A cold snap is hitting one of Britain’s beloved pastimes. In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, US low-calorie ice cream brand Halo Top and all-day-dining outfit Bluebird Café have created a frozen afternoon tea which will be available throughout July.
The brands claim their mid-afternoon treat is the first of its kind in the UK, combining classic cakes with playful ice cream flavours.
The menu will feature bites like the Gateau Opera Birthday Cake – a sprinkled cake layered with a vanilla sponge and Halo Top’s Birthday Cake flavour of ice cream – along with a Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Stick, dipped in white chocolate and topped with dried strawberries.
Transforming classics, the Candy Bar Macaron is an ice cream sandwich in the form of a macaron filled with Candy Bar ice cream, while scones get an injection of Red Velvet ice cream.
An ode to the special relationship between Britain and America, the Cinnamon Roll Royale is lined with candied apples, piped into a ginger snap cylinder and topped with burnt meringue, creating an American pie flavour in a crisp British biscuit.
“I loved the challenge of bringing this idea to life and putting a unique twist on a British staple, combining Halo Top standout flavours with classic cakes and confections,” said Curtis Poole, head pastry chef at Bluebird Café. “Creating a playful frozen afternoon tea inspired by the ice cream was certainly a first for me, but I think it is a great way of bringing two popular brands together with the end result being an assortment of cakes fusing nostalgic flavours with classic puddings.”
Guests can also wash the traditional tea down with a Cookies and Cream Freak Shake with whipped cream and a chocolate slice, or a boozy iced tea for those who enjoy their hard liquor.
“We really enjoy finding new and innovative ways to eat more ice cream so couldn’t be more excited to pair Halo Top ice cream creations with afternoon tea,” added Doug Bouton, president at Halo Top. “Having the chance to put a Halo Top twist on a British classic feels like the perfect way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month with our UK fans.”
Halo Top made a bang in the UK market when it launched last year with its ice creams of 280-360 calories per tub. Most recently, it launched new snackable ice cream sticks at 80-100 calories per bar.
Delivering a chill
But Halo Top and Bluebird may have already been scooped with this idea by a bunch of hotel operators.
The Park Grand at Lancaster Gate introduced an ice cream afternoon tea last year, although it’s offering was less innovative then the Bluebird-Halo Top tie-up. Along with the usual scones and sandwiches, the Park Grand offers ice cream cake pops, veggie-friendly fruit jellies, mini ice cream cones and an ice cream sundae.
The Dorchester Hotel in London was also ahead of the crowd, unveiling its Ice Cream Champagne Afternoon tea in 2017, with mini cones of ice creams and sorbets coming in flavours like blackberry mojito sorbet; clotted cream and cherry; and honeycomb and strawberry basil sorbet.
Can Sparkie see this dairy-ing idea infiltrating afternoon tea even further?
An interesting idea for sure. The products sound good on paper but this would almost certainly be a seasonal offering, strongly affected by weather. If we get a heatwave, this could explode in popularity for the time. It’s a risk but a fairly calculated one I feel.
The products are just about innovative enough to get some attention without risking alienating consumers who prefer traditional desserts.