I love a high tea. It’s such a civilised combination of cakes and pastries, sweets and savouries, and don’t get me started on how much I love a nice cup of cha! Oh, and did someone say champagne?! There’s something so naughty but so nice about eating decadent deliciousness…  when it’s not even a real mealtime! I never get bored of high tea. In fact, my only complaint would be that I don’t enjoy it enough.

However, since I’ve lived in Sydney I’ve morphed into some kind of caffiend and my love for coffee knows no bounds. If I don’t have  a cup  in the morning, I get cold turkey by the afternoon. My bad, I know.

So imagine my delight when I learned of  High Coffee! Yes, that’s a thing! A thing that combines my love of baked goods, afternoon delights and need for caffeine. Winning!

There seemed no better excuse to partake of such pleasures than during the Birthday Festival. So that we did.

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These days, High Coffee is served in Cortile at the Inter Continental, Sydney which is situated  in the beautiful surrounds of the historic  Treasury Building dating back to 1851. It’s pretty impressive and the cosy little booths are a perfect and intimate place to enjoy the afternoon delights.

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The fun starts with an Espresso Martini, and then it just doesn’t stop.

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The cake stand is vast and full with delicious treats. The savouries include Prosciutto with pickled vegetable and parmesan on pretzel bread, Tasmanian smoked salmon with honey mustard, egg and watercress on an organic carrot roll and my favourite, the Crystal Bay prawn wrap with sun dried tomato and sweet corn. Get in my belly!

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But that’s just the cold stuff. There’s also the warm savouries to attend to. We loved the baby Beef Pie the best with the Salmon and Leek Quiche coming a delicious second. The Olive Oil and Rosemary Muffin seemed like the poor relation in comparison, though.

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Onwards and upwards, to the warm sweet treats, cocoa and buckwheat crepes with gold honey and Belgian waffles with a mouth watering selection of condiments, including homemade jam and homemade nutella. The crepes were all kinds of awesome and the waffles exceptionally sweet but we slathered them in nutella, because it was homemade after all.

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The scones were just like scones should be, only better. We decorated them with double cream and oodles of homemade jam because we wanted all the calories. All of them!

There were still the sweet treats to contend with. No sooner had we ploughed our way through one tier of the tower, than another freshly filled one appeared. It really was like a never ending tea-cum-coffee party.

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The sweet treats were really a sight to behold.  The opera slice with Espresso di Manfredi, chocolate ganache and  gold leaf looked and tasted like a cake fit for a Queen.

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The Vanilla pot de crème with Malfroy’s gold honey espuma was especially delicious with a wonderful combination of flavours and textures and hip, hip, hooray for the Baileys Macaroon.

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The 64% Peruvian chocolate and peanut cake was like a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup with knobs on and the sesame pavlova with white chocolate-raspberry ganache brought some light relief to the dark chocolate party on our plates.

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The mango and passionfruit sorbet made our palette  as clean as a whistle.

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A birthday tea isn’t a birthday tea without a cake and a candle, and at the Intercontinental this is served with  a birthday song from the musician in situ. It was at this point that I started to doubt my motto, ” I always leave room for cake.” Even I have my limits.

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The Intercontinental certainly saves the best ’til last when it comes to the High Coffee Expereince. Just when you think you can take no more of this deliciousness, you are presented with the hotel’s signature cafe corretto – a shot of espresso “corrected” with a shot of grappa liquor. This my friends, is the real deal.

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The grappa is top notch and full of flavour. Hana, our delightful server, invites me to drop some of the grappa onto my palms and then rub them together. When I smell my hands, they smell so fragrant and well, grape-y. There’s a few ways to drink the Cafe Coretto but we follow Hana’s advice. This way is the best way, she says.

David kindly agreed to demonstrate this highly intricate process.

First, you down your shot of coffee, in one, if you can.

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Then, pour the grappa into your empty coffee and give it a swirl, just so you can infuse the grappa with the espresso flavours.

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Don’t forget to  have a quick sniff because  the coffee and the grappa together makes for an amazing aroma.

Then go hard or go home, and down that grappa in one! This is hardcore!

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This is good.

Everything about this experience was exceptional. Cortile is an impressive spot, the service is first class and the food and drink is just made to tantalise your tastebuds.

It’s something deliciously different and it’s the perfect way to celebrate with that special someone or special occasion in your life.

My tip is to book ahead, arrive with an empty stomach and allow at least 2 hours to savour the experience.

Oh, and don’t worry, although you will want to eat all the delicious delights placed before you, you don’t have to. Most bellies are beaten (just not mine.)

Note: This post is in no way sponsored. David and I dined as guests of each other as part of our Birthday Festival. It was just too good not to share.

So,  if you had to choose, what would it be? Sweet or savoury? Coffee or tea?

What you need to know

The Intercontinental Sydney

High Coffee is available every day from 11 – 5.30

Check out the full menu here

Price $60 per person

Sutherland2Surf v City2Surf

by Sammie on July 20, 2014

in Blog

This morning I travelled from the City to the Shire to run the Sutherland to Surf for the fourth time.

