Engelberg – afternoon tea at the Kempinski

Sadly, Britain’s colonial history really is noting to be proud of. However, among the few positive contributions Britain has made to the world, I would definitely count afternoon tea. I mean, how could anybody not like cucumber sandwiches?

In my time, I have had the privilege of trying many different afternoon teas, such as Raffle’s Hotel in Singapore, or Fortnum & Masons in Piccadilly in London. This time, I am reporting from the Kempinski Engelberg, where I spend the weekend before my birthday.

Afternoon tea at the Kempinski is served in the winter garden, adjacent to the main lobby. The tables are rather low, and the sofas are very soft. But there are many cushions to make sure you’re sitting comfortably while you indulge.

The afternoon tea is served on bright and colourful crockery.

To drink I ask for a pot of Earl Grey tea. I forget to ask what brand the tea is. Which is a shame because it’s certainly very good and has a nice, subtle taste with only a hint of Bergamotte.

First, the sandwiches are served, and there are two squares each of four different types of sandwich: salmon, ham, egg, and cheese with chutney.

Once the sandwiches are removed, a three-tier étagère is served. It includes: two plain scones and two scones with raisins, a selection of sweets and pastries, and a plate with two little sticky toffee puddings.

For the scones, both cherry and raspberry jam are served, which is fine. Although I prefer the more customary strawberry jam. There is also vanilla infused butter, lemon curd and whipped cream.

All things considered, this is not a bad afternoon tea. However, at CHF59 per person I do think it is rather pricey – especially for what you get. There also appears to be a systemic lack of attention to detail among the staff at the Kempinski: there is no sugar on the table, which the staff don’t even notice. The waiter refers to the whipped cream as clotted cream, which a) it simply isn’t, but which b) I think would not be too much to expect given the price for the tea.

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