High tea is definitely stepping up a notch in New Zealand to the delight of customers. Marcus Braun – Head of Cuisine, Continental Catering Group, shares the history and his passion for High Tea.
Mona Vale Homestead & Pantry, Christchurch
The ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. As a young woman in the early 1800’s in England she lived during a time when it was common to eat only two main meals a day, with breakfast scheduled early in the morning and dinner occurring late in the evening.
Routinely weakened and irritated by hunger pangs, she decided to schedule time to take tea and snack each afternoon. This private ceremony was firstly done furtively in her bedroom, but over time well-heeled acquaintances joined her and the practice was perpetuated.
Nowadays tea rooms and hotels throughout New Zealand offer permutations of this centuries-old tradition. Mona Vale Homestead and Pantry in Christchurch is very distinguishable and offers something quite unique in their High Tea. Cascading down a three-tiered cake stand, their mini savoury and sweet work of art is an irresistible feast for your eyes and can be ordered any time of the day! Customers indulge in mince pies with Asian spiced slow cooked beef cheek, butter puff galettes filled with Kikorangi blue cheese, caramelised onion, roasted pear and walnut or the beetroot and feta tartlet.
The second course is divine too and comprises of a crème brulee topped with a tart green apple puree through to a decadent chocolate raspberry macaron, and the pièce de résistance, buttermilk scones, which come with sides of clotted cream and Anathoth Farm Chef Series jam. And with several types of tea to choose from – ‘Springtime Chocolate Mint’ tea (which is quite chocolatey and delicious) is a particular favourite amongst guests – as well as having knowledgeable staff, the selection will certainly leave customers coming back for more.
As Head of Cuisine at Continental Catering Group, Marcus enjoys the diversity of the role, “I’m involved in everything from research and development, managing the kitchens, designing the menus to staff training. I can take great products such as the Barker’s Professional ranges and design delicious dishes, then implement them with my great team of chefs”.
“The high quality and excellent taste profile of Barker’s Professional products feature heavily in our four menus for high tea. I have used the Caramel Deluxe Filling in the choux bun, Raspberry Patisserie Filling in the macaroons and Chai Latte Fruit Silk in the eclairs. Our beautiful meringue tart sits on a soft bed of Passionfruit & Yuzu Hotsett® Crème and we use the Caramelised Onion Breadshot in our galette.”