Sunday, January 24, 2010

Afternoon tea at the Taj

Time to burst a few bubbles.

When the English talk of "tea," they mean the
hot beverage whose consumption follows any activity of moderate exertion.

(Where I grew up, tea was also the evening meal. Dinner was what you ate at noon.)

Hardly ever, though, does tea involve tiny sandwiches and clotted cream and daintycakes. This is a
still-vivid misapprehension about life in England: that everyone stops work at 4 p.m. for a pot of tea and some delicate snacks.

In fact, most people are too busy for anything more than a quick cuppa and a couple of

So when we went to
the Taj in Boston for afternoon tea to celebrate my birthday, it was as much of a novelty for me as for anyone else.

There were teeny-tiny open-face sandwiches with egg salad and prosciutto-melon:

Smoked salmon dolloped with chived cream cheese and caviar, and little lobster choux puffs:

And cucumber sandwiches, built from translucent layers of refreshing green crunchiness:

And then came dessert: scones with clotted cream and lemon curd,

Macaroons, opera cake, financier, and a lemon tart finished with gold leaf,

and a horribly out-of-season strawberry dipped in dark chocolate.

Oh, and there was tea, loose-leaf, served in individual pots that sat on handy warming plates. That too was a novelty; where I come from, you keep your tea warm with a

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Anonymous jo said...

We did once stop for a full blown tea in York at Betty's tea room (he thought I should experience it just once), but I've only ever wanted a cuppa and a tea cake.
I hope the birthday was a lovely one.

6:50 PM  

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