food

Earl Grey at Source

14 Comments 10 June 2011

Howick Hall

Howick Hall and meadow. Eagle eyed readers will notice the resemblance between the meadow here and the wildflowers in yesterday's post Wildflower Parenting. The most beautiful managed meadows I have seen!

My husband and I recently had one day to spend in Northumberland and as there is so much to do we spent the whole drive there trying to work out what to do. Finally we decided to visit Howick Hall, have lunch in their tea room and walk around their arboretum, then drive the short distance to Dunstanburgh Castle and do a coastal walk from there.

The Howick Hall Tea Room is the very nicest I have ever been in outside of London. The food was superb, the setting was beautiful (the former ballroom), and the service was outstanding.

And of course I ordered Earl Grey tea.

Why ‘of course’?

Howick Hall is the home of the original Earl Grey.

Form the Howick Hall website:

Howick was the home of the Grey family from 1319 and Charles 2nd Earl Grey is the most distinguished member.

Howick is also the home of Earl Grey tea!  The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water from the well at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it.  Lady Grey used it in London when entertaining as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it and it is now sold worldwide.  Sadly the Greys, being unbusinesslike, failed to register the trade mark and as a result they have never received a penny in royalties.

So there you go. Tea at Source, so to speak.

And we never made it to Dunstanburgh Castle, but instead spent the whole day walking through the many miles of paths in the arboretum that reached down to the coast, then back again. Finishing off with a cake in the tea rooms again!

Earl Grey Tea

No milk. Regular readers will know I don't have milk in my tea. I didn't have the lemon either. I have to say, this was really lovely tea without anything added!

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14 Comments so far

  1. Li-ling says:

    I’ve always wondered about Earl Grey tea’s origins. Thanks – and what a lovely day you must have had!

    • Michelloui says:

      It was interesting reading about the origins! And I highly recommend the place anyway…

  2. Star says:

    Tea in most forms is delicious, but I’m not a fan of green tea. The tea you describe is very very popular isn’t it and particularly refreshing in the summer time.

    • Michelloui says:

      I used to find Earl Grey too strong, but now I quite like it–and yes it is refreshing in the summer–especially served cold (but thats the American in me…!).

  3. How fun to pay homage at the shrine of Earl Grey!

    He was also the lover of Georgiana of Devonshire – if you’ve seen the film The Duchess with Keira Knightley, you’ll know who I mean.

    • Michelloui says:

      They mention the connection in some literature at the tea house. I think they had a daughter together and the Duke of Devonshire apparently sent the little girl to Lady Grey saying ‘I believe she is more to do with you than me.’ Lady Grey welcomed the girl and raised her as her own–along with 14 or 15 other children of their own!

  4. KimberlyJ says:

    I don’t drink tea or coffee and get funny reactions from people during my visits to England when I ask for a glass full of ice and some water.

    • Michelloui says:

      LOL! I used to get that too until I just gave in and accepted the tea or coffee.

  5. Working Mum says:

    I have been to beautiful Northumberland many times, but never knew it was the home of Earl Grey. What a lovely way to spend your day.

  6. I don’t know what’s more revolting – milk or lemon in Earl Grey. *shudders*

  7. Meercat says:

    I was just in Embleton this weekend. Walked to the coast and saw Dunstanburgh castle. Didn’t know that Howick Hall and the home of Earl Grey tea were so close by. Thanks for the review of the place; it’s now on our “must see” list. You’re right, there’s LOTS to do and see in northeast!


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