REVIEW : Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Dobbies Garden Centres

Possibly two of my favourite things in one place; actually make that three.

  1. Flowers, plants, trees and general gardening things

  2. Chocolate

  3. Afternoon Tea

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If you didn’t know already, Dobbies out at Lasswade Edinburgh (Scotland’s largest garden centre) have had a massive refurbishment and one of the most noticeable changes has been to their food hall and cafe area overhauling their 650 seater restaurant.

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They also have a separate area for their afternoon tea which is a lovely touch, creating a small oasis of calm aside the bustling ever busy main area of the cafe.

The area is bright and open using a very neutral colour palate of greens, browns and beige’s in quite an industrial looking space with exposed beams and pipes. I felt it needed a few pops of colour - blush pinks and sunshine yellows; and a few small touches to soften and warm up the space - perhaps a gorgeous flower arrangement in the centre of the room or ornamental but pretty and quirky lampshades???

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But I am no interior designer and was perfectly happy in the room waiting to be fed and watered. As soon as we were seated, teas were ordered and within 5 minutes this cake stand loaded with delectable goodies was placed down in front of us.

The CHOCOLATE AFTERNOON TEA had arrived!

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The first plate is filled with lovely rows of petite finger sandwiches on soft fresh white and brown bread.

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I love the lines of colour - the pink and yellow from the ham and whole grain mustard, the pale yellow and white from the egg mayo, the light and dark green from the cucumber and blush coral from the salmon.

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Fav sandwiches on the day were the the egg mayo - not overloaded with mayonnaise and a good consistency; the cucumber sandwiches were crisp and fresh and the big hit was the thick ham with the strong vinegar taste of the mustard.

I have to mention that at the start of my Chocolate Afternoon Tea, I was sort of disappointed that there were no chocolate sandwiches (no idea what form that would take) but by the end of the Afternoon Tea, I was rather grateful for savoury sandwiches. The amount of savoury and chocolate on this Afternoon Tea is very well balanced.

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The middle tier is always my favourite on an Afternoon Tea. This is were the scones lie and this is where the chocolate journey begins.

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Here we have : Chocolate Chip Scones, Clotted Cream and a big bowl of Nutella.

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Oh my…… move over jam and cream and bring on the chocolate spread. Nutella and cream is not a combination I would have thought of for a scone topping but boy does it work. I went in, as I would with jam - nutella first and then scooped up a mass of clotted cream to pile on top.

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The little nuggets of choc chips provide ‘bite’ amongst of the soft, creamy textures of cream, nutella and scone. There are two scones for each person, but be aware that after one scone, assembled the way I do it, will fill you up! But they are ever so more-ish and you’ll just keep going until you are ready to pop.

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The top tier is filled with chocolate treat goodies.

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A Chocolate Caramel Tart with a perfect crumbly but snappy biscuit base, the Chocolate Mousse that is so light and fluffy I’m surprised it didn’t float away, a Chocolate Black Forest Gateaux slice that melted in your mouth and left you with sweet flavours of subtle cherry mixed with thick cream and dark chocolate; and lastly the Chocolate Eclair Bon Bon filled with airy cream and dunked in sweet sweet chocolate.

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Every single treat on the top tier was superbly baked. All very light and airy, and although chocolate, they didn’t leave you feeling like you had eaten your weight in chocolate. The chocolate tastes were subtle and soft caressing your tastebuds and used textures wisely whisking you off on a chocolate cloud.

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We both enjoyed tea, and I am delighted to report that they serve a great cuppa tea too; and that their teapots are super pourers!

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The Chocolate Afternoon Tea is available now for £12.50pp and so worth it!

With the release of Downton Abbey the movie, Dobbies are also hosting the Downton Abbey inspired Afternoon Tea which includes finger sandwiches, sweet treats, Earl Grey Scones with jam and clotted cream, tea or coffee also for £12.50pp.

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Taking our Afternoon Tea baby bellies with us, we strolled back through Dobbies Garden Centre and I came across this gorgeous wee pineapple tree which I absolutely fell in love with and need to go back to buy. I adore pineapples and have many pineapple items in my home. The pineapple is the international symbol for hospitality. Have you spotted them on my website?

The Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Dobbies is fantastic and one afternoon tea I highly recommend. It’s very affordable, utterly scrumptious and absolutely without a doubt a wonderful treat for mum, dad, sister, brother, son, daughter, friends, grannys …. the list goes on.

Dobbies Garden Centre, Melville Nursery, Lasswade, Midlothian, EH18 1AZ. Tel: 0131 663 1941 www.dobbies.com/find-a-garden-centre/edinburgh

My Spoon Award : Gold Spoon 9/10

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I was invited by Dobbies to review their Afernoon Tea. Food and drink were complimentary but the views are very much my own.