Hallmark Hotels invited guests at its 27 hotels across the UK to submit their own tried and tested scone recipe to form part of its reworked afternoon tea for 2018.
And the star baker has been named as Karen Doyle from Irchester.
Karen’s winning recipe, which was chosen through an independent tasting session with a panel of experts from across the country, features sultanas soaked in lemon juice and vanilla, and will be served with clotted cream and preserves. Hallmark Hotels’ head of food and drink, Andy Lowe, praised her entry for its texture and flavour, offering a subtle yet noticeable twist on the quintessentially British recipe.
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Karen said: “I was delighted and amazed to have won the competition.
“My scones are already a big hit with friends and family and I was just really pleased to bring a bit of my home into Hallmark Hotels.”
Aiming to perfect the quintessentially British dining experience, the independent hotel group’s new afternoon tea menu for 2018 comes complete with expertly-selected British wine, finger sandwiches and sweet treats.
And while Karen took the top prize, the judges had both traditional and unusual suggestions to choose from.
Some of the shortlisted entries included a savoury cheese and tarragon scone served with garlic butter, a rum and raisin scone, a summer inspired Pimm’s and strawberry combination and even a liquorice-based recipe.
Andy said: “We received some fantastic recipe suggestions, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of baking and sampling our shortlisted entries.
“We were looking for an all-rounder – a delicious, flavoursome scone that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
“The sultanas soaked in lemon juice and vanilla extract offered a distinct take on a traditional recipe, which complements our ‘Best of British’ theme that features across our menu.”
The new afternoon tea menu has been available across 21 hotels from January 22, where guests can try and replicate Karen’s winning scone with a copy of the recipe to take home.