I enjoy afternoon tea. Do you? It’s such a civilized thing. To take a break in the afternoon while enjoying a book and some solitude or to invite friends in to share the experience – both are great fun for me, but sometimes I like to go out to a special place for afternoon tea. It could be a small and charming tea house in the country or something quite different – a snazzy hotel tea in a big city.
A mix of these experiences makes for a very happy me. Let me tell you about one of my last afternoon teas which happened to take place in New York City at the St. Regis hotel. This hotel has a long history and I do like history. It also has the elegance I enjoy very much. Just look at its entrance.
First stop – looking for the ladies room. One must “fix up”.
Down the stairs I go.
There are lots of stairs with lots of lovely marble, lots of lovely carpeting too. It’s fun for me to stroll around exploring. I’ve always been interested in interior decoration. You too?
It’s not so much the tea that pleases me, but of course I do like tea. It’s all the pretty things connected with tea. At home, for example, I like to use pretty antique tea cups not ordinary mugs. And why would I bother going out, getting all dressed up, just to have tea in an ordinary and boring place? No, I’m afraid afternoon tea requires something more special – at least for me and so far so good at this hotel. I like the bones of this place – all the rooms I’ve past through are quite pleasing to me. How do you feel about the St. Regis so far?
As I step into the actual tea room I look up and I’m enchanted. Nothing like a blue sky overhead with puffy white clouds. The twinkle lights may not be realistic, but that’s ok with me. They create a nice romantic feeling and I am a Romantic after all.
This place has a heavenly European feeling – the frescoes on the walls, the Baroque gilt work – all very elegant and old world and the rest of the lighting in the tea room is quite pleasant too. One must have soft lighting to take tea you know. Soft lighting is relaxing and tea is a time for relaxation. Candles are always a nice touch too, anytime and anywhere. I’m pleased to see candles on the tables.
But of course it’s not just the room that’s important. When I go to a fine hotel for the afternoon tea experience there must be fancy food. Hopefully it will taste good, but it must look good. Ideally it should be something I could never make at home and a beautiful presentation is all important as well. I’m not fussy, am I? Well, for the price a hotel tea commands one has the right to be a little fussy, or a lot fussy.
I order Earl Grey tea, my favorite,
and then the food arrives.
It’s a nice plate of assorted tea sandwiches which should be devoured first
Then a three tiered serving tray arrives.
Patrick poses with the server. Patrick is my son who lives in Manhattan and he is my regular companion for New York City teas.
The scones look yummy. Some are plain and others contain raisins.
There’s nothing quite like “smathering” warm scones with delicious Devon creme, that is, unless you also place a scoop of jam atop the creme.
The table was set with all the extras one could want – Devon creme, Raspberry jam, Lemon curd, plus plenty of sliced lemon for our tea. One must come hungry in order to handle all these goodies – many cups of tea with many bites.
It helps to be with a good conversationalist too for this tea ceremony goes on for quite a while. I have that in my Patrick.
We started at the top and worked our way down through the goodies on the three tiered tray.
The desserts were almost more than we could handle but our tummies made room for every last bite.
And after tea it was definitely time for a very very long walk in Central Park.
Daily at home teas can be quite simple and quite enjoyable. Add guests to afternoon teas and we fuss a little more with a presentation and the serving of special goodies, be they home made or purchased at the market, but a hotel tea is another thing all together. It can be very great fun if that hotel is an elegant place with elegant service and elegant food. At least it’s always great fun for me!
In an ever-faster world, I think it’s important to pause and enjoy simple pleasures
and not so simple pleasures too.
Afternoon tea is one of those pleasures for me.
How ’bout for you?