Most people think of “Afternoon Tea” as a very British event, but what many people don’t know is that we Southern Belles love it, as well! We go to tea rooms in fancy hotels, have tea at small cafes, and actually have tea rooms in some small towns. We also have traditional bridal teas and such for weddings.
This past week I visited my favorite tea room–The Garden View Lounge at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando, Florida. It is a gorgeous tea room, reminiscent of the Victorian era, and the food is to die for! So I wanted to bring a little of my experience to you here on Magnolias & Mimosas. Let me first explain that Afternoon Tea is NOT High Tea as many people wrongly describe it. High tea is actually more of a “supper” with meats and cheeses and is a very filling meal, much like our suppertime here in the US.
Afternoon tea is traditionally taken from 3 pm to 5 pm (this may vary slightly) and consists of tea (of course!), scones, small sandwiches, etc. You can also have wine or champagne with afternoon tea, as you see I did. At many tea rooms, the whole experience of afternoon tea can get quite expensive ($30-$70 per person depending on the menu you choose), but it is worth it!
So to give you a little taste (don’t lick the screen!) of my afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian, keep reading! I chose to have a “royal” tea that included a glass of champagne and four courses. The first course was a selection of fruits and cheeses. I love cheese! No, you don’t understand…I LOVE CHEESE! So cheese and champagne were right up my alley! It included four cheeses, raisins on the vine, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, starfruit, and honey on the honeycomb. If you’ve never had honey directly from the honeycomb…you seriously have to try it!
The next course consisted of several tea sandwiches, more cheese, and lavash. The sandwiches were egg salad, goat cheese and beet, traditional cream cheese and cucumber, and curried chicken. The curried chicken and the goat cheese and beet were my favorites. I also enjoyed the egg salad, but the cucumber wasn’t quite as good as I’d had before. There was also an onion tart included that was very tasty, also. However, it was all still very yummy!
The last courses of scones and desserts are brought out together almost immediately after the tea sandwiches. The scone was a delicious raisin scone with apricot jam, Devonshire cream, and lemon curd. The lemon curd is delicious on the raspberry tart that is included with the scone course. For the scones, I choose to always put my jam on the scone and then put the Devonshire or Clotted cream on top of that. Scones are my favorite part of afternoon tea, and I actually make them quite often at home when I have afternoon tea for myself.
The final course is dessert, and you get to choose from English trifle, strawberries and cream, or a selection of pastries. I have had the pastries before and wanted something a bit lighter so I chose the strawberries and cream. This was perhaps the most beautifully presented of all the courses! The cream was luscious and had a sprinkled red GF on top for “Grand Floridian.” It was such a beautiful dessert! And of course, YUMMY!
As you can see, the tradition of afternoon tea is not lost with this Southern Belle. I enjoy celebrating this British and Southern tradition quite often, and I especially enjoy it when I get to go to such a fabulous hotel and tea room! So if you have the chance to celebrate a small afternoon tea wherever you are, I highly recommend it! If you can get to Disney World to the Grand Floridian, I definitely recommend the Garden View Lounge. Also, if you are near a Ritz-Carlton hotel, many of them also serve afternoon tea as do many boutique hotels such as The Hermitage in Nashville or The Peabody in Memphis. So, happy tea-time and enjoy your weekend!