Saturday, February 5, 2022

Do Have a Spot of Tea

 RHYS BOWEN:

This wasn't the post I planned for today. But I was cutting vegetables earlier today and I  neatly sliced a bit off my finger, so typing isn't my favorite occupation at the moment.  Hence I'll put up the post I had planned for Sunday.

Yesterday's post was about food--weird and wonderful food, including Marmite and chicken livers.

Today it's all about the most civilized of food: the British tea party. I grew up on tea. IN England when I was a young person a cup of tea solved everything. If you were cold you had a cup of tea. If you were sad, you had cup of tea. If you were in shock, had had a baby or an operation a cup of tea was offered before anything else. I still have to have my tea first thing in the morning and at tea time. It's another thing that's in the genes. 

But the formal tea party is something I still love to do: it's a perfect way to entertain, everything on the table, no need to get up and serve, only to pour a few cups. I once did a TV program on the British tea party. A crew came to my house to film me having tea with my friends. It was nerve-wracking to have a camera on close up while I poured cups of tea (do not spill. Do not spill....)

I was smart enough to have my two little granddaughters at a separate small table, looking adorable with miniature china cups. I figured it all else went wrong you couldn't beat two sweet little girls having tea! Luckily nothing did go wrong and I have served many tea parties since, including one this Christmas, and then one for my neighbors only last week. The former celebrated my Wedgwood China set, left to me by a very dear friend and the latter a Christmas present from daughter Anne: an antique three tier serving stand!

The classic tea should have finger sandwiches: I usually serve cucumber, smoked salmon with cream cheese, and sometimes egg salad. Then freshly baked scones with cream and jam and finally little cakes and biscuits. And people just help themselves.

I should explain that high tea is something quite different. It is a meal instead of dinner or supper, traditionally served when the servants had a night off. It is heartier than a usual tea, containing a boiled egg, scrambled eggs, sliced ham or something more nourishing.

When I am traveling I treat myself  to tea, in London, in Victoria BC at the Empress, in Banff at the Banff Springs Hotel and at smaller venues too. Banff Springs did not win my favorites award when they served grated carrot sandwiches. Yuck.

So who has had the perfect British tea? Recommendations in London? Anywhere else? Most memorable tea party?





87 comments:

  1. Oh, goodness, I hope your finger is better soon, Rhys . . . .

    As for the tea, I’ve never been to one when we’ve traveled. However, the women’s group at our church has a tea every September . . . finger sandwiches [but no grated carrot filling, I’m happy to say], scones, desserts, and tea. We probably don’t do it quite the same as the British, but we always have an enjoyable time together, and it is something I look forward to each year.

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  2. 1. Rhys, that's one of my nightmares: slicing my finger & having to go to the ER during covid. Hope you didn't have to go.
    2. LOVE all things tea-related!
    But can't tell you the number of times I've explained the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea.

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    1. Luckily no ER. I'll need a Bandaid keeping the cuts safe for a few days.
      And I've also tried to educate on the difference. Also that Earl Grey is not the classic British tea!

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    2. I very much dislike the taste of Earl Grey tea.
      Two of my pet tea peeves are tepid water (Give the poor tea a chance-give it properly boiled water!) and being offered Earl Grey when I ask for black tea. They usually seem to think they are doing me some great favor to offer such a wonderful tea and are amazed when I decline.

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  3. Oh, Rhys, I hope your finger heals quickly and did not require a trip to the ER!

    I can't speak to having perfect British tea, but I do remember my first experience of "real" tea. It was in New York City at the Lord & Taylor tea room. My mother took me. I think I was three or four and I know I concentrated on the cookies and pastry!

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    1. Amazing what the department stores used to have. I fondly remember the Walnut Room at Marshall Fields in Chicago.

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    2. I used to love department stores lunches and teas. My mother and I always went together.

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  4. We writers do need our typing fingers. Hope yours recovers in short order.

