Last weekend involved a lot of firsts for me. My first time ever in Birmingham (I've changed trains at the train station a few times and I've been to Cadbury World, but I'm pretty sure those don't count), my first ever 'blogger meet up' and my first ever afternoon tea.
We met at Hotel La Tour in Birmingham and as my first ever afternoon tea the food definitely did not disappoint. The first 'course' was a mixture of finger sandwiches which were pretty good as sandwiches go and then welsh rarebit and soldiers. I still don't know what this actually is but it seemed like a really posh cheese on toast and that ticks all my boxes.
The second tier of our tea was the english classic and afternoon tea staple, scones with cream and jam. There was a brief debate on the correct ordering for scones as we were all keen not to offend any fellow foodies who might be sensitive on the subject but I don't think we reached any real consensus (does anyone know the answer to this? please let me know!). I thought the scones were really nice, and with five to share between 3 of us I definitely felt we were getting our moneys worth out of the meal!
The real star of the show though was, of course, the desserts. The christmas themed sweet selection included gingerbread men (although for some reason ours had sad and angry faces, so maybe we weren't there favourite customers of the day!), macarons and my favourite, walnut whip christmas trees.
I had mixed feelings about the venue, it had plenty of space, comfy seats and large windows giving plenty of that natural light that we bloggers love so much. Later on in the afternoon there was also some live music which I really enjoyed. It definitely felt very sophisticated and it wasn't like the sort of place I'd usually stop for tea on a weekend but it didn't scream with personality for me either. The seating was a little awkward with the ten of us spread across two sofas placed very far apart and our tables were so taken over by the tea that there was no room for any of the food (spreading jam onto a scone on your lap can get a little bit messy!).
Overall I had a really nice time though and the food was really good, definitely good enough that I'd make a second visit. It was also really nice to talk about all things food and blogging for a few hours with people who weren't rolling their eyes. Although the staff at Hotel La Tour must have thought it was pretty weird/hilarious when they brought over the food and all of us pulled out cameras and started running around to try and get a photo.
The other girls were really lovely and I feel pretty lucky to get to meet such great people through blogging even though I'm still very new to it all. Their blogs are all fantastic too, please do check them out. Recipes and Reviews, Fork and Good, Gingey Bites, Unorganised Chaos, Penne For Your Thoughts, Birmingham Student Foodie, Hello Terri Lowe, Full to the Brum and The Foodie Couple.
Emily who was a complete star and planned the afternoon, had also arranged some gift bags for us with some more foods to try. I haven't had a chance to test out most of mine yet so I'll be tweeting/blogging about some of them after Christmas but my initial favourite was definitely this chocolate box from Thorntons. A ring of nougat and a selection of 'continental' themed chocolates, I thought this looked so much more impressive than a standard box of chocs and would probably make an amazing christmas gift. In the name of blogging though Dave and I ate the whole thing to ourselves, just so we could check it was alright.
**Disclaimer: Hotel La Tour did not know we'd be writing about them and we paid for all food and drink ourselves. The chocolates were very kindly given to us as part of our gift bags. All opinions expressed are my own.