A proper tea is a British tradition that I had no intention of missing out on in London. I like tea. And tiny little sandwiches.

Little did I know, there are various tea times; Cream Tea, Low/Afternoon Tea, Elevensies, Royal Tea and High Tea.

Cream Tea is a simpler version of the Afternoon Tea, Elevensies is the morning coffee hour, you drink champagne or sherry at Royal Tea and High Tea is served around 6pm, traditionally when the miners and laborers come home.

The Royal Garden Hotel set up a traditional Afternoon Tea for Peter and myself at their Park Terrace restaurant at 3:00pm. We were prompt. I did not want to start this dining event with poor etiquette.

My beautiful tea cup awaited…

The Afternoon Tea is a small meal which typically includes sandwiches, sweets, scones and curd.

We started by making our tea selection. Pear Caramel for the table. This blend was a loose leaf by Mighty Leaf Tea. This is the same brand that I use, in tea bag form, at my restaurant. Looks like my little Italian restaurant has something in common with the British.

The Pear Caramel tea was smooth and slightly fruity. The perfect  mixture, which I sucked down before the food arrived. Poor etiquette I am sure.

I decided to order the Chocolate Chip Truffle for my next pot of tea, even though the server attempted to steer me in a different direction. I am an afternoon tea party rebel.

It only to one sip of the chocolate blend to realize that he was right. Note to self: you are not fond of chocolate in your tea.

There were several rules about “tea etiquette” that I studied prior to arriving; put the sugar in first, milk goes in last, always split scones horizontally and never put your pinky up.

Never put your pinky up? Really? Holding my pinky up has been something that I’ve been practicing since my childhood tea parties. This was going to be a hard habit to break.

We each received our own dish filled with a variety of dainty finger sandwiches. It was plated so beautifully I had to hesitate before removing anything. Besides there were too many to choose from; smoked salmon, eggplant, cucumber and egg. I started at the top of the mound and worked my way down.

After devouring tea sandwiches and scones, the sweets arrived.

All I can say is “chocolate raspberry mousse”.

I will be dreaming about it.

This fancy Afternoon Tea was much different than my High Tea at Samavor in San Francisco. This was much more of an affair and I loved every minute of it. There are plans to recreate this event for my girlfriends back home. But, we will be holding our pinkies up.

Have you ever been to an Afternoon Tea? What is your favorite tea?

Disclosure: My Afternoon Tea was sponsored by the Royal Garden Hotel, but all the words I write come straight from my, sometimes distorted, mind. Just as it should be.