The new Afternoon Tea at Principal York celebrates chocolate

The new chef in Director YorkAaron Craig said he was determined to bring a taste of Yorkshire to the menu at The Refectory Kitchen and Terrace when he took charge earlier this year.

Aaron, who worked for Heston Blumenthal, has now expanded his brief by introducing an all-new afternoon tea that tells the delicious tale of York’s rich chocolate heritage.

York Press: Aaron CraigAaron Craig (Image: Director York)

Located in the shadow of York Train Station in the city’s grande dame hotel, the Principal York, the restaurant is open to the public and hotel guests all year round. Afternoon tea is served in the Garden Room.

The city’s famed chocolate factories, Rowntree’s and Terry’s, once employed more than 14,000 people. The smell of cocoa still wafts through the city today, and the Nestle factory continues to produce Eros, Yorkies and Milky Bars, as well as around five million KitKats every day.

York Press: The Garden Room overlooks the hotel's manicured lawnsThe garden room overlooks the manicured lawns of the hotel

We were fortunate to be invited to sample the menu which began with a glass of champagne overlooking the director’s manicured lawns.

When the tea and coffee were served, a variety of classic cut-finger salmon, egg, ham, cream cheese and pickle sandwiches arrived from local Yorkshire suppliers, along with a Wensleydale cheese and caramelised onion tart. Everything was plentiful and tasted delicious.

York Press: Afternoon Tea at The Principal YorkAfternoon tea at The Principal York (Image: Principal)

The main event, however, was the cake rows, which consisted of five chocolatey treats inspired by York’s chocolatiers.

We weren’t disappointed trying brownies and macaroons with orange, mint, nut and creamy flavors.

When we got to the “big one” – a purple choux pastry bun with brioche crumbs, filled with hazelnuts and caramel – we barely had room to eat, but it was worth the extra effort as it was something of a sensation.

All that was left was to sit back and enjoy the surroundings of the garden room, which apparently was once frequented by Queen Victoria.

York Press: The Garden RoomThe garden room (Image: Principal)

Afternoon tea is served daily from 12pm to 4pm and costs £29 per person. Guests can upgrade to Prosecco for £34.50 per person, or for the ultimate celebration champagne can be included for £39 per person. The new Afternoon Tea at Principal York celebrates chocolate

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