    Ah, afternoon tea. When I was a student in New York (and for many years thereafter), you could have tea at the Palm Court at the Plaza. Or Sunday brunch. Lovely place. I just looked it up, and apparently you again can do so, and a "smart casual dress code is encouraged."

    When my youngest sister was married in San Francisco, the whole family stayed at the King George Hotel off Union Square, and one used to be able to get a lovely tea in their lobby. Apparently that is no longer a thing, but there are a couple of nearby hotels in the Square where that is possible.

    Here in Milwaukee, there are a couple of historic mansions, and the historic Pfister Hotel, where afternoon tea is served. I recently had lunch in the Pfister Lobby, and it would indeed be a lovely place for tea, with high ceilings and widely separated tables (take that, Covid!). They say they have a "tea butler." One used to be able to have tea as well as lunch about a block away, at the Watts Tea Room on the second floor of the historic Watts China Shop, but that went by the boards at the end of the Twentieth Century, along with its fantastic Sunshine Cake, which had seven minute frosting (does anyone still make seven minute frosting? And if so, how do you get it off your silverware?)

    Apparently one can also get afternoon tea at the Hilton Garden Inn which, forty years ago, used to house my law office suite in a wonderfully elegant Nineteenth Century office building with a central atrium. (I slept-- briefly-- on my office floor a few times when prepping for trials and so may have been one of the first to spend the night in that now converted building.)

    The first time I went to London, when I was 19, I took a day trip out of the city, to Runnymede and Hampton Court, and then had high tea at Windsor before returning in time to catch a play at the West End. I doubt I'd have that endurance nowadays, whether fortified by tea or not.

    But I do find that Earl Grey provides a wonderful change from coffee. And in my china cabinet, I have my grandmother's blue willow china tea set, used whenever her bridge club's rotation landed at her home. It is all cups and saucers and dessert plates, with extra sugar bowls and cream pitchers. They were all Russian, not British, but they knew and loved their orange pekoe.

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    1. You're right. No King George Tea any more. I'm not sure which SF hotel are now serving tea. And your day trip sounds perfect. We did all have great stamina once, didn't we?

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  5. Our John Greenleaf Whittier home museum here in Amesbury hosts a Victorian tea in Whittier's garden every summer. The volunteers go all out making finger sandwiches and sweet delicacies. We set up small round tables over the yard with pink tablecloths and floral cloth napkins. They have an impressive array of tea cups, saucers, and little plates. Everyone comes in their finest summer hats, and there's usually a live musician strumming tasteful background music. It's delightful!

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  6. Heal quickly, Rhys. It's not funny to cut a finger tip.

    I love a nice tea in both senses of the word. The most fabulous tea I've been to was on a Silver Sea cruise going through the Inside Passage from Anchorage to Vancouver. The food was sumptuous. Unfortunately (fortunately), I ate very little because that evening was going to be formal with a champagne dinner...and I'd shipped our "evening clothes" from Connecticut especially for the occasion. After a day of hiking, Irwin couldn't resist the little eclairs and cream puffs. Alas.

    Walking back to our suite, I knew something was up for our first cruise together. As I bounced off the corridor walls I knew we were in for a bumpy night. The storm that hit us was huge and the captain slowed the ship for safety reasons making us hours late to port the next morning. What was going on in our cabin was grim. Needless to say, we didn't attend a fancy dress-up dinner.

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    1. What an unfortunate memory, Judy!

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    2. JUDY: Ugh, sorry to hear about that memory! I get seasick (and motion sick) on both ferry crossings and twisty road trips, so I can't imagine how bad the motion was on that night.

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    3. It is funny now and has always been a better story than, "We attended a champagne dinner." LOL,

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    4. I've had friends who reported bumpy seas on the Inside Passage, so I think I'll avoid. The only time I've had bad seas on a cruise was when we went from San Francisco through the Canal to Florida and we had to avoid three separate hurricanes. The swimming pool on the deck looked like Niagara Falls!

