A proper afternoon tea was experienced this past weekend, and it was brilliant. One of my sisters works in downtown Tampa and kept passing by this gem of a place called The Oxford Exchange. It intrigued her enough that she set about to discover more. The Oxford Exchange is a restaurant, tea room, coffee house, bookstore and gift store all in one beautiful multifaceted historic building. She invited me to have a Traditional Afternoon Tea with her and I quickly agreed and made reservations (please do make reservations if you can).
The tea room is located in a beautiful atrium with a water fountain and potted trees overflowing with orchids and succulents.
The Traditional Afternoon Tea is $22 per person and was nicely done. It included an excellent selection of teas, a small dessert plate, scone plate with clotted cream and blackberry preserves, and a small tea sandwich plate.
The tea sandwich selection included: cucumber and basil, blackberry preserve and cream cheese, grilled peanut butter and white cheddar, and grilled smoked ham and swiss. They were tasty, even if a bit stale on the top slice of bread on the ungrilled ones. The peanut butter and cheese one tasted like a super fancy Toastee Chee cracker (you know the peanut butter and cheese crackers?).
Darby wanted to try a French macaron so bad, she asked me if she should request some before we arrived. It turned out that there were four on the dessert platter and I think that made her day!
Darby chose an Aged Earl Grey with lavender, bergamot and jasmine, it was lovely and fragrant. If it no one was looking I would have dipped my fingers in and sprinkled my decolletage with it. I selected a rich Lapsang Souchong that smelled and tasted of smokey pine. I was so enamored I could not stop inhaling and sipping until I was down to the dregs... fortunately I did NOT see a Grim in the bottom of my cup. Our check was brought out in an old worn book. I enjoy details like this.
We strolled about the gift store and discovered many beautiful perfumes and candles. I finally got to spray on two Olfactive Studio scents I had been reading about, Chambre Noire and Lumiere Blanche. We got to smell a $90 candle, a limited edition Cire Trudon... gulp. I can't even imagine lighting *that* wick. Darby purchased something that turned out to be a gift for me. I am so touched and grateful.
Cote' Bastide perfume oil in Fleurs D'Oranger. It is a sharp, bright white and tangy green orange blossom. Adam said it smells like pepper. I can see that. But it does settle nicely into a beautiful white bloom and fades at about 2-3 hours. Perfect for a hot summer day.
Do you enjoy tea? Have any favorites? I am 99% sure I am heading back just to get some lapsang souchong to bring back home.