Over the weekend, the Royal Lancaster Hotel offered a Fairtrade Banana Afternoon Tea with a selection of freshly prepared Fairtrade banana finger sandwiches, “banana fancies”, and a choice from a selection of Fairtrade teas. The introduction of this especially a-peel-ing menu coincided with the end of Fairtrade Fortnight, which also featured events such as a “Go Bananas Campaign” effort to break the record for the largest number of Fairtrade bananas eaten during a 24-hour period. Cadbury Dairy Milk announced its plans to go Fairtrade during the fortnight too.
We’re not sure if the Royal Lancaster plans to continue their Fairtrade Banana menu, but we hope they do. The little sandwiches were delish (Londonist particularly enjoyed the banana and curry mayonnaise with smoked chicken) and the fancies were delectable (the deep-fried toffee banana with vanilla ice cream was a winner!). Choosing from the variety of Fairtrade teas available presented us with a toughie. We opted with the Green Tea Passion (“smooth China green tea leaves harmoniously blended with sweet tropical fruits of pineapple and guava”) to the delight of our banana-fied palates.
Such do-gooder tactics appear to be part of the Royal Lancaster’s sincere attempt to provide their guests with sustainable and eco-conscious accommodations. The hotel won the Sustainable Tourism Award at the 2008 Visit London Awards Ceremony and includes in their mission statement a commitment to “improving energy efficiency and protecting the environment at all levels of the business, from shareholders, employees and guests, we will endeavour to minimise the impact our operations have on the environment.” Fair traded bananas or not, our afternoon tea at the Royal Lancaster was an exceedingly pleasant affair. It’s hard to beat attentive service in a smart and comfortable setting steps from Hyde Park. Throw in a glass of bubbly along side your tea, and you’re set for an appetizing afternoon.
Photography by Chris Osburn