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  7. The first tea event I went to was at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC and what a wonderful experience it was. I've had tea at other venues, in Toronto, in New York, and in California. No one has topped my Empress Hotel experience.

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    1. DRU: Yes, the Empress Hotel is a special place. I am glad you were able to enjoy your tea there.

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  8. hit enter quickly. Hope your fingers heal quickly. One of the reasons I stay away from knives.

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    1. Thank you. Both thumb and finger sliced and bandaged but not too bad. I can still type which is the main thing.

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  9. So sorry about the knife Rhys! John bought me a new paring knife for Christmas and we cut our fingers on sequential nights. Ouch!

    I loved the tea at the Captain's House in Chatham MA. Amazing cakes! and gorgeous teapots to choose. I would go for a weekend just for tea!

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    1. One forgets how sharp good knives are, right? I hope you've both healed.

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  10. Years ago I worked with a woman from London who was horrified to find me brewing my morning cup of tea in the break-room microwave. ("What is that you're doing, Alicia?!") She insisted on a proper tea party for our entire office of eight women. We decorated the conference room with fresh flowers, and she brought in her favorite teapot (complete with tea cozy), china set, homemade scones, and cucumber sandwiches. It was delightful! And I never brewed a cup of tea in the microwave ever again.

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    1. It has to boil to expand the flavor buds in the tea. We now carry a tiny kettle when we travel as hotels have coffee makers that don't work well for tea.

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    2. Hotel coffee makers tend to be permeated with coffee oils that spoil the delicate tea flavors. IMHO

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  11. I was not one for tea parties with my dolls, --no dolls. As a child, the favored teacher was invited for end of the year tea with my mom and I. Not a formal party, home made cookies served, instead of sandwiches. The cups? These were the splendid cups all from Canada, brought back from our infrequent visits, all different floral designs.

    The first formal tea was at the Empress Hotel in Victoria B. C.. I was a preteen, the quiet elegance, and the skilled servers, it what I remember, not the food. I was shown a different world; a space that was special and safe, where the cuppa was more than a thirst quencher.

    Tea parties are magic, no? Thanks for the memory, Rhys.. How's the finger?

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    1. The finger is still sore but will be okay. Actually the story is worse than that. I forgot we have a set of very superior cutlery here in AZ. Slices through things very easily... on Friday I cut my thumb, slicing bread. On Saturday I cut my forefinger, slicing bread. Neither serious enough to warrant an ER visit but a little slice off each which is painful. No more bread slicing for me.

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    2. Blood sacrifices while meal preparation is not how it is supposed to go. Thank heaven for bandaids. Tripple ouch.

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  12. Your poor finger, Rhys!

    My tea experiences are few, but pretty great. Mariage Freres, on my first trip to Paris. The Orangery in Kensington Gardens, and the quirky tea room at Liberty of London, where my Brit friends taught me some of the finer points of that lovely ritual. Several girlfriends enjoyed a tea in a beautiful tea room here that no longer exists, in the home of the Doscher Candy Co, where they make most of the candy canes sold in the US. Covid forced them to close the tea room, alas.

    But I think my favorite was at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC, where my youngest daughter took me for Mother's Day a few years ago. It was so elegant and charming, and the service was exquisite. Plus, our server dished about all the famous people she had served over the years she'd worked there. A fun afternoon.

    Rhys, your pretty Wedgewood reminded me I have a partial set of Queensware still packed away. I bought it at an antique store, years ago, and just love its delicacy, especially for serving tea. Mine is the all cream color, and I used to use it with the forest green Harkerware I grew up with (with only six place settings). The green and cream combination was perfect for holiday dinners.

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    1. I love the Orangery, Karen. We always stay at Marble Arch so it's not far for me. And get out the china, even if it's just for you and Steve. Being locked down has taught me to enjoy the good things when you can.

