Afternoon Tea in Midlothian – My favourite five!

Monday October 24th 2022

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Written by Midlothian View food columnist, Angela Muir

In my opinion, there aren’t many occasions that can’t be celebrated with an afternoon tea. Birthdays, engagements, baby showers, anniversaries, retirements, Tuesdays… all perfect occasions for a spot of afternoon tea. Midlothian has a fantastic choice of venues and locations, and I have made it my mission to find the very best that our area has to offer. It was a tough job but I was up to the challenge. Here are my favourite five:

Lavender Coffee and Crumbs, Dalkeith

This must be one of the most beautifully presented teas I have ever seen, from the vintage Scottish Thistle Royal Albert china tea set to the locally made glass cake stands bursting at the seams with savoury and sweet goodies, it really was a feast for the eyes. I particularly enjoyed the savoury elements here which were a little more varied and unique than the standard finger sandwich offering, with a lovely Polish twist. The cakes were fabulous too, beautiful home baked scones with cream and jam, their signature lavender cake was delicately floral and light and the locally supplied macarons were simply perfect. You are guaranteed the warmest of welcomes here with the owners clearly passionate about what they do and striving for service excellence.

The Craigie Hotel, Penicuik

The Craigie Hotel is a beautifully refurbished hotel located at the foot of the Pentland Hills. It’s set in lovely grounds and oozes style and sophistication. Presentation of the tea was fabulous with three tiers of sandwiches and cakes, garnished with fresh berries and flowers. There was a fantastic balance of savoury and sweet items and the sandwiches were exceptionally fresh and generously filled. The Craigie are proud, and rightfully so, that their cakes and delicious sausage rolls are made by their in house baker and the quality really is excellent. Special mention must be made of the still warm scones which were absolutely delicious heaped with jam and lashings of clotted cream. A piping hot pot of tea rounded off the experience perfectly.

Brew 52, Penicuik

For those of you who prefer to take your afternoon tea in the comfort of your own home, Brew 52 is the one for you. Communication was great and there is a choice of 2 different menu options and a very simple ordering process. Home delivery was exactly when promised and the packaging was beautiful with every item arriving in perfect condition. The selection of sandwiches and wraps were of excellent quality and very fresh. The cakes were the star of the show here with the strawberry swirl brownies, empire biscuits and Twix rocky road being particular highlights. And who can resist a chocolate dipped strawberry, not me that’s for sure. This really is a lovely at home experience for all.

The Melville Castle Hotel, Lasswade

For a more traditional and classic experience, the Melville Castle Hotel is the perfect choice. Located in stunning parkland on the banks of the river North Esk, it’s a simply beautiful venue and everything a Scottish castle should be, romantic, atmospheric and elegant. Guests can choose between a classic afternoon tea or a sparkling afternoon tea served with a chilled flute of Prosecco, to be enjoyed with the beautiful gardens as a backdrop. You can expect to enjoy timeless classics including finger sandwiches, home baked scones with cream and jam, pastries and delectable mini desserts. Definitely one for a special occasion.

The Paper Mill, Lasswade

This is another lovely venue, located in an historic former paper mill with beautiful views over the river Esk. With a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, it’s the perfect setting to catch up with friends and family, and spoil yourselves with their beautifully presented afternoon tea. Their in-house baker produces tempting savoury and sweet treats such as home baked sausage rolls, scones and cakes. Their carrot cake in particular was an absolute delight! The tea is served with a selection of Shibui Tea or Edinburgh Gold coffee and a glass of chilled fizz is always an optional extra too.

According to history, afternoon tea was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who was too hungry to wait for dinner which was served at 8pm, and insisted on a little something to tide her over between lunch and dinner. A lady after my own heart and I personally salute her. Whether enjoyed at home, in a café with friends or in the grandeur of a castle setting, an afternoon tea is such a treat and Midlothian certainly has something for every occasion.

For more recommendations and questions head over to @eatsleepgreet on Instagram.

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