A Royal Tea: Afternoon Tea With An Expert
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The hype of this week's royal wedding is traveling far from London and making its way across the pond to New York.
Restaurants, pubs, offices and private residences are all getting into the act. Some are serving traditional English breakfasts to enjoy during the early hours when the wedding is broadcast around the world on Friday.
One pub in the East Village is offering a free pint if you dress "Westminster Abbey" appropriate, which probably means a fancy hat or what's called a fascinator. There's also a block party in the West Village.
With the eyes of the world scrutinizing the royal couple's every move, there’s a British tradition they may want to enjoy to get away from it all. That of course is Afternoon Tea.
New York City adopted this tradition during colonial days, and it's still alive and well today. The Lowell, a small, elegant and very British hotel on the Upper East Side provides its guests one of the most exquisite afternoon tea services. In its serene and stately Pembroke Room, you might think that tea is only for the elite, but no.
The Lowell’s General Manager, Ashish Verma, is the gracious host and most knowledgeable of all things tea.
"The pace of it, the eveness, the sophistication brings you to a certain level of calmness which allows you to engage with others," he said.
Afternoon tea is traditionally served with your choice of a tea from around the world, finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd and petit fours.
"It's for that little break when you have a pang of hunger rather than choosing some junk food snack," Verma said.
But, most importantly, he added, "It's civilized over great conversation."
It might not be a feast fit for a king, but it certainly will make you feel royal for an afternoon.