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Afternoon tea delivery service launches in Suffolk - and here’s why you’ll love it

PUBLISHED: 17:30 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:30 25 May 2018

Vintage mismatched crockery adds to the character. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

Vintage mismatched crockery adds to the character. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

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Sandwiches, tea, cake and scones and I’ve not had to leave my house. What’s not to love?

My guests and I enjoying the delivery from Carly's Afternoon Tea, which has just launched in Suffolk. Picture: ELLIS BARKER My guests and I enjoying the delivery from Carly's Afternoon Tea, which has just launched in Suffolk. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

There are so few occasions In life that can’t be perfectly marked with afternoon tea.

That is exactly why I was so surprised when I had a delicious hamper delivered straight to my door that nobody seemed to have thought of a home delivery service before.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Part of the enjoyment of afternoon tea is, after all, venturing out. This meant I had guests coming to me, prompting a spell of pre-guest panic and an attack of the house with the vacuum cleaner and a bottle of polish.

The cake stands as they are delivered, wrapped in cellophane, alongside the hamper of crockery. Picture: ELLIS BARKER The cake stands as they are delivered, wrapped in cellophane, alongside the hamper of crockery. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

But it was so worth it. Much of the stress of hosting comes in the preparation of the food. You want to enjoy time with your guests, but the conversation is interrupted by a frequent ‘I just need to check on the...’ or ‘let me just get the...’

But with this, I didn’t even need to get up to get my own milk - the hamper came complete with everything we needed, from cutlery and crockery to milk, sugar cubes and napkins.

While Carly’s Afternoon Tea is a national company; but the Suffolk franchise has only recently been launched by Laura - a new Mum who wanted to get back into work while still being able to spend time with her young son.

The sandwiches, cakes and scones. Picture: ELLIS BARKER The sandwiches, cakes and scones. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

I was greeted at the door with a smile and two beautifully arranged three-tier cake stands wrapped in cellophane. I couldn’t wait to get it open.

We had sandwiches from the standard menu, which includes tuna, mayonnaise and sweetcorn; cream cheese and cucumber; egg and cress and, my favourite, delicious coronation chicken. I followed my sandwiches with a scone, and a debate on whether one should spread their cream or jam first. On placing your order, you can choose either plain or fruit scones (we opted for plain). They are served with pots of strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Then came the cakes: lemon drizzle, carrot cake and an indulgent chocolate brownie.

Carrot cake was one of three cakes included. Picture: ELLIS BARKER Carrot cake was one of three cakes included. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

And the best part - no washing up! We were told to give the crockery back dirty. Plus, let’s not forget, your own house means your own wine can be easily added - thus cutting the price considerably compared to dining out.

Had it been just a touch warmer, we would have dined al-fresco in the garden and whiled away the afternoon with great food, great company and great conversation.

I asked my guests what they thought.

Ellis unpacking the hamper. Picture: ELLIS BARKER Ellis unpacking the hamper. Picture: ELLIS BARKER

“I loved the little touches; crockery, milk, tea bags and how it all came in a really cute box,” said one. “It was lovely to enjoy afternoon tea at home without the noise and interruption of other people.”

“The food was amazing,” said another. “This would work as a great surprise for a friend - you show up first, followed by the food. I enjoyed having no-one else’s timeline to worry about. We could take out time and have a good gossip without having to worry about vacating the table.”

“A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon,” said another. “Delicious sandwiches and cake, and the presentation was all to a very high standard. Perfect for a special occasion or informal get together with family or friends.”

The prices

A standard afternoon tea, including food, crockery and delivery, costs £17.50 per person.

For a more decadent treat, you can upgrade to a premium afternoon tea, which sees salmon and watercress sandwiches delivered in place of the tuna and French fancies instead of carrot cake, with fresh strawberries added. This costs £22.50 per person.

The price secures a two-hour slot, after which the crockery will be collected. You can add to have longer at a cost of £10 per additional hour.

Delivery is free to addresses within a 10 mile radius of Ipswich, with a cost of 25p per mile outside of this.

The company doesn’t yet have a vegan menu, but can cater to most requirements including gluten free and vegetarian diets, as well as individual preferences. One of my guests didn’t like strawberry jam, for example, and they were happy to provide an alternative flavour.

For more information, visit www.carlysafternoonteas.com/

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