Isn’t it grand to have afternoon tea?

For our first tea of 2012, the Victorian Tea Society visited The Grand Tea Room, which opened in September 2011.  The tea room was lovely with chandeliers, wall sconces, frescoes, comfy sofas, big chairs, and even a (faux) fireplace.  I felt like I was dining in someone’s formal dining room, in a European style mansion!

Lady MH decorated our place settings with beautiful orchids from her garden.

Easter shortbread cookie from the hostess, Lady ML

Soup and savory course: Tomato basil soup with garlic Parmesan baguette toast.  The soup was wonderfully hot!  Other times I had soup for afternoon tea, the soup was cold even though it was not a chilled soup or gazpacho.

Sandwich course: Open-faced cucumber and cream cheese with dill on white bread; Egg salad on wheat; and chicken cranberry salad on a mini-croissant.  The sandwiches were mediocre and lacked flavor.  The bread could have been fresher.  The chicken salad croissant sandwich was the best of the 3.

Duckie salt and pepper shakers (background) and accoutrements for the scones: raspberry jam, Devonshire cream, and lemon curd (the latter two made in-house)

Fruit and savory course: Bacon, green chile, and cheese quiche with fresh assorted fruits: pineapple, kiwi, red grapes, and blackberries.  I enjoyed the quiche, both texture and temperature, but the green chiles were lost.  I wish it had a bit of a spicy kick or stronger chile flavor.

Scone course: Cherry walnut and cream scones.  I was really excited that they offered cream (plain) scones!   I have always felt that lemon curd and cream are wasted on flavored scones.  The scones were decent although I could have done without the pink sugar crystals.

Dessert course: Millionaire’s shortbread, lemon meringue tart, pineapple-apricot cake pop, and chocolate mousse.  I thought all the desserts were good but I still make better ones at home!

Overall, I was really pleased with this tea room and I think it’s my favorite to date.  My favorite part of the tea was the tea itself.  The Grand Tea Room is the only tea room where I’ve enjoyed perfectly hot tea!  That sounds like a given but up until today, I had never had hot tea in a tea room–it’s always just warm.  This was truly a revelation.  Their tea selection was also very good.  This is where I first sampled Yorkshire Gold which gave me a new appreciation for black tea.  I would go back to the Grand Tea Room just to sip their tea!  I would also go back for their hot soup and cream scones. 🙂 “

“A simple cup of tea is far from a simple matter.”

― Mary Lou Heiss, The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

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