This year my friend, Kathleen announced that we should celebrate my birthday by going out for High Tea. What a fun idea! As you know, I love all things tea and it is Kathleen with whom I occasionally throw a tea party. Remember this pretty table we set? And this one?
It has been so fun to have a kindred spirit to share my love of tea and tea time treats with. Kathleen bakes incredible scones that she serves with homemade whipped cream. Kathleen has been to Scotland and drank restorative cups of tea with her relatives after touring the countryside. Kathleen knows what I mean when I talk about different kinds of flour or how to judge which baking sheet to use or the process of making lemon curd. She gets the nuances of baking and entertaining that I think are so much fun.
I mention all of this because I don't believe that there are two people in Michigan more qualified to take tea and appreciate it. Kathleen and I absolutely loved the "Royalty Tea" at The Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan. The table was set beautifully with fine linens, pretty rose-covered china pattern, a 3-tier serving tray loaded with handmade specialties and flutes of champagne!
Our first task was to consider the tea selection each tea and choose two for the table. We uncorked each glass vial and had fun saying what we could detect - teas that were "very floral", "coconut-y", "had chocolate notes", "faint apricot." Kathleen chose a caffeinated tea with coconut essence and I went with my standby, English Breakfast - to me, it's the perfect tea.
Kathleen and I decided to eat our way through the selections together, so that we could make comments. These scones were delicious! We dabbed them with clotted cream and lemon and they were the perfect. Look at the crunchy sugar on top - love it!
You won't believe the menu for the "Royalty Tea". Two hot hors d'oeuvres, scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and shortbread. Yes the presentation was gorgeous, but everything tasted even better than it looked! When do you say that?
Our table on the window let us have our tea party in the comfort of air conditioning, but with the bright light of a table on the patio. In contrast to the dark and cozy formal teas that I've been to elsewhere, this high tea was light and happy.
Our waitress was kind and made us feel welcome to stay and enjoy as long as we wanted. I think that is one genius aspect to how tea is served at The Royal Park. Tea reservations are made between 2-4 pm; you won't be hurried through the experience because there isn't another party waiting to be seated after you. Kathleen and I were there over 2 hours and it was perfect. We talked and ate and laughed and ate and drank tea. Repeat.
You can see what a lovely experience this was. I was relaxed and happy. Kathleen was too and I could tell that she was enjoying my birthday as much as I was!
Then this was brought out to me! Can you stand it? I truly am spoiled. It was a personal hot fudge sundae with "Happy Birthday" spelled out in dark chocolate. Love love love! Kathleen had waved her magic wand and had the hotel make my day even more special. What a friend!
The next time you are looking for the perfect place to go for a girl's lunch, look no further than The Royal Park hotel. They put everything they have into giving you a delightful experience. And thank you, Kathleen, you are a genius.