Every day between 1 pm and 3:30 pm, the beautiful Grand America Hotel holds an Afternoon Tea in a beautifully decorated lounge facing the central gardens. Between the plush furniture, classic wall-length paintings, and live pianist gently serenading guests, walking into this event feels like stepping back in time to an antiquated culture that prides itself on etiquette and sophistication.
Tea selections range from exotic green tea blends, to black teas with chocolate and cinnamon accents, to acai pomegranate decaf. Luckily, narrowing down a selection to one tea is the only difficult decision to be made; everything else is literally handed to you on a silver platter by lavishly dressed waiters with perfect manners and immaculate service. Finally opting for Green Tea Passion (with hints of guava, pineapple, and strawberry), and Celebration (an English Breakfast blend with subtle notes of rose and chocolate), the teas were presented in individual teapots that steeped as the first course of strawberries and crème chantilly (basically a vanilla mousse with berries) was served.
Next came a three-tier silver serving platter, loaded down with five varieties of finger sandwiches, including steamed asparagus and cream cheese, chicken and mango chutney, and seafood pate on biscuits. The delicate size and the obvious attentiveness that went into their preparation made them all the more decadent. Following the savory course, another platter arrived, this one laden with all manners of sweet and indulgent pastries, including English scones with clotted creams, berry and lemon cream custards, fruit filled gumdrops, and an unbelievably decadent chocolate and berry mousse.
The experience was like hosting a tea party for your imaginary friends and dolls, except as an adult. It is difficult not to fancy yourself a member of Parliament in turn-of-the-century England, or a character in a Jane Austen novel, as you sit in the exquisitely sophisticated and proper environment that the Grand America has created for this event. Of course, you don’t have to fake a British accent the entire time like we did, but it made the entire affair even more memorable.
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