The British aren’t known for their culinary skills however, we must appreciate them for the tradition of afternoon tea. When we were in Chicago for Thanksgiving my sister treated my mother and I to afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel and what a treat it was!
Tea is served in the Palm Court which is an elegant room with lavish chairs and sofas. We each selected the tea which we wanted to try. We all gravitated to the flavored black teas; I tried the Pear Caramel, my sister tried the Orange Dulce, and my mom tried the Bombay Chai. We each were brought a tea pot with the loose tea and a server came by with hot water for the pots. He came by fairly frequently and continued to top of the tea water. My Pear Caramel tea was luscious; sweet and creamy! I know creamy is not typically how one might describe tea but the caramel gave the tea a richness which I can only describe as creamy.
We were served three tiers with delicious snacks. It had four different types of finger sandwiches; Roast Beef, Cucumber & Tomato, Egg Salad and Asparagus & Smoked Salmon. Each was a wonderful little bite of flavor! The second tier had scones and sweet walnut loaf bread. Both were nice but we did feel the scones were a little bland. Finally, the last tier included all the necessary accompaniments including preserves, lemon curd and English double Devon cream. We ate and chatted for almost two hours with a harpist playing in the backgound. When we were full and the table cleared they brought out another plate with lovely pastries. They were delicious! We really wish we had saved a little more room for them!
I do recognize we are longer in colonial times when we can spend two hours at tea everyday. But, it is a wonderful leisurely way to spend an afternoon. I think we should consider it more often when we want to chat and catch up with friends and family!
Drake Hotel – Palm Court
140 East Walton Place
Chicago, IL 60611