high tea

Whenever I think of a British high tea, images of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins come racing to my mind. Poor Audrey Hepburn was looking so famished as Colonel Pickering and Higgins were enjoying their… “Then say ‘cup,cup,cup,cup, of,of,of,of’. By Jove, Higgins, that was a glorious tea!”

Visiting different tearooms throughout the U.S. and Canada has always been on HB’s and my itinerary. What better time to enjoy British high tea, than during the inspiring 2012 London Olympic games! We’ve enjoyed this tradition at The Empress Hotel, Ye Olde England Inn,  the White Heather Tea Room and Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, to name a few. But we have always loved the quiet, dignified ambience of The Grand America Hotel afternoon tea in downtown Salt Lake City.

 The three-tiered silver platter arrived featuring finger sandwiches, scones and the usual scone condiments. The tea sandwiches were delightful. We had ham and cheddar on marbled rye, smoked salmon crepes with horseradish, cucumber olive salad and our favorite… chicken mango on white bread.

As we sat down, we observed a large goblet with an unusual dried pod sitting at its base.  Our charming hostess, Danealle Plascencia, explained that is was a blossom tea flower from China. She added hot water, and after a few moments passed the little pod blossomed into a beautiful and intricate flower with a bright red center, floating in the glass.

Our favorite tea plate has always been the scones with  clotted cream, fresh homemade jam and lemon curd. These  baked sweet biscuits are q perfect fit with a cup of  hot tea. HB chose the herbal mint lemongrass while I enjoyed the fruity chamomile. There is a variety of traditional English teas to select from and several choices of hot chocolate flavors.

When the dessert platter arrived… we were in heaven! The paté de fruits (gumdrops) were raspberry, green apple, and mango. We loved the subtle favors of the citrus madeleines, linzer cookies, and strawberry pistachio gateaux. With no more room for dessert, we boxed up the lemon cream tartlets and praline gateaux. That was a good thing, as we probably would have purchased every one of their praline gateaux, being filled with the most decadent chocolate you can imagine (with a distinctive crunch in each bite)… oh my, how we enjoyed these!

The harpist was excellent, playing soft and gentle melodies… a perfect complement to our peaceful, serene and satisfying afternoon.

We have been frequent visitors to the Grand America and always enjoyed their afternoon tea. This is indeed a special treat any time of the year – but in keeping with the English tradition of high tea, the Grand America did not disappoint.

I would especially like to thank managers Roberto Martinas and Zeljra for attending to all our needs. Service at the Grand is always exemplary.

I’d love to hear any comments. Have you or your family engaged in anything British during these Olympics you’d like to share? 

*Disclosure: Thanks to Grand America for sponsoring this post. The ideas and content are my own.