Last week I spent quite a bit of time in Palm Beach. I had jury duty, I was the guest speaker at a small business roundtable gathering and I had Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Palm Beach. The guest speaker gig was a big deal and an honor as the topic was “blog to book”; I was asked because this group of entrepreneurs wanted to hear my story, so to top off this special event I decided to have “a spot of tea” since I was in the neighborhood. I have never been to Tea at the Chesterfield and was intrigued after doing an informational post on it a few weeks ago.
The difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea:
“Afternoon Tea is small meal snack typically eaten between 2pm and 5pm. The custom of afternoon tea originated in England in the 1840s. At the time, the various classes in England had a divergence in their eating habits. The upper classes typically ate lunch at about midday and dinner at 8:00 pm or later, while the lower classes ate dinner at about 11:00 am and then a light supper at around 7:00 pm. For both groups, afternoon tea filled a gap in the meals.”
“High Tea is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5pm and 7pm. High tea typically consists of a hot dish such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, or macaroni cheese, followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam.”
The Chesterfield Palm Beach lobby
Traditional Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield definitely lived up to its implied notions of refined, peaceful and charming. It was a treat and equally relaxing. What I found interesting was the handful of men with their wives who were also at tea the afternoon I was there. I had these preconceived visions of wealthy Palm Beach ladies dotted throughout the “tea room” impeccably dressed with magnificent hats and stunning jewels chatting the late afternoon hours away. Yes, they were there and it was a sight to behold but seeing the men there intrigued me. It wasn’t like seeing a couple out to dinner or having cocktails but more of a compatibility union; they talked, they shared, they enjoyed each other. Unfortunately you don’t always see that. Going out as much as I do, I see couples just sitting there, ignoring each other or worse texting and talking on the phone while the other is sitting across from them. This tea-time of mine was experience driven and apparently so for the others that were there as well. I truly enjoyed myself so much so I’ve already planned another visit with a group of friends. Afternoon Tea is served seven days a week and the cost is $25/person for the Afternoon Tea with ample sweet and savory delicacies and tea, it’s plentiful enough for a late lunch. If all this food is too much for you, The Chesterfield also serves Cream Tea, $18/guest which includes freshly baked scones with preserves and Devonshire Cream as well as an assortment of confections and pastries; and A Spot of Tea, $15/guest which includes two freshly baked scones served warm from the oven with preserves and Devonshire Cream.
The Library where my Afternoon Tea was served. You can see how the lighting set the serene tone.
Ricky, my server has been with The Chesterfield Palm Beach since 1990; a consummate professional tending to the duties of Afternoon Tea in a most ritualistic manner with no detail unturned. So I’m sure you can imagine I sort of unnerved him trying to capture “action” shots of him pouring and serving tea.
It was right after I took this shot that Ricky said to me, “Miss, you really need to relax. Sit down and drink your tea while it’s still hot, the pictures can wait.”
These bite-sized sweets were just enough to accompany the tea and just sweet enough. It looks like a plate of sugar but surprisingly they were very well balanced in flavor.
This was my favorite. I thought I made a great scone but having a warm raisin scone fresh from the oven with a “pot” of Devonshire Cream served to you can rival anyone’s recipe. The scones are made to order and take 20 minutes to bake, think, souffle.
Four types of Tea Sandwiches are served, chicken salad, egg salad, salmon and cream cheese and cucumber. I know it’s not a big deal but I’ve never had a cucumber tea sandwich. It was just so simple and perfect that I’m still talking about it. It’s always the little things….
Salmon and Cream Cheese tea sandwich, another delicious bite.
Next time. I’ll take tea on The Chesterfield patio.
Click here to view more photos from my Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Palm Beach
The Chesterfield Palm Beach 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach FL33480