The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, is fast becoming a foodies heaven. As well as serving delicious food across all of their restaurants they also give you the option to go along and learn how to make the meals at their live cookery demonstrations.
I was invited along to the Afternoon Tea cookery demonstration* with the pastry chef Karl and his assistant. The demonstration was held in the bright and airy Garden Room. There were only three rows of spectators meaning that everyone had a decent view, there were also two large TVs enabling us to see the intricate processes with ease.
On entering the room there were recipe cards on each chair, these were great to follow along and will enable us to attempt to re-create the recipes ourselves at home.
Karl made five cakes in total, he went through the process of making each one in great detail and we got to sample each cake.
First up were the Strawberry & Elderflower Cream 99's. These were beautiful. I wish I'd made a note of the fillings used as the recipe is just for the cones. I would like to attempt the vanilla cones myself as they were very light and look super cute.
This was the Pate De Fruit 'Jammie Dodgers'. This was nice but very wobbly, so wobbly that the jelly part fell off mine and onto my camera! We have the recipe for both the Pate De Fruit and the shortbread biscuit.
The lemon & Raspberry Trifle with Pistachio Biscotti packed a punch. These were bursting with flavour and were very refreshing. We were provided with the recipe for the trifle, the curd and the biscotti.
Freeze Dried Berry & Almond Battenberg. I'm not the greatest fan of Marzipan but I gave this a go and I did actually enjoy it, though I couldn't eat too much of it. The flavours in the battenberg were strong enough that the sweetness of the marzipan wasn't too overbearing. The lovely red sheen on the top of these is from a spray can of red chocolate, I need spray chocolate in my life!
Last but by no means least Karl made the Queen of Pudding Tarts. We weren't given the recipe for this one, I guess they can't give away all of their secrets! These were delicious and I could have happily eaten the whole tray.
As well as making cakes for us they also decorated a few to their afternoon tea standards. Karl and his team made making all of these look like child's play, I'm sure if I tried to make them they would turn out no where near as tasty or pretty as this.
Karl and his assistant did a great job of talking us through the recipes, making the cakes under pressure and answering all of the questions that were fired at them. It was a fantastic experience and the day wasn't over yet...
After absorbing all that information and cake we retreated to the comfortable sofas and enjoyed a rose infused G&T, in adorable teacups. Why do drinks taste nicer in teacups?
As if we hadn't already been spoilt enough we were then taken through for the Summer Afternoon Tea, the theme for which is Very Berry Garden Party.
Once we were settled in we were presented with a selection of six teas, I would like to see a few more tea choices on the menu as I really like floral rose scented teas which are never an option at The Celtic Manor.
As well as a pot of tea each we were also given a glass of raspberry lemonade.
The first part of the tea was served in this cute little hamper, Alice's part is slightly different to mine as she is a vegetarian. The standard contents are a Leek & Snowdonia Red Devil cheese tartlet, mini brioche bridge roll with Wentlooge egg mayonnaise and cress, Chorizo, basil and spinach frittata, Coronation chicken wrap. All of these were delicious, the frittata being my favourite.
The main event! Again, mine and Alice's differ slightly due to them catering to her Vegetarian requirements. The finger sandwiches were to share and we had one plate of cakes each.
The standard sandwich selection consists of hilltop honey roasted ham and grain mustard, smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives, cucumber with lemon and mint mayonnaise and Hafod cheese and pickle sandwich. Picking a favourite sandwich is difficult, I usually go for salmon because it is my favourite sandwich filling, but, the lemon and mint mayonnaise in with the cucumber made that sandwich extra special.
The cakes were different to the ones that we had sampled earlier on which was great as it meant that we got to sample a lot of different cakes. These were raspberry and elderflower meringue, blueberry and vanilla cream tartlet, apple and blackberry pastry puff, strawberry, white chocolate and almond mousse and citrus scented red berry pate de fruit. I can't pick a favourite of the cakes, I enjoyed them all so much! The only downside with the cakes was that Alice received the mousse which isn't suitable for vegetarians, I'm sure they would have happily changed it if this was mentioned but it seems like such a shame when they managed to cater everything else specifically for her and missed this one small thing.
As you can probably imagine by this point we were very full, yet, there was still more food to come...
The goji berry and chia seed scones were served warm in a cute picnic basket along with strawberry preserve, berry curd and clotted cream. I liked the addition of the curd as well as the usual jam and cream, it was nice to have the choice of something a little bit different.
I really recommend the cookery demonstration, with afternoon tea costing £32 on a Saturday and the demonstration costing £40 it really is worth spending that extra £8 per person. You are greeted with tea and coffee, get to watch the cookery demonstration, sample the delicious cakes & a rose infused Gin & Tonic, take the recipes home with you and enjoy the standard afternoon tea on top.
Despite this being very good value for money it may be a little out of budget for some, but don't let the prices put you off, the same delicious afternoon tea is served Monday - Friday for the fantastic price of £24. There is also a new vintage afternoon tea served in the Manor House on a Sunday costing £28 per person and a cream tea at the Newbridge on Usk priced at £10 per person.