Seated at the Lobby of the Historic Building at the Arizona Biltmore, I looked at my daughter who had her pinkies up and was balancing a hot cup of clear tea with a big grin on her face. Think she was developing an alter ego – that of a little princess seated in a castle somewhere overlooking a well manicured English garden for a traditional High Tea. The afternoon tea service lead by Tea Sommelier Kevin Doyle at the Arizona Biltmore is indeed a sophisticated affair. When I first saw the tea set at the Arizona Biltmore I added it to my wish list, have you seen a cuter teapot?! So when we found ourselves in Scottsdale to catch a few Spring training baseball games over Spring break, we added tea at the Biltmore to our itinerary. We stopped by the Butterfly Wonderland to marvel at the colorful creatures and for some shopping at the Biltmore Fashion Park before the tea, it made for one fun and girly day.
The custom of Afternoon Tea or High Tea dates back to the early 19th century aristocracy. Anne, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, instructed her servants to bring to her bedroom, in strictest privacy, tea, bread and butter with little cakes. Her vice was eventually exposed, the delicious pastime was taken up at court, and the present practice of Afternoon Tea was born.
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Afternoon High Tea at the Arizona Biltmore
From simple black teas and refreshing green teas, to invigorating white teas and warming herbal infusions there were so many choices. We were treated to indulgent pastries, cakes and finger sandwiches that Kevin placed on the tiered plates. He then poured us our first tea – an amazing Black current tea that paired well with the sandwiches. The egg salad sandwich with a hint of truffle oil was delicious and brought back memories of a recent trip to Italy where we devoured so much truffle. He then led us to a beautiful herbal infused African Solstice tea with notes of berries, vanilla and rose petals. This tea is supposed help release Serotonin which is sometimes called the happiness hormone. It certainly worked on us! This tea worked great with the scones and madeleines. We didn’t have to add any cream, sugar or honey to the teas – they were perfect just the way they were. When we started on the desserts Kevin suggested a