creating the latest bespoke creation. Slattery was awarded ‘Britains Best Celebration Cake Business 2014’ at the National Bakery industry Awards.
I had never actually tried their afternoon tea (which is somewhat remiss of me) but I recently discovered they do a takeaway option which was what I needed.
There is also an infamous “Chocolate Challenge” in their Dining Room and I have attempted and failed that but that’s another story.
So, the takeaway afternoon tea.
There will be no commentary on the setting. It was my dining room and while I like it, I’m afraid I’m not setting up as an afternoon tea venue, so readers don’t need to know too much about this.
Obviously, the afternoon tea didn’t arrive pre-presented on a three tier tray and I don’t own one. So, I went with this:
Our plan had been champagne afternoon tea but with not a bottle of fizz to be found in the house, I opened the bottle of Malmsey bought in Madeira the year before. It’s a sweet sherry and notorious for the rumour that George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence was executed by being drowned in a barrel of it during the Wars of the Roses.
Gruesome legends aside, it’s a delicious aperitif or maybe the stories add to the flavour.
Meanwhile in the afternoon tea box, the store had packed everything I needed – an array of sandwiches, pork pie and a cheese quiche – the latter not necessarily being traditional components but we’re quite close to the Lancashire border. Pork pie often features.
It’s more remarkable that there was no Bury Black Pudding.
The note in the box suggested heating the pastry savouries and on a chilly October day, this was a good suggestion. The sandwiches included cheese and pickle, egg mayonnaise and sliced chicken.
One of my friends had baked her own scones and they looked mightily impressive on screen. I had scone envy when I looked at the size of the ones packed in my take-away tea.
Slattery’s fruit scones were delicious – light and crumbly and served with strawberry jam though… thanks to being so busy chatting with my friends, I forgot to add the clotted cream.
Moving onto the cakes, Slattery, as mentioned, is famous for it’s chocolate…
…and here we had a slice of chocolate orange cake, a bakewell tart, a slice of madeira cake (by coincidence) and strawberries dipped in chocolate.
The take away menu does not specify which cakes you will receive on the day – it depends on what they are baking and I was delighted by the accidental matching of the cake and the sherry.
The cake and sweet aspect of the afternoon tea was the highlight – unsurprisingly – and for the first time in quite a long time, I was actually defeated.
The chocolate orange cake was confined to the fridge to be dealt with the following afternoon. It tasted just as good as the other cakes even with a 24 hour delay – rich dark chocolate and subtle tang of orange.
Afternoon tea at home and Zoom calling with friends obviously isn’t quite the same as meeting up in person. However, with the Lockdown rules in place, it’s an awful lot better than not catching up.
Slattery included everything necessary and it cost only £15. Obviously, I had to go to collect it but if they delivered, I might never leave the house again.