Plan your visit by deciding what type of tea experience you would like. A reservation is usually required twenty-four hours in advance for a full afternoon tea (tea, savouries, scones, sweets and dessert). If you prefer a cream tea (tea, scones, jam and cream) or a light afternoon tea (tea, scones and sweets), a reservation is not necessary in most cases. Your best bet is to call or visit their website for additional information.
I recall a wonderful afternoon tea a few years ago at the Crabapple Tea Room in Alpharetta, GA. Sadly, this tea room is no longer in business. The tiered tea-tray included four types of sandwiches, blueberry scones with homemade lemon curd, fresh fruit, mini heart-shaped red velvet cakes, phyllo pastry cups with custard and pecan praline garnish, and more.
It is interesting to see how the menus vary from one tea room to another. For example, a tea room I visited in Toronto, ON served seafood gumbo as part of their afternoon tea. Another place might serve mini quiche, sausage rolls or some other type of savory. Some may use edible flowers. One of my favorite tea rooms in Savannah, GA uses fresh orchid flowers on their beautiful tea trays.
Maybe you’re looking for a tea room with a more masculine decor, where your hubby can feel comfortable. I visited one in Ontario that had very dark rich wood paneling, geometric pattern carpeting and framed caricature drawings on the walls. They offered a cheese platter with Stilton cheese, among others and a glass of port wine. In Charleston, GA there is a grand hotel with a tea room featuring lots of plaid and an equestrian theme decor. There are many Asian inspired tea rooms out there as well. So don’t think that you must take tea in a room filled with lace, hats and the color pink.
To me, the best establishments should have a large assortment of loose teas. Many times the servers are quite knowledgeable and will be happy to recommend a tea for you to try. The tea should be brought to the table properly steeped and decanted. There is nothing worse than tea leaves that are left to stew in the pot and produce a bitter cup.
So, treat yourself to a visit to your local tea room, or find one when you are traveling like I do and enjoy the afternoon tea experience. I almost forgot to mention another great reason for visiting a tea room – their gift shop where the tea enthusiast can find lots of tea theme treasures as a memento.
Don’t forget to check out the parTEA Lady’s blog, Tea and Talk!
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