Friday, February 22, 2013

Valentine's Day Tea at the Stegmaier Mansion

I have been attending teas for quite some time. There have been many in New York City such as The Plaza Hotel, The St. Regis Hotel, The Ritz Carlton Central Park and the local tea house Sugar’s Tea House. I feel I am pretty familiar of what consists of a proper English Tea. 
The atmosphere of the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion is a one of another era. You feel like Lord Crawley is going to come around the corner at any minute (for the Downton Abbey fans). The table settings were lovely, and your name was listed where you were to sit.  
When I first sat down, the one item that stood out to me, and a major violation of a proper English Tea, were the tea bags in a box on the tables. We were given a pot of hot water, which the staff was not too eager to check to see if it was still hot throughout the tea, and then just poured the water over the tea bag. I am sorry, but a proper English Tea has real, loose, fresh tea brewed in a tea pot. The varieties were Bigelow and Twinning’s, but when I saw a Lipton tea bag, I was not too impressed. The major star in an English Tea is the tea, and it should be made properly. The sugar was in packets in a container, I was really missing the sugar cubes and the little gadget you take them out with to put in your cup.  
We had our tea in the library of the mansion which had gorgeous stained glass windows.   

Our first course was a scone shaped like a heart and a piece of cranberry bread.  The cranberry bread was quite tasty. The scone was hard as a rock. I had never had one like that, so I pondered the question to the lady who wrote the DowntonAbbey cookbook. She advised me that if they were sitting for a long period of time, they would get hard but that they should not be served that way. I am such a scone lover, so this was disappointing.  

The next course was a strawberry salad which was tasty except they forgot to count us so we had to wait to receive ours. We wonder what was happening as everyone had theirs but us, they finally came to us about 5 to 10 minutes later to say they had mis-counted. Opps.  

The next course was the main one, potato soup – 2 little sandwiches – 1 Swedish meatball. The meatball was really yummy, I wish we had more than one. 
We were then given a mini cup of chocolate tea which I thought was tasty. 
Vintage Valentine's were displayed in the foyer 
Then our dessert came out which was a large piece of chocolate cake with chocolate mousse as the icing. Since I did not eat much of that soup, the dessert was easy to finish for me! 

The one Victorian lady was giving away little bags to everyone, which I did not know what they were for, but it seemed they were giving us chocolate covered strawberries, coconut macaroon dipped in chocolate and a chocolate cookie which I took home to my mother. 
My overall thought on this tea was they still have some polishing to do. I think for someone who has never attended a proper English tea, they would not notice what I have listed here. The positives were the mansion itself is a beautiful setting, we were full when we left, as you do get quite a bit of food, and the history you were informed of during the courses on Victorian society and Valentine’s Day was a nice touch. Would I recommend this tea to someone? I always tell you, if it interests you, go once and have your own opinion. I do not think I will be attending any more myself, and I am glad I went to see the mansion, as for me, that was the highlight of the afternoon. 

I was not able to attend the Downton Abbey Tea due to my mom being in the hospital at the time. Here is a piece of what a wonderful time had by those who attended HERE. Mom is doing well and on her road to getting her strength back.

Today's Words of Wisdom: When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that's when I think life is over. - Audrey Hepburn 

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1 comment

Daryl said...

lovely .. i have been to one tea .. it was a baby shower at Lady Mendl's in Irving Sq.

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