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    2. That sounds like a beautiful combo!

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    3. Thanks, Lisa, it really works. The Harkerware has a cream-colored pattern on the edges.

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    4. Karen, I'm so glad you mentioned your China. I think I'll use my mother's for Valentine's Day this year. The last time I used it was ages ago.

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  13. RHYS: Ouch!
    My first afternoon tea experience was in London at a posh hotel when I was travelling alone in 1986. It was grand, the Darjeeling tea and three-tiered tray of goodies was a luxury for this Britrail, youth hostel traveller.

    Sadly, I have not been able to drink any black tea for over 20 years due to food allergies. I have tried a number of times over the years but I get the same result. I get nauseous after 10 minutes and then throw up. Sorry for that image!

    BUT...I was able to enjoy a luxurious holiday afternoon tea on December 12, 2021 at the Fairmount Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. They create their own tea blends and 15/20 of them were not black tea choices. So I was able to drink a WHITE tea scented with Ontario icewine and enjoy the three-tiered decadent tray of scones, 5 sandwiches and 5 desserts with a group of 20 ladies in our Ottawa Dining group.

    Two weeks later, Ontario shut down all in-person dining due to the omicron variant.
    I am glad I was able to enjoy that tea!

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    1. Grace - sorry to hear about your black tea allergy. My husband and I had tea at the Fairmount Chateau Laurier years ago. A real treat. An elegant experience. I'd love to go again when life is normal again - if ever.

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    2. Oh Grace, if I'd had a tea allergy I'm not sure how I would have got through life. But I do love Japanese teas.

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    3. RHYS: Yes, I understand that would be unbearable for you. I can drink herbal and Japanese and Chinese green teas but I do miss being able to drink a lovely cup of Darjeeling. It was the first time I drank a white tea. it was different, very delicate tasting, but nice.

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    4. JC: Yes, afternoon tea at any Fairmount hotel is an elegant, luxurious experience. I am glad you and your husband were able to go there, and hope you can visit Ottawa again, one day.

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    5. Grace, these allergies are so limiting! It seems that you always succeed in finding a way around them and I admire your willingness to try new things!

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    6. JUDY: Thanks! The black tea allergy has lasted the longest so avoidance had been the best way for a long time. And I have had to adjust my recipes a lot over the years to deal with the nightshade allergy too. Thank goodness I am not (yet) allergic to chocolate or coffee!

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  14. Absolutely love your Wedgewood. I have my mother's teapot that is my treasure. The only time I had a real tea was in our hotel in Bermuda on our honeymoon. A happy memory.

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  15. Oh poor thing! That is such a shock to the system. I hope it’s healing…
    I am not sure I have ever been to a formal tea. This is baffling to me. Can it be true?

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    1. Next time you're in my neck of the woods I'll serve you a fabulous tea!

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  16. I’m so sorry about your finger, Rhys, and can relate, having almost sliced a fingertip off with a mandolin slicer - ugh!

    My favorite teas were at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, Liberty of London and The Plaza Hotel in NYC. I had my bridesmaids’ luncheon at a tea shop in Dallas where they had a large collection of stunning hats for everyone to wear - it was lovely ~

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    1. Celia, I'm from Bath but have never had tea there. Next time! And the British tea room in Carefree AZ has a fabulous collection of hats. Such fun.

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    2. Rhys, I've been to the British tea room in Carefree! Such a fun and charming place. Isn't that where there is a lifesize cutout of the Queen?

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  17. Ah, bringing up memories of past teas.
    King Edward Hotel in Toronto does a nice tea. Also the Queen Mary Tea Room in Seattle.

    Back in 1973 I was driving around England with my friend Leslie and we hit upon a country hotel in Devon and had a fabulous cream tea in the sitting room (with a lovely spaniel watching our every bite). But the very very best was when my friend said, let's go to Portsmouth and visit my Auntie Eileen. She'll give us a slap-up tea.