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In my opinion, this awesome event is somewhat underrated and overshadowed by the similar sounding  run, the City 2 Surf.  However, the only thing that these events have in common is that they’re both runs that have a  finish line at a beach.

So what is the difference between the City2Surf and Sutherland2Surf?

City2Surf Sutherland2Surf
Number of Participants 80,000 (2013) 8.400 (2013)
Length of course 14km 11km
Price $65-85 (2014) $45-60 (2014)
Finisher’s Medal Yes No
Organisers Sydney Morning Herald Wanda Surf Life Saving Club
The finish line Bondi Beach Cronulla Beach

 

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Now, this is a community based run for the local surf club, so don’t be expecting any bling for your collection at the end of your 11k,  OK? What you can expect is a crackin’ course through the Shire, friendly volunteers, and views like this.

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I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a Cancerian, but oh, I do love to be beside the seaside.

There are so many things to love about this event, from the room to run to the flat course, and the coastal views to the community vibe.

The organisers did a great job, but even they couldn’t control the weather which was baltic. The barometer read  a balmy 11 degrees but it felt like minus 11. Lucky for me, I  have just invested in a long sleeved running top. I don’t know how I managed without one in the winters of old. Brrr!

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It was definitely not beach weather but I did see someone swimming in a bikini! Crackers! I wasn’t bold enough to brave the icy ocean, so I settled for a post race selfie on the beach.

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Met my mate A-cat-ah for brekkie at Cronulla and she took me to   Alley Break,  a cafe of awesomeness which serves great coffee…

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… bakes it’s own bread and has a menu full of deliciousness,  including lots of paleo, veggie and superfoody options. If you sit outside, you get a side order of ocean view for free.

A-cat-ah and I usually dine together on dumplings. It kinda weirded us out that we were eating food that wasn’t dumplings. We both ordered the Killer Karl; 2 poached eggs, organic silverbeet and kale, avocado and house smoked salmon. They make all their own organic bread on site too,  so in the interests of research, I had to try the sweet potato and wholemeal. Nom!

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The race was ace and I crossed the finish line in 1.02.33 which was 1 minute and 14 seconds faster than last year.  I don’t know how I did that but I did.

The next time I run in a race bib will be in Disneyland. I hope I don’t spontaneously combust with excitement before I get there! Only 42 days to go until race day! Bring it on!

Have you ever run in the City2Surf or Sutherland2Surf? Do you like to be beside the seaside too? What’s your favourite beach?

My Emotional Raincoat

July 18, 2014

I have a confession to make. I have an emotional raincoat. It’s invisible so you can’t see it. I can’t see it either but I can feel it. Despite being invisible, it’s my best accessory. In my mind’s eye, I imagine it to be  bright and light and the colour of sunshine. Bet you think [...]

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5 Top Tips from Tania Hubbard : Food for Every Body

July 17, 2014

So last week I went to a workshop called Food for Every Body. It was presented by Tania Hubbard. I actually didn’t know who Tania Hubbard was but I did know who Brenda Janschek was, and she was going, so I guessed this was going to be good. Remember all those whole and healthy foods [...]

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Be Nice

July 16, 2014

I believe that being nice isn’t just more important, it’s most important. You’ve heard the saying about great minds thinking alike, how about blogging alike? I loved the Kindness Boomerang that Trish shared this week on My Little Drummer Boys. Be nice to yourself, and sit and watch for a while. It will warm the [...]

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Cronut O’ Clock

July 15, 2014

Once upon a time in New York City, a baker called Dominique Ansel  had the bright idea of making an artery hardening pastry that was half croissant and half doughnut. It was a pastry lover’s dream come true. What’s the crack with these cronuts, I hear you cry? Well,  TIME magazine declared the cronut to be [...]

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Why I Write

July 14, 2014

photo credit Evan via photopin   cc  So a few months ago, a blog hop was started where bloggers were invited to post about why they write. I was itching to get in on the action so when the lovely Viv from Brunch with Viv asked me to play along, I accepted write away! (Sorry, I just [...]

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Sydney Harbour 10k and an Instameet

July 13, 2014

Last night right before I went to bed, I started googling Run Disney stuff. This was a big mistake, nay, a huge mistake because I whipped myself into such a frenzy of excitement that I couldn’t sleep. There are only 49 days to go, after all! This was doubly unfortunate because I had to be [...]

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The Kit Kat Cake – 5 Top Tips

July 11, 2014

I have wanted to make this cake for like, forever. It looked so delicious but so difficult, and I felt cake-tastically challenged. After adding the task to my 101 things to do in 1001 days list, I knew I had to give it a whirl sooner rather than later and David’s birthday seemed like the [...]

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Paris Hilton

July 9, 2014

Well, I have to say, I never thought I’d see the words wisdom and Paris Hilton in the same sentence. But life is full of surprises. You see I really think Paris is onto something and I am inclined to agree.  Birthdays are all about love, happiness,  and let’s not forget the cake. Why celebrate [...]

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