[AD] I was already a convert to the delights of a Cavendish afternoon tea (read my original review) so when I was invited to dine in their new Garden Room I couldn’t have accepted quicker. The Cavendish Hotel is a blissfully luxurious, quintessentially English hotel. Located in the pretty village of Baslow, it offers the perfect countryside escape, in the heart of the Peak District.
The Cavendish has built a reputation as one of the finest hotels in Derbyshire and the Peak District. Part of the Chatsworth Estate, the hotel uses many ingredients from the kitchen gardens at Chatsworth. Afternoon tea is served daily (advance booking required) and consists of a decadent feast of freshly cut, dainty finger sandwiches, savoury treats such as a home baked sausage roll, freshly baked buttermilk scones with clotted cream and homemade preserve and an exquisite range of patisserie. All accompanied by freshly brewed tea, speciality infusions (of which there is an impressive selection) or fresh coffee.
It was a beautifully sunny day although the Garden Room was comfortably cool inside. Tastefully decorated with plenty of nods to the great outdoors, the Garden Room looks out onto a magnificent terrace with unrivalled views of the Chatsworth park. I arrived a few minutes before my friend and was warmly welcomed by staff, and then left to savour the scenery.
Once my lovely friend, Debs arrived – we were quickly furnished with two chilled glasses of champagne – such a decadent treat for a Friday lunchtime! But if one can’t push the boat out for an afternoon tea, when will one?!
In due course, two majestic tea stands were placed before us. My companion is vegetarian so instead of my delightfully flaky sausage roll, Debs enjoyed a wonderfully fresh looking bruschetta. We both enjoyed the small sliver of crustless quiche, packed with fresh summer flavours. The sandwiches were delightfully uniform, generously stuffed with a range of fillings. I adored the smoked salmon and dill crème fraiche and the cheese savoury especially.
Since it was such a hot day, Restaurant Manager, Stuart Bond encouraged us to try a chilled, sparkling tea. Served with fresh mint from the Chatsworth kitchen gardens, this was utterly delicious, delightfully refreshing and would be a perfect alternative to alcohol.
In my mind, one of the defining features of an excellent afternoon tea is the quality of the scones. As you’d expect, the offering at the Cavendish is exceptionally good. Freshly baked, buttermilk scones, one fruit, one plain, accompanied by thick clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam (itself an utter delight of flavour and texture). These really were exceptionally good.
Finally it was on to the cakes! There was a mouth-watering selection – from a strawberry and basil pavlova to a wickedly chocolatey affair. One of my favourites was the light-as-air sponge cake, with flavours of rosemary and white chocolate and topped with juicy fresh raspberries.
Afterwards we were kindly offered a box to take away the leftovers, initially we demurely declined but were encouraged to by the incredibly friendly and warm hearted staff – and this proved an excellent decision. Why not share the love eh?!
Overall, yet again I left feeling utterly pampered. Afternoon tea at the Cavendish is such a luxurious, decadent treat. The food is, of course, exceptionally good -the absolute best in Derbyshire in fact. But the stunning location and the brilliant staff just makes such a winning combination. Every bit as good as any fancy hotel in London. I urge you, treat yourself, or buy a voucher as a gift for a loved one for the ultimate treat.
Exceptionally well executed afternoon tea in a beautiful setting.
The Cavendish Hotel, Church Lane, Baslow, Bakewell DE45 1SP, 01246 582311
Car park on site
Full Afternoon Tea – £35.00 per person, Champagne Afternoon Tea – from £50.75 per person, advance booking required.