    And boy, did she ever! I thought the tea table might collapse... I especially remember the meringues. :^)

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    1. The Very best teas I've had have been at small tea rooms in Devon and Cornwall. The real clotted cream... and John adores meringues.

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  18. I could talk about this for days! My friends and I formed the Public Employees Registered Female Engineers Conversation and Tea Society, aka PERFECTS. We’ve gone to most of the tea venues in SoCal.

    I can remember calling around to places in the 90s and asking if they did afternoon tea. I will never forget the response of one locale, “We have tea, and you can drink it in the afternoon.” Definitely not what we were looking for.

    Pasadena has a large British ex-pat community, so there are lots of places there. Rose Tree Cottage is a lovely experience, but making reservations is another type of experience. You have to call at a specific time, a certain number of days ahead, and woe betide anyone who tries to change the number of people in the intervening weeks.

    We went to the Millennium Biltmore in DTLA and received teabags in thick white coffee mugs. They have since upped their game. For a brief time you could have tea on the Queen Mary - imagine how many cuppas have been served onboard!

    Chado Tea at the Japanese American National Museum in DTLA was a favorite because they were open on workdays and we could meet for afternoon tea at lunchtime.

    I also used to love hosting teas at home. Sadly all of the accoutrements went during the purge when we moved to our condo except for one teapot and a few favorite cups.

    And then there are the tea hats,,,,

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    1. Tea bags? Mugs? Oh no. But the hats... I go to a British tea room in Carefree AZ and the owner has hats hanging on pegs for guests to use.

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  19. We are going to the Wild Tart in Elora, Ontario, Canada for a classic tea this afternoon. The pastry chef came from a Michelin one star hotel in London, UK. The pastries are divine! My all time favourite tea was the Christmas tea at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. My son lives there and once each visit visit we try a different hotel for tea. Looking forward to being able to travel again.

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    1. I read this and thought, but wait, restaurants aren't open....but they are! Elora is close to home and this sounds like a truly wonderful place to try. Thanks.

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    2. I had the same thought about Ontario restaurants but that's because we're under sieged in Ottawa and most downtown restaurants have been closed for 9 days!

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    3. SHIRLEY: Elora is a lovely town, enjoy! I went there a few times when I was studying in Waterloo.

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  20. We're all dying to travel again, Shirley. And a Michelin starred chef! Have a wonderful time.

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  21. Rhys, it may be my Anglo-Scottish ancestry, but I also believe a cup of tea solves all ills. Admittedly, in the UK it's a lot easier to find a proper cup of tea while in stressful circumstances - sitting in the emergency department or waiting to see what the mechanic says about your car - than it is here, where the usual offer is a bag in not-hot-enough water.

    I think tea is the perfect form of entertainment, and I am DEAD jealous of your antique serving stand! Your daughter knows you well.

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  22. I think the most unexpected place I've ever had tea was in Cody, Wyoming, a place called the Willow Fence. It's closed now, I understand, the owner retired and moved away.

    It was such a cute restaurant, with different-themed areas and tables, and lots of hats you could borrow while having your tea. I took my friend there for her 60th birthday.

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  23. I'm a big tea drinker - my winter afternoon warmup is Chai tea with honey. And we had cream tea in Bath at the Pump Room - scones with jam and clotted cream. And the fountain in the room bubbled with sulfurous spring water, supposedly "good for you." There re several wonderful spots in Boston for "high" tea.

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    1. HALLIE: Darn, I visited Bath twice but never had tea at the Pump Room or Royal Crescent. Too late now. SIGH

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  24. When I was in high school (graduated in 1967!) I went to Scotland, Ireland, and England on a trip with my mother. We had tea almost every day, but not necessarily formal "tea".
    We went to a matinee at the theatre and ordered tea for the intermission. It was delivered to us at our seats. I had a proper tea pot with loose leaf tea. My mother had sherry.
    When I was in college I went back to London. Suddenly all that was being offered (at least where I went) were tea bags. It made me sad.
    But you can be sure the water was properly heated!

