Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Review: Afternoon Tea at Farnham Estate Golf & Spa Resort, Cavan

The luxurious Farnham Estate Golf & Spa resort is situated in spectacular countryside not far from Cavan Town and is a lovely mix between the old and the new. Period buildings sit comfortably beside the modern architecture of the newer parts of the hotel. This is a place where guests can enjoy contemporary comforts along with the traditions of years gone by.
 
Afternoon tea in Farnham Estate is an elegant affair served in either the Music Room or in the Middle Drawing Room in the original main house and is available between 1pm and 5pm daily. I was welcomed by Conor who showed me to my table in the Music Room which was dressed with a crisp white linen tablecloth. Seated on a large comfortable couch in the beautiful room which was tastefully decorated in soothing colours, I felt like I was in a different world.
 
Art Deco stand
The Afternoon Tea Menu is nicely laid out with a good range of sandwiches and pastries available. Scones are also included and come with raspberry jam, butter and clotted cream. At €25 per person it is reasonably priced. You can also elect to have a Champagne Afternoon Tea which includes a glass of Moet & Chandon (€40 per person) or Prosecco Afternoon Tea with a glass of Prosecco frizzante (€34 per person), which I decided to go for.  This was served with a small bowl of fresh ripe strawberries which I nibbled on as I sipped my Prosecco and decided which tea to choose.
 
There is a good choice of teas available including black teas, green teas and herbal infusions which are supplied by Ronnefeldt. Tea is taken very seriously in Farnham Estate with each, depending on your choice, requiring different ‘drawing’ times. Loose leaf tea is served in warmed china tea-pots and you are given a little tea-timer which indicates when your tea is ready to pour. Impressed by the selection available I eventually chose the Irish Whiskey Cream – a flavoured malty assam, this black tea has wonderful background notes of whiskey and chocolate. I absolutely loved it.
 
Smoked Salmon
As my tea was drawing, sandwiches, pastries and scones were delivered to the table by Conor. Presented on a pretty 3-tiered Art Deco cake stand they looked extremely tempting and I couldn’t wait to dig in.
 
The sandwiches, all of which use breads that are baked on the premises, are filled with an interesting combination of ingredients. I was very impressed with the breads as each was baked to perfection and full of flavour. The Multigrain Bread, Smoked Salmon, Lime & Tomato Mayonnaise was lovely and was beautifully presented as an open sandwich with the salmon formed into a rosette which was placed on the bread in a decorative fashion.  The mayonnaise was particularly flavoursome and complimented the salmon perfectly.
 
Ham, Cheese, Relish
The next sandwich – a Sour Dough, Porterhouse Cheese, McCarren’s Ham & Ballymaloe Relish was also very good with top quality ingredients used throughout. The mini sour dough baguette was excellent and I loved the sweet fruitiness of the Ballymaloe Relish with the well-flavoured cheese.
 
The final offering, and my favourite, was another open sandwich that looked stunning. Tomato Bread, Vine Cherries, Goat’s Cheese Mousse with Pistachio Crumb was heavenly to eat with flavours that danced in the mouth. All too often tomato breads are bland but this one was packed full of tomato flavour which accentuated the soft creaminess of the goat’s cheese perfectly. The pistachio crumb was a nice touch and added an extra layer of flavour and texture. Delicious!
 
Fruit Tart
At this stage I was feeling very relaxed and was thoroughly enjoying the whole experience so after a short hiatus decided to move on to the pastries. Again, these little bite-sized treats were beautiful to behold and it was obvious that a lot of skill and understanding of the processes involved had gone into making them.
 
The range of pastries was very good and included a Chocolate Brownie which was soft and chewy and made as a brownie should be and a light and airy White Chocolate Cheesecake topped with a tart lime jelly which cut through the sweetness of the white chocolate. These were both very good and well thought-out.
 
I also loved the little Tart with Vanilla Custard & Fresh Soft Fruit. The pastry crumbled pleasingly in the mouth and contrasted well against the creamy filling whilst the fresh fruit cleansed the palate. The tart tasted delicious and was extremely pretty to look at.
 
Carrot Cake
A very well-made Carrot Cake was the final pastry/cake offering. Iced with a sweet but slightly tangy cream cheese frosting this was extremely good. Too often carrot cakes are dry, lack flavour and are engulfed by too much icing. Here, the balance was perfect.
 
Scones provided the finale to the afternoon tea and were very good indeed. Light with a slightly chewy crumb, they were served warm which I really liked. Split and then spread with butter and jam and topped with a dollop of clotted cream, I truly felt as if I hadn’t a care in the world. With the scones, I decided to try another of the wonderful teas offered as part of the Farnham Estate Afternoon Tea and chose Granny’s Garden a fruity herbal infusion made with fresh rhubarb and vanilla bourbon. This was something different to what I would normally choose but I really enjoyed it.
 
Scone, Clotted Cream & Jam
Afternoon Tea in Farnham house was one of the most relaxing afternoons I have had in a long time. You are encouraged to sit back and enjoy the whole experience and you never feel rushed by the wonderful staff. My waiter Conor was highly knowledgeable on all aspects of the afternoon tea and the history of Farnham Estate. Ably assisted by the lovely Ronan, the two of them made the whole experience all the more enjoyable.
 
Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Golf & Spa Resort
Farnham Estate
Cavan
 
Telephone: 049-4377700
 
This review first appeared in TheTaste.ie