Everything you need to know about The Assembly House’s rainbow unicorn afternoon tea
- Credit: Steve Adams for The Assembly House Norwich
It's the pot of tea at the end of the rainbow...
The Assembly House in Norwich has designed a multi-coloured and fantastical new themed afternoon tea that starts just in time for the city's Pride weekend and includes a host of enchanting unicorn and rainbow cakes and desserts.
From strawberry macaron and meringue unicorns to 'unicornets' featuring a coconut and raspberry Madeleine with a golden horn and a rainbow strip, the tea will be held in the opulent dining rooms of the city centre venue which is already famous for its afternoon teas.
Even the House's signature cake, Gateau Opera - a fiendishly difficult to make cake of many layers often set as a challenge to Bake Off: Crème de la Crème contestants - has been given a rainbow twist for the limited edition tea and there's a fourth, secret, dessert which features candyfloss clouds and a sugar unicorn's head.
Designed by Assembly House pastry chef Mark Mitson, formerly of Claridge's in Mayfair, within an hour of announcing the special tea on Facebook, more than 400 teas had sold to eager unicorn fans keen to capture a flavour of the magic. Nearly 1,300 have since sold.
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'We made the rainbow Gateau Opera to show our support for Norwich Pride last year and this special tea has mushroomed from there,' said Mark, who regularly creates more than 300 afternoon teas a day at The Assembly House.
'Even the jam that will accompany our fruit scones will have a touch of sparkle! We are extremely proud of our traditional afternoon tea and regularly change the cakes that we offer with it but this was a chance to do something completely different and showcase just what we can do.'
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Mark added that the House's cake counter will also be stocking three rainbow and unicorn-inspired cakes for the duration of the limited-edition tea: two from the menu and a rainbow cupcake which will only be available from the counter.
In addition to cakes, desserts and sweet and savoury scones, there will be sandwiches and a large 'selfie cake' designed by 2016 Great British Bake Off contestant Kate Barmby, who runs children's cookery classes at The Assembly House's cookery school, which encourages people to have their picture taken with a unicorn.
Smaller-sized Children's Rainbow Unicorn teas are available and there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available.
Brightly coloured unicorn-themed teatime treats have swept the country including unicorn hot chocolate - pink hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and marshmallows - and unicorn freakshakes.
The ritual of afternoon tea is believed to have been introduced in England by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, who gifted us the most quintessential of English customs when, keen to dispel 'that sinking feeling' between breakfast and dinner, she asked for a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake to be brought to her room in the late afternoon.
By 1845, her afternoon tea tradition had caught on amongst her friends and the practice spread across parlours in Britain, reaching fame by the 1920s when afternoon tea became a glamorous affair involving silver teapots, fine linens and dainty cakes.
Not to be mistaken with high tea – the main meal of the day for the working class in the Duchess's day – afternoon tea has evolved into a high art with pastry chefs reaching dizzy new heights of cake artistry.
The Rosewood in London has an afternoon tea inspired by iconic modern artists such as Damien Hirst and Banksy, there's a Nordic tea at Aquavit in St James's Market, a science-themed tea at The Ampersand, the Roald Dahl 100 tea at the Aqua Shard, the Agatha Christie tea at Brown's Hotel and the Alice in Wonderland tea at the Sanderson to name but a handful. No rainbow unicorns, though.
Call 01603 626402 or visit assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk/events to book.