Vegan Life reviews the afternoon tea at Carey’s Manor, who introduced a vegan option after noticing a growing demand with customers
The classic argument — cream or jam first — is debated with as much passion as whether you say sc-ow-ne or sc-o-ne. However, one thing we can all agree on is that scones loaded with cool cream and sweet fruit jam are simply delicious. For so many years the wonderful experience of afternoon tea has eluded vegans. Thankfully, afternoon teas SFV have been popping up all over the UK in recent months and therefore we will be giving you a list of excellent establishments to visit which will satisfy your afternoon tea craving.
The idea for afternoon tea dates back to the 1840’s where late evening meals left a long period between lunch and dinner. At this time, tea was becoming incredibly fashionable and adding a light snack to the mid-afternoon cup of tea soon evolved into a tradition. Today, the light snack has evolved into a meal in its own right and this quintessentially English tradition is still popular today.
In this feature we will be reviewing the afternoon tea at Carey’s Manor, located in the New Forest National Park. We also have some incredible afternoon tea recipes for you including rye bread open sandwiches, crostini with tapenade and carrot cake with cashew frosting.
Carey’s Manor Hotel introduced a vegan afternoon tea this summer after witnessing a rise in vegan and flexitarian diners at their hotel. Hotel Manager, Lorella Negro, told us: “The main reason we started the vegan afternoon tea was simply the rise in demand from our guests coming to tea. We found we had a lot of requests for vegan afternoon tea and we wanted a consistent and unique offering that we could be proud of and really to make our guests feel as privileged and welcomed as our other afternoon tea guests.
“The reaction so far, from people I have spoken too and reviews I have read, has been very positive. Our guests have enjoyed having a lovely afternoon tea that is just as special as our [traditional] offering.”
The experience began with perusing loose leaf teas from Camella’s Tea House. You can choose from mango tea, mint green tea, chocolate tea, rooibos, white apricot, chai or Carey’s Manor signature black tea, among others. The white apricot tea is floral, clean and cooling, perfect for the summer but you must try their signature tea (when in Rome…), which is strong and full — perfect for those who like a ‘proper’ tea.
Traditionally, you begin your afternoon tea with finger sandwiches but Carey’s offer miniature wraps — tomato and avocado, carrot and pomegranate — as well as open sandwiches topped with avocado and falafel.
Following this, you will be presented with fruit scones accompanied by coconut cream and strawberry jam. The freshly baked scones are crunchy on the inside and fluffy, soft and warm as you bite through them. The jam, clearly homemade, is packed with whole strawberries and is just a little runny; the coconut cream is fresh and cuts through the sweetness perfectly.
Finally, the afternoon tea finale compromises of chocolate compote, an apricot and pistachio tart, coconut chocolate truffles and peanut butter rice crispy cake. The apricot and pistachio tart is a pleasant combination of sweet, soft apricot and crunchy pistachio enveloped in puff pastry. However, the unlikely star has to be the peanut butter rice crispy cake, not something that you would expect to see on an afternoon tea menu. It is sticky, crunchy and a deliciously savoury treat.
This mammoth afternoon tea is not something to take on lightly. You will need several lackadaisical hours to get through it all, and an empty stomach, but for just £24 you definitely get your money’s worth.
You can indulge in hydrotherapy following your afternoon tea as the spa at Carey’s uses vegan, cruelty-free products. The SenSpa is an authentic Thai spa and was voted Best Spa in The South-East in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Whether you choose to recline on the underwater benches, soak in the hydrotherapy pool or detox in the sauna, the SenSpa is a guilt-free paradise. Access to the pool, Jacuzzi, gym and sauna are also free for guests staying at the hotel.
If the thought of taking a dip so soon after eating doesn’t appeal, stretch your legs and enjoy the beautiful surrounding in the New Forest National Park. Mind has reported that walking in the forest can reduce feelings of depression by approximately 70 per cent. Try the nearby town of Highcliffe to visit the historic home of Harry Selfridge (founder of Selfridge’s) or stay closer to the hotel and walk through Brokenhurst Park. The concierge at Carey’s is fantastic and can point you in the right direction, whatever your need.
Carey’s should be congratulated on its vegan afternoon tea. As a well-known, historic hotel, Carey’s could be resting on their laurels. However, they have recognised the growing number of vegans looking for the afternoon tea experience and have risen to the challenge.
Find out more about Carey’s Manor at careysmanor.com