For me, a proper afternoon English tea is the perfect meal: properly brewed tea, a good selection of sandwiches and freshly baked scones with double Devonshire cream, some lemon curd and preserves.
I haven’t found too many places that serve the perfect tea this side of the Atlantic. (The Palm Court at New York’s Plaza Hotel does a beautiful tea, but unfortunately it’s priced at $75–more if you add a glass of champagne.)
However, the city London is a movable feast for tea lovers, and there are delectable teas in every price range and to suit every taste. London’s Afternoon Teas: A Guide to the Most Exquisite Tea Venues in London by Susan Cohen provides a guide to 50 tea venues, including such icons as Brown’s and Claridge’s, as well as completely unexpected venues.
This book, with it’s gorgeous color photography is a feast for the eyes and a source of priceless information, especially for tourists. It provides travel details, thorough descriptions of what’s on offer, tips on nearby attractions and more. There are recipes for tea classics like Buttermilk Scones and Mince Pie and a history of how the tea tradition began–in Devon, in the 11th century!
The book would make a good gift for tea lovers who travel. I’m planning to bring mine along when I next go to London.
Author Susan Cohen is also the author of Where to Take Tea. She is an academic historian with a special interest in British Victorian and Edwardian social history. The book can be found on Amazon.