The Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam recently launched their new Honey afternoon tea. The highlight of the menu is the honey, harvested from the beehive boxes that the Waldorf Astoria has in their backyard. My first memory of bees was when I was stung by one at home when I was eight. It died immediately after but I felt the consequences from the sting for days after. The bee was on my jacket sleeve and could have felt endangered when I slid my arm in the jacket. After the incident I made sure I checked my sleeves for bees every time I put on a coat. Talk about traumatization. But I grew past my fear for bees after a documentary on National Geographic. The workings of a bee colony, the ability to produce honey, to communicate with each other through flight (or dance) and the remarkable loyalty worker bees have for their queen even in the event of a wasp attack, it’s no wonder these little creatures have held the fascination of many for centuries. The sad thing is, beekeepers, especially in Western countries, have been reporting declining stocks and high die offs for years now (the “colony collaps disorder”).
At the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam we got to see one of the beehives with our own eyes. From a safe distance off course!
The Honey afternoon tea is served in the hotel’s Peacock Alley. We start with an amuse of aerated chorizo, Amsterdams zuur, sepia and honey roasted pork, served in a beautiful golden egg shell. On the top of the etagere, are two lolly pops of duck, foie gras, lavas and red beets, a pure delight. The savory side also includes a smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives, served on a cracker (one of my favorites) and a sandwich of goat’s cheese, walnut and honey (so creamy). On the sweet side, we’re presented a honey and pecan madeleine (one of the best I’ve tried so far, crispy around the corners and soft and airy inside), a lovely tartelette of raspberry, honey and caramel, a honey canelé and a choux with crème suisse, strawberry, lavender and honey. And no afternoon tea is complete without scones and clotted cream (served with honey off course).
To top it off (as if you haven’t had enough treats), there’s a pair of bonbons in the shape of bees. Now how could one resist that.