There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims
when my husband and i were married, it was the sort of affair where he had to go back to school that next monday, so we did not take any manner of honeymoon until about six months later. we traveled to victoria, by boat, and relaxed at the glorious empress hotel on the harbor. the empress is well known for the amazing afternoon tea they serve. we sat for over three hours, drinking freshened tea from silver tea pots, into our bone china cups. (i am absolutely in love with the fairmont hotel’s china pattern, made exclusively for them by royal doulton.)we floated milk and stirred in rock sugar, and sipped while lazily staring out the window, watching people outside attend to the thousand little details of their lives. we enjoyed our tea with a glass of port, while snacking on a variety of sandwiches, cucumber and curried carrot, as well as delectable rasin scones with jam and clotted creme. we dived into a pile of pastries, chocolate cakes, and fruit tarts, as if we hadn’t eaten enough!
one year later, celebrating the 2nd anniversary of our engagement, we rode the train to vancouver, in british columbia, to try out high tea at the fairmont hotel vancouver. reclining in cushy wing-backed chairs we, again, stuffed ourselves silly with caviar, sandwiches, cakes and scones. to celebrate, we toasted to each other with flutes of champagne, and all the while enjoyed floating cream in our regal tea cups. i’m now on a mission to attend as many formal afternoon teas as possible!
as a keepsake of our fantastic honeymoon, i purchased a tea cup from the hotel gift shop, so that i could sit at home with a pot of tea and ginger cookies, while remembering that wonderful afternoon i sat in the tea room at the empress hotel. it sits, in my china hutch, to remind me of the feeling i had while sipping hot tea and listening to a pianist play in the corner, my husband and i sitting together, quietly, enjoying ourselves without the need for speaking.
as a side bar, i love hosting tea parties. this should not strike you odd for the self-proclaimed queen of wonderland. i am working on my baking, but still tend to bake out of a box. for my dear friends i prepare sandwiches, scones, and lovely fruits. i pick up clotted creme and lemon curd at the little imported food shop, and pop open a bottle of champagne. enjoying a great tea party hinges upon having the most fabulous girlfriends ever, which i do. so beyond that, at the essence of a great tea party is having a fantastic tea set! i tend to use my wedding china to set a formal tea party. but i have found the most perfectly fabulous set for hosting a party fit for the queen of hearts!
my favorite maker of fine china, wedgwood, has devised the “queen of hearts” tea set as giftware. i absolutely love this tea set! looking at it makes me feel like i really am alice! the regal design and the shapes hint at fantasy! i, myself, have over 80 tea cups in my two bedroom city apartment, and my husband has asked me not to collect anymore for the time being, or i would already have a place for this in my kitchen!