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Before everything exploded a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I had the chance to try out a new tea house that had opened about 20 minutes away from my childhood home. This delightful place was appropriately named The Twisted Teapot.
Off of a fairly busy road, you make a right turn, pull into the parking lot, and all of a sudden, you are transported from a hectic business laden street to a quaint and wonderfully charming garden. The sound of dozens of passing cars was exchanged for the trickling of fountains and the tinkling of wind chimes, and that vague smell of “city” was exchanged for baking pastries and blooming roses. The entryway was a delightful combination of dainty floral cottage chic and subtle, almost steampunk-y Alice In Wonderland inspired decor. I can’t even tell you how many delightful white rabbit accents we encountered as we moved about the house! We followed the black and white checkerboard floor to a cute little glassed in patio off the main dining room. The staff had already started decorating for the holidays, and there were beautiful garlands, frosted pine cones, and gilded ornaments artfully arranged throughout. We sat down at our little table, admired our lovely floral tea cups and perused the tea offering for the day. After much waffling and debate, we opted for two of their in house holiday blends, one iced and one hot. I do also want to note that when I called for reservations, I told the hostess that I was vegetarian and she made sure to note that our party contained one veg only and one “regular”. This may not seem like a big deal, but usually a tea room has an “all or none” attitude when it comes to accommodating dietary restrictions. I usually have to make sure that whoever I am with is okay with missing out on the meat, but these guys not only accommodated but offered to make two separate trays so my mom wouldn’t have to miss out on any of their meatier options. This may just look like a cup of soup, but my mother has declared this potato and leek soup to be one of the best soups she has ever had. She was right -it was really good-, and I was actually a little concerned that after she finished hers that she’d want mine. I can’t remember every item on our trays, but the standouts were the roasted veggie mini quiche, the guava and brie bite, and the coconut macaroon. That being said, everything was delicious, and we cleaned our towers down to the last fruit garnish. This little guy is the swan pastry for which our “Swan Tea” was named. It was a wonderful little cream puff and was a fun finish to an amazing meal. I honestly wish I could have gotten a picture of my mom’s face when she tried it; she was ALL about the fluffy, lightly sweet filling. After finishing our tea, we had the chance to poke around the tea house a bit more, checking out the main dining room and the area I am guessing (based on the giant dollhouse) that is used for children’s parties. So many wonderful details and the gentleman below was still hard at work adding even more beautiful decorations to the rooms.
Hands down, this is one of the nicest tea experiences I have ever had. Hand to God, top three to be sure. It’s also nice to know that as I have to travel to and from my dad’s house to wrap up his estate, I can always make a call and schedule a little tea themed pick me up when things are feeling especially disheartening.
Category: Things I Love
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.