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One of the coolest things I got to do in Charleston was have Afternoon Tea. Not just any high tea, mind you; my traveling companion was vegan so we had vegan Afternoon Tea at Twenty Six Divine. For those of you who don’t know, afternoon tea is your tea blend of choice accompanied by small pastries and bite size sandwiches. It sounds pretty simple, but I’ve run into issues finding a place that can accommodate my vegetarian diet, let alone someone that calls for absolutely no dairy. When I was doing research for our trip, I noticed that Twenty Six Divine not only offered afternoon tea, they had a blurb at the bottom of the page saying that they could accommodate various allergies and dietary restrictions. A quick phone call later, we were booked and very excited to see how things would turn out.
We were the only people taking tea that afternoon, so we had the added luxury of having the place to ourselves. We felt pretty special, let me tell you, but the “special snowflake” special, not the “eat the paste” special. After learning that I was vegetarian not vegan like my dinning companion, our server brought me some of the fresh almond biscotti they had just made. Had I pockets, I would have filled them with smuggled biscotti. The food was incredible. There were so many different things that I can’t honestly remember them all. My savory favorites were the red pepper gazpacho and the eggplant and onion flat bread. As far as the sweets went, the house made cinnamon almonds and the raspberry and chocolate torte took the proverbial cake. It was a really great experience, even more so since Stefanie had figured her days of high tea had ended when she went fully vegan. I also came away with the conviction that I need to work even harder to incorporate recipes for people with restrictions into my repertoire. The crowning achievement would be throwing an afternoon tea for my friends that could accommodate vegan as well as gluten free. If I pulled it off, there might have to be a baking equivalent to a mike drop. Perhaps, a spatula drop, or better yet a whisk drop… I’ll figure it out and get back to you later.
This weekend Andy and I indulged in a tradition we started on our honeymoon, we went out for afternoon tea. Tea parties were fairly common place when I was growing up. For the longest time, my mom and I would enjoy a pot of tea together on Saturday morning before diving into whatever needed to be done. Fortunately, I found a man who enjoys scones and a proper cup of tea as much as I do and so we like to do things up right whenever the opportunity presents itself. Sadly, Tallahassee did not have a tea room until a few months ago, and I didn’t find out about it until a few weeks ago. But now I have and have to tell you, All Things Tea was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped.
We got there a bit early so we’d have a chance to poke around the shop before our tea time. I was in heaven. So many types of tea! Boxes, jars, beautiful tins; they had everything! They even had a delightful selection of tea accessories that ranged from practical to cheeky, but I digress. Now on to the important part, Afternoon Tea.
The nibbles were wonderful, and I was very impressed that they didn’t bat an eye when I requested a vegetarian menu. I was even more impressed that the food was so delicious. I would say it was even a cut above some of the “fancier” teas I’ve been to. Beverage wise, our tea was perfectly made, and our pot never ran dry. Our hostess offered us the opportunity to change up our tea flavor every time we finished our pot, but we’d gone with the Brian Edwards Winter White Earl Grey, and I was disinclined to stop drinking it. I am still kicking myself for not getting some to take home with me. All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful experience that was well worth the price. We are even planning on going back for the Sweethearts Tea they are doing next month in honor of Valentines Day.
* All About Tea also offers tea tasting classes and other tea tasting experiences. Make sure to check out their website to see what they have going on.