I have lived in Essex for most of my life but, as many others would probably say, I don’t always make the most of my surroundings. Tiptree is a small village about 15 minutes from where I live and is world famous for its jam. You can find Wilkin & Sons products in most supermarkets and many of you have probably tried them at some point. So when myself and a friend decided we fancied having an afternoon tea, the tea rooms at the jam factory seemed like a great option.
The place is very picturesque, a small, very neat building in the grounds of a farm, with the factory in the back. The tea rooms and museum are to the right of the entrance and there is a shop to the left. The tea rooms are quite large in size, but it is a very popular place, so you are likely to have to wait. There is seating both inside and out and on a warmer day, it is very relaxing to sit outside and enjoy being in the countryside.
We headed into the museum first. It’s a collection of artefacts ranging from farm equipment, to paper cuttings, to samples of vintage packaging. The videos are interesting to listen to and the story of the business is enjoyable, but it won’t take long to get around unless you are a keen historian.
For our lunch, we ordered a traditional tea for two, which comes with sandwiches (a choice of two flavours from simple fillings like ham, chicken, tuna and cheese), scones (with a choice of jam), a collection of cakes and your choice of teas.
The sandwiches came with a little pot of mustard, which, although I usually am not a fan of, was actually really nice and has since converted me into a wholegrain mustard fan. The scones were out of this world! Usually at these things you tend to get a lack of clotted cream, but these guys are so generous, there is enough to load up every side of the scone and over-indulge completely. Finally, there was a tier of cakes. The cupcake was nice, although very simple and basic and the small profiterole-type dessert was tasty, but very hard to cut and share. The lemon drizzle was really disappointing, it had a very funny taste to it and I found myself unable to eat it. But the highlight of the cake plate was the mousse cheesecake, strawberry and cream. It was light and fluffy and very tasty.Finally, the tea. I chose Earl Grey and my friend chose Traditional English Breakfast. The pot was big enough for several cups and complemented the food perfectly.
Also on the menu you can find a great range of sandwiches, jacket potatoes and salads. Once you have finished your food, it’s a good idea to head into their shop and see the full range of products that Wilkin’s has to offer. Here you can find all of their jams, chutneys and spreads, along with table sauces and honeys. They also have a collection of other gifts and goodies – it’s a great place to find an unusual gift. There is also a fresh patisserie cabinet which sells tarts and cakes. I very much recommend the lemon meringue pie (like heaven in a cake) and the chocolate tart. Other favourites of mine, that I’d recommend buying include: honey and mustard sauce, ketchup, raspberry jam and their chilli jam.
Wilkin’s isn’t cheap by any means, but the goods are generally good quality and nicely made. The afternoon tea comes in at £25 for two people. This is a great day out if you are in the area, but make sure you come prepared to spend!
Wilkin & Sons has a number of tea rooms across Essex. For the locations and more information visit: www.tiptree.com.
Tiptree Tea Room, Wilkin & Sons Limited, Tiptree, Essex, CO5 0RF
|Summer:||Monday – Saturday:||9.30a.m. to 5.00p.m|
|Sunday:||10.00a.m. to 5.00p.m|
|Winter:||Monday – Saturday:||9.30a.m. to 4.30p.m.|
|Sunday:||10a.m. to 4.30p.m.|