What is a chocolate afternoon tea?

6 Apr 2020

Food + Drink

You’ve heard of afternoon tea, you’ve heard of high tea, but have you ever heard of chocolate afternoon tea? Don’t worry if not – our Rabot 1745 restaurant can show you!

An afternoon tea can be a wonderful assortment of bite sized savoury and sweet treats. Or it can mean a plate of bland cucumber sandwiches and crumbly tasteless cakes. At Hotel Chocolat, our Rabot 1745 restaurant aims to put any reservations you might have about the classic afternoon tea by adding a bit of luxury to it.

We decided to modernise the traditional afternoon tea by turning it into a chocolate afternoon tea. Whilst we held back our cocoa urges on the savoury selection, using only mild delicate cocoa flavours such as cocoa nibs to add a mellow bite to our egg mayonnaise brioche, we let our patisserie chefs run wild with their chocolate imaginations when it came to the sweet options. Indulgent without being sickly, our chocolate afternoon tea adds some decadence to your day at an affordable price.

Where does afternoon tea come from?

Although tea is now characterised as a quintessentially British beverage, it was actually a Chinese drink, imported to England in the 17th century. Whilst tea was enjoyed for decades, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the concept of afternoon started to brew.

In 1840 Duchess Anna of Bedford, complained of “having that sinking feeling” come late afternoon. She therefore started taking a light snack – such as a slice of bread and butter – and a cup of tea at 4pm each day. This quickly became popular amongst the aristocracy: after she invited friends around to join her, many other noblewomen became accustomed to the event. Soon, the practice of having a light bite between the time of 4pm-5pm was highly popular, with women even dressing up for the event.

Our afternoon tea journey

Although we now have our Rabot 1745 restaurant based in Borough Market, London’s best foodie venues, our journey started off in lands far away. After the founders of Hotel Chocolat – Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris – spent four years restoring the 250-year-old Rabot Estate cocoa plantation on the island of St Lucia, they wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the island.

This inspired them to set up the Boucan restaurant and hotel on the estate grounds, serving dishes influenced by the West Indies, using roasted cocoa beans as a subtle savoury spice and garnish, just as it had originally been used before the invention of chocolate.

As the popularity of our restaurant and hotel grew, we knew it was time to bring our restaurant back to where it all started. This is why, in 2013, we opened the doors to our Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market. Along with other mouth-watering dishes, we offer a chocolate Afternoon Tea of the Gods for those who desire a hit of cocoa to elevate their cake, sandwiches and tea.

The chocolate Afternoon Tea of the Gods

Heavenly tastes are captured in our chocolate afternoon tea, served at our Rabot 1745 restaurant. We believe that chocolate can be used to lift both sweet and savoury treats: our Hereford beef is marinated for 24 hours with treacle and parkin spices, complimented by a fiery wasabi horseradish, tempered with our high-cocoa butter white to recreate the typical beef and horseradish sarnie.

Those with a sweet-tooth will be pleased to know that we haven’t cut back on cocoa flavours with our cakes and scones: we compliment our sultana and cinnamon scone with strawberry jam, clotted cream and 70% chocolate ganache for a sumptuous, regal scone. Our chocolate and cherry opera gateau is made up of chocolate mousse, cherry purée and Madagascan vanilla sponge. Topped with dark chocolate ganache and a kirsch-soaked cherry, this petite chocolate cake combines deep cocoa flavours with a sophisticated tang of cherry. And, of course, no chocolate afternoon tea would be complete without our tasting chocolate selection.

If tea doesn’t quite suit your tastes, our four bean Arabica blend offers the smoothest coffee. If you prefer a sweeter beverage, our completely natural hot chocolate promises the creamiest texture, with opulent notes of cocoa running throughout.

At our Rabot 1745 restaurant, we offer all this – and more! Our chocolate Afternoon Tea of the Gods may have been born from the aristocracy, but we believe this regal treat can be enjoyed by everyone.