So, it’s Valentine’s Day – the day of all things sweet. This year, I decided to host an afternoon tea to commemorate the special day. As I soon discovered after just a wee bit of research, there is more than one kind of afternoon tea. There are Cream Teas where tea, scones, jam, and cream are served. There are Light Teas where you are likely to find sweets served along with tea and scones. Then, there are Savory Teas where you might find such tasty temptations as tiny sandwiches (crusts removed, of course), small quiches, or appetizers on the menu….and you get the idea. Teas can be relatively simplistic or they can be lavishly elaborate.
To my knowledge, on PEI in winter, we don’t have any hotels or restaurants that offer a traditional full-scale formal afternoon tea. In the summer season, the Dalvay-By-The-Sea Hotel on PEI’s North Shore, Mrs. Profitt’s Tea Room in the Orient Hotel in Victoria-By-The-Sea on the Island’s South Shore, and the Blue Winds Tea Room in Clinton, near New London, offer tea service. I’m not sure why this niche has largely escaped the Island but, from my afternoon tea experiences elsewhere while travelling – most notably at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, at different hotels in London, England, and on several cruise ships, it’s a very charming and relaxing way to while away an afternoon.
For my “Sweetheart and Roses Valentine’s Tea”, I chose a pink theme (still a little tired of all the red from Christmas!) and I sort of crossed a Light Tea with a Savory Tea. The appointed hour was 4:30pm.
On the Menu: Currant scones and tea biscuits with raspberry jam, small quiches followed by a selection of dainty sweets that included French macaroons, melting moments, shortbread, squares, decorated sugar cookies, and Linzer cookies. For dessert, I served a vanilla layer cake covered in buttercream icing swirled in a rose design. For my tea selection, I chose Stash English Breakfast. While that may sound odd to have a “breakfast” tea in the afternoon, it is my favourite kind of tea so that’s what I went with. I set the table with a white Irish linen tablecloth and my finest China (including lots of tiered and pedestal plates) and we were off to enjoy our Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea.
Valentine’s Day is all about spending time with the people who mean the most to you. It’s less important the big bouquets of red roses, the Valentine-themed boxes of chocolates, or teddy bears carrying hearts or any of a myriad of other commercial and material gifts than it is spending time together. So, whatever your Valentine’s Day carries for you, I wish you the time well spent and enjoyed with your favourite people. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!