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Afternoon tea is a British ritual steeped in tradition and typically includes scones, finger sandwiches, marmalade, and lemon curds. But the Rosewood Hotel in London, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, decided to put a modern twist on the time-honored practice by creating their art-inspired afternoon tea modeling their pastries after iconic contemporary artists including Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, and Banksy. And now they’re launching a brand-new Antony Gormley Art Afternoon Tea.
The hotel collaborated with the Royal Academy of Arts to create the sculpture-based afternoon tea to mark the opening of the Academy’s new exhibition celebrating acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley. Executive Pastry Chef Mark Perkins at Rosewood not only looked to the artist’s work for inspiration but also his life to creating four signature pastries.
For example, to commemorate Gormley’s German heritage, Perkins made a pastry inspired by the famous Black Forest gateau and features whipped vanilla cream cherry compote and rich chocolate sponge cake. Since the sculptor grew up and studied art at Trinity College, a pastry honoring English orchards was created using pears, caramel, and a ginger joconde cake to represent the autumn colors of an orchard. And for the time he spent in Sri Lanka studying Buddhism, Perkins created a dessert made with Ceylon tea flavored milk chocolate mousse and mandarin to “remind the citrusy notes of the tea and praline.”
But a favorite offering has to be the series of four different apple pastries Perkins created in homage to Gormley’s work One Apple. These will include an apple mousse, blackberry cheesecake, praline choux, and apple compote presented on a marble tray and sprayed with silver to retain a sculptural feel, representing different stages of transformation.
“Developing an Art Afternoon Tea inspired by a still living and internationally acclaimed British sculptor has been our most exciting challenge to date,” Executive Pastry Chef Mark Perkins, told Departures. “My incredibly talented team and I knew we had the chance to create an experience that embodied the true essence of his works. I knew our pastries had to be seamlessly fashioned with elements of his life’s journey and re-creating structural, three-dimensional confectionery was a feat. I am proud to have developed a collection that marries our pastry skills and knowledge with such dynamic artworks.”
The Antony Gormley afternoon tea will be served at Rosewood London’s Mirror Room starting with a traditional selection of freshly made finger sandwiches and scones. The Art Afternoon Tea is available weekdays from 2:30 p.m.to 5:45p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12:00p.m.to 5:45p.m. It is priced from £60 per person.