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  25. Ouch! Hope the fingers are better soon. Did the damage alter your fingerprints?

    I love tea of most varieties and I collect two cup size tea pots. I've never experienced a high tea. I do have fond memories of the spreads after English Country or Scottish Dance Balls where everyone brought goodies from home and tea was made in massive brown earthernware pots. Usually, someone who knew how took over the tea making tasks. No tea bags but you didn't necessarily want to be the last in line.

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  26. Rhys, I hope your injuries heal quickly! It's amazing how annoying a bandaged finger can be--never mind the injury itself!

    I love tea--hot, iced, white, green, black--but, alas, tea does not like me. Makes me crazy--not sure why--but have always wanted to do an afternoon tea!

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  27. I took my sister to afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel in London in 2018 for her birthday. It was a couple of days before Harry and Meghan got married, and the Savoy was calling it a “Royal High Tea.” Everything was perfect, from the tea to the scones with cream.

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  28. If you are ever in Salt Lake City, (yes. I know nobody does that on purpose.) tea at The Grand America hotel is well worth sampling.

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  29. I love everyone's stories! I think my first afternoon tea was the best one. My m-i-l and I were stranded in London due to flooding in 2000. Bless her heart, she marched into the Ritz for afternoon tea and was told there was a waiting list months long. The concierge was really sweet and suggested we try Brown's Hotel. I was tickled as that was where Melrose Plant used to stay when in London before he started staying at his father's club. I'm referring to the Richard Jury mysteries by Martha Grimes. Anyway we had only a ten or fifteen minute wait before we were seated in a crowded parlour with sofas and comfy chairs and tables all wedged in for the tea crowd. It was glorious. Our individual tea pots, a three tier stand with sandwiches, scones, and goodies. Plus a waiter kept circulating with nut bread slices. Just a perfect introduction to afternoon tea.

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  30. RHYS,

    I would love to see that TV program of you giving a tea party. That sounds lovely. I love tea too and I think that must be in my DNA makeup. I am brewing a cup of Earl Grey tea this morning. Usually for my birthday, I give a tea party.

    On my first trip abroad (outside the US), my family had tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC. It was lovely. When we went to Fortnum and Mason, we were about to order tea and tea sandwiches when someone at the next table lit up a cigarette! Yuck! We cannot taste food if someone is smoking. Yikes! Thankfully, they do not allow smoking in restaurants these days, I think ?

    When we visited Scotland, I remember having tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberries. That was in the summer. Yum!

    Now I am experimenting and trying to come up with a gluten free dairy free version of tea and scones at home.

    Love these photos too!

    Diana

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  31. RHYS,

    Hope that your injuries heal quickly. I am so sorry that happened.

    Diana

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  32. One of my greatest traveling desires is to have a proper English tea in England, in London and other locations. When traveling is safer, I will take my trip to England, probably more than one trip.

    My first "tea" was in a hotel in the states, but I swear, I can't remember where. My husband and I were traveling somewhere when we were first married. I do remember it was a lovely affair. The two teas I've had since are connected to our own Debs here. Lesa Holstine (the new Raven Award recipient) and I traveled to St. Louis to have a tea at the London Tea Room in St. Louis to see Debs on her promotional tour for A Bitter Feast. That event was so much fun, small and intimate. Then, the tea at Bouchercon (New Orleans or St. Pete?) where Debs interviewed Carolyn Todd and Charles Todd. You could tell how much the three of them enjoyed each other's company.

    Oh, and Rhys, I hope your finger heals quickly.

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    1. Those were such fun, Kathy! I hope we get to have another afternoon tea together soon!

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  33. So sorry about your cut fingers, Rhys! Even little cuts on fingers are just the worst. I'm always super careful after we sharpen our knives!

    Oh, afternoon tea, proper tea! I've had so many wonderful teas in London; the Ritz, Grosvenor House (my first proper tea with my parents on my first trip to England in the 70s,) the Dorchester with my friend Deb Harkness, Fortnum and Mason (not my fave,) Brown's Hotel, Claridge's. The Claridge's tea was with my daughter when it was still Gordon Ramsay's restaurant there, and it was absolutely the most perfect tea ever. But my top choice these days for tea in London is St. Ermin's Hotel, near Victoria Station and Scotland Yard. They do a brilliant tea for a not unreasonable price. My aspirational tea for the next visit would be at The Fitzroy in Bloomsbury. Can't wait!

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  34. I forgot one, very pricey but a great experience--Sketch, in Conduit Street in Mayfair.
    https://sketch.london/ Check out the menu and the gallery!

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    1. DEBS: That interactive gallery is cute but I did a poor job!
      The three-tiered tray toppled over after I put one item on the edge of the top plate, lol.

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  35. I've been to a number of lovely afternoon teas. The best had to be the afternoon tea my friends surprised me with for my birthday at the gorgeous Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. The date, March 1, 2020. The last carefree day I have spent with friends or in public. I have occasionally gone out and I have seen friends lately, but I can never describe those occasions as totally carefree as was my lovely birthday tea. Even masked and vaccinated the shadow still hangs over us.

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  36. I forgot to add in a few weeks I am going to attend a Mardi Gras afternoon tea in rural Virginia at a restored estate. Which will include so many favorites of mine, afternoon tea, restored estates, any Mardi Gras celebration since I moved away from Louisiana, and the beautiful Virginia countryside. I will of course have a lovely hat. As one who has enjoyed attending The Kentucky Derby and The Oakes, I have a wonderful collection of hats perfect for teas. My lifestyle seldom gives me an opportunity to dress up. Normally I look like a bag lady curled in the corner of my couch reading.

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  37. So sorry about your injury, Rhys. But thank you for this post! I am now enjoying a lovely cup of tea and biscuits (cookies)!

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  38. Perfect: Christmas tea at the Fairmount Olympic in Seattle. My grandson knew I'd love the experience, since I've always talked about my grandmother giving my bro and I tea. She was taught by her own grandmother who was British, Lady Mary Ellen Herd. I can put together a nice tea, and hope I don't slice into my finger! And I love Earl Grey tea, but Jasmine is my favorite.

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  39. My Mother and flew from Boston to NYC to go to the Metropolitan Opera and we had tea at the Plaza before catching the shuttle back home.
    Very elegant and beautiful memory.

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  40. I was lucky enough to have High Tea at Browns in London, and I’ll never forget it. I’m with you when it comes to tea, it’s the perfect go-to drink for anything that ails. Enjoy a cup while you finger mends.

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  41. I love going to tea, and San Francisco has several places that do it well: The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel, The Fairmont Hotel, The Ritz Carlton (where I celebrated my 50th birthday, including a bottle of Cristal Champagne provided by a friend), plus a plethora of small tea rooms in San Francisco and in Oakland.

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  42. Thank you for this lovely post, Rhys. Without an English gene at all, tea is till the drink that gets my heart beating in the morning, and and an afternoon tea is my favorite meal ( Maybe it was was the Canadian relatives...) I'm so sorry I didn't see this lovely post until late last night (Grandma duty) and then I did write something full of memories of trips to Great Britain and Canada and my laptop promptly ate it! This late, I will just share the answer to the question:after many trips and many cozy teas at cozy shops, I finally splurge on a trip my employer was paying for...and had tea at the Ritz! And it was fabulous. Plus, tea is the perfect meal after an overnight transatlantic flight. Jet lagged, tired, hungry, confused about what meal is the right one.A bottomless pot of tea, lovely scones and fresh jam and cream, and high-calorie desserts is the perfect answer. :-)

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