Afternoon Tea at the Deerpath Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois

A Love for Afternoon Tea…

Tea and Jam, tea with jam.

I’m sure I’ve attended some sort of Afternoon Tea party when growing up, but I no longer remember anything specific. The first time I recall actively seeking out the experience of Afternoon Tea was on a trip to London just over a decade ago.

The scene was Brown’s Hotel.

If you’ve never heard of Brown’s Hotel, it’s a beautiful little gem in the Mayfair district of London. The reason I knew about it before visiting is because I’m a huge Miss Marple Fan. And it just so happens that Agatha Christie was a visitor and based her book ‘At Bertram’s Hotel’ on the very place.  As an aside, Rudyard Kipling also wrote The Jungle Book while staying at Brown’s and there’s a suite named after him.

While we did not book rooms there (we were on a sort of ‘tour’ that did not include 5-star hotels) I did talk my husband into taking me there for Afternoon Tea. And what a beautiful experience it was! Albeit, not inexpensive. The current price for Afternoon Tea with Champagne is £65 – that’s about $85 USD. But oh, well worth it for the memory!

Afternoon Tea at the Allis, Chicago

On to Chicago!

After tea at Brown’s, I came back to Chicago and began making my way through the hotels in my city that offered Afternoon Tea. There weren’t many – at least not up until the more recent years. Around the holidays, it was offered as a special festive event, but not year-round. However, more recently this has changed. The US has caught onto this delightful tradition and it’s not quite the anomaly it used to be. At least not in larger cities.

Homemade Blueberry Curd with Scones

A Jam Business is Born…

Today, I am still finding new places to enjoy this old tradition. And now with my foray into Jam Making and eventually taking something to market, Afternoon Tea is more interesting than ever. Afterall, there may be modern takes on the classic tradition, but I’ve yet to experience a tea that didn’t involve jam.

So, while I regale you with tales of canning in the kitchen, creating a specialty food product, and all that comes with that (packaging, marketing), I’ll also be including posts about Afternoon Tea and everything divine that it encompasses – for it is divine – the tea, the food artistry, the music and of course, the ‘sitting room’ atmosphere itself.

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