With veganism and plant-based diets on the rise, it’s no surprise that afternoon tea extrodinaries’ Fortnum and Mason have shown their support for this growing trend by crafting their very own vegan afternoon tea menu. Gone are the days of disdainful tutting and eye-rolling when you so dare as mention the word ‘vegan’ (dun-dun-DUNNN!).

A record-breaking 165,000 participants took part in the Veganuary 2018 challenge this year. And, as people become more aware of the realities of the meat and dairy industrys’ mistreatment of animals, the number of people taking the pledge is on track to rise. This all culminates in a gentle nudge for food establishments to roll up their sleeves and welcome diversity in diet by providing tasty and wholesome alternatives for those taking on a vegan lifestyle.

When I heard that the world-famous F&M had designed a vegan-friendly menu, I was curious to see how they had taken on the task. To my pleasant surprise they surpassed expectations in terms of variety, taste and presentation. The tea is held in the impeccable Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which sets the tone for a relaxing sitting. The menu is priced at the same range as the classic versions – £49 per person, or £53 if you opt for the rare tea collection.

The selection of sandwiches was inventive and superbly executed: grilled courgettes with pesto, and avocado with sundried tomato, are just to name a few of the finger sandwiches provided. But it was the scones that, for me, were the showstopper of the afternoon. There was quite literally no difference in taste or texture between these and the non-vegan scones my co-diners were presented with. These vegan scones are served up with a generous helping of vegan clotted cream and your very own jar of delicious strawberry jam.

Next up was the cakes. Orange polenta cake, blueberry meringue, raspberry panacotta and for those chocoholics, a dark chocolate millionaires shortbread with caramel. Again, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between these vegan cakes and their dairy alternatives. This is largely down to F&M’s precise recipe, which delivers soft and bouncy bakes bursting with flavour and perfectly textured.

And what’s great is, you CAN ask for more! Our waiter was happy to offer our table a replenishment of any items we particularly liked. So I ordered a whole new set of sandwiches and scones – they were simply irresistible!

To finish off with, each diner gets the choice of one cake from the trolley selection. They only had one vegan option available (which is, quite frankly, more than enough because at this point your bursting at the seams!). The day I visited they had the apple loaf cake on offer, which was impressive to say the least!

F&M appear to have struck the perfect balance in their vegan recipes to ensure their vegan afternoon tea selection doesn’t feel dry or taste synthetic. You’d be hard-pressed to find an item that didn’t match up to its non-vegan alternative.

Once you’ve finished off your afternoon tea, you can walk off the guilt around F&M’s impressive store, with items ranging from tea and confectionary, to perfumes and homeware. A visit for afternoon tea here really is quite the experience and not one to be rushed!

To find out more about F&M’s afternoon tea experiences, please visit: https://www.fortnumandmason.com/restaurants/afternoon-tea