Sip This: Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley

Today was my final day in London and I was determined to make the very most of it.  So, I started off the day bright & early at Kensington Palace and then shopped at the quintessentially British Fortnum & Mason, where I snagged some fabulously luxe beauty goodies, including my fave Italian Nesti Dante soaps (they're nearly impossible to find in NYC) and some beautiful loose teas (one of the store's claims to fame.)

But the highlight of the afternoon was definitely an untraditional take on afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea (£35 per person) at The Berkeley, a luxe hotel in Knightsbridge. Served in the chic Caramel Room on fine-bone china by Paul Smith for Thomas Goode, this experience is a must for any fashion lover in London.

Inspired by the themes and colors of the Autumn/Winter 2009 runway season, today's service included sweets inspired by the designs by Christian Dior, Burberry, Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton, and Mulberry, among others. I also enjoyed a generous assortment of savory bites and delightful Pear Caramel and Chocolate Mint Truffle teas.

Seeking inspiration for his beautiful (and delicious!) creations, the pastry chef at The Berkeley attends the shows, which means that the menu for  Prêt-à-Portea changes every six months to coincide with the new fashion season (the A/W 09 menu kicked off just last week.)

Check out the gallery below to experience  Prêt-à-Portea for yourself - and if you're in London anytime soon, I'd definitely recommend a visit to The Berkeley.

Classic Tea Sandwiches

This Season's Inspiration for Prêt-à-Portea

A Detailed Description of "Cakes & Fancies"

Savory skewers, taster spoons and canapés

An Assortment of Sweets

More Sweets...

In addition to the biscuits seen here, Emanuel Ungaro cassis and cranberry bavarois with Curacao jelly and high-heeled tuile (back) and Emilio de la Morena caramelized banana mousse with red currant jam and over-sized chocolate collar (front).

Roger Vivier & Burberry Biscuits

Roger Vivier chocolate ‘over-the-knee’ boot biscuit with signature buckle and heart and Burberry Prorsum classic trench coat biscuit with rich cinnamon flavours and caramel belt and buttons.

A Closer Look at the Second Tier of Sweets....

Louis Vuitton pale pink bunny ears on a base of chestnut and pomegranate mousse

Matthew Williamson joconde sponge cake dress filled with lychee cream and spun sugar ruffles

Christian Dior almond macaroon with layered texture and white chocolate and blueberry ganache