Friday, 20 May 2016

High Tea Anyone

I’m jumping around a bit with the blog post today.  I do have more of southern Spain to share with you, but I wanted to do this post today while it’s fresh in my mind.  You see, yesterday I got to experience my first proper English high tea and boy what a treat!  I looked up the actual definition of the term “high tea” to see why it’s called that and not afternoon tea or just tea and to be honest, I found several differing opinions on what “high tea” actually is.  Sometimes the Internet has too much information.  But what I do know for certain is that my friends and I went to a charming little place called Gilbert’s Deli yesterday at 12:30 to have their version of high tea and my what an experience.

We had our own room upstairs that was more like a living room or sitting room than a café, with two sofas with cushy pillows sitting around a large square coffee table that was filled with all kinds of goodies.   

You should have heard the oohing and ahhing when we entered the room and first saw the table.  It was gorgeous, set with china plates, saucers and teacups, and platters of sandwiches, cakes, cookies, scones and other goodies.  We were so enamored by this beautiful display that we just stood there gawking at it for several minutes before we even sat down.  It looked like a masterpiece, a great work of art, and we just wanted to feast on it with our eyes before we actually started eating anything.  As much as we wanted to taste the delicacies on the table, I think we were all a little reluctant to ruin this pretty picture by removing even one of the cakes or sandwiches from this beautiful display. 

But finally we did.  We sat down, poured ourselves a cup of tea, adding cream and sugar of course, and started filling our plates, first with the little sandwiches, then a scone with clotted cream and jam, and finally on to the sweet treats.  There was such a variety it was difficult to decide what to try first.  We ate and drank slowly, taking our time enjoying the food, the drink and each other’s company.  As I started to feel full, I decided to take a break and I grabbed my tea cup and sat back against the pillows on the sofa.  I noticed that my friends did the same thing at exactly the same time.  I think we all wanted a little break from eating so we could savor that one last treat before calling it quits and asking for boxes to take the extras home to our families.  We sat sipping our tea and just chatting about our families, life in England (we are all American by the way), what it’s going to be like when we move back home.  I get together with these ladies every Thursday and we never have any problem finding things to talk about, and this particular Thursday as we sat sharing high tea together was no different. 

Finally, we reached for the platter we hadn’t touched yet.  I think we all had the same thing in mind.   

We had saved this beautiful plate for last - Victoria Sponge cake and what I'm pretty sure was carrot cake.  Delicious! 

And that was a proper English high tea, or our version of it anyway.  Good friends, beautiful food, and a cup of tea. I’m smiling just think about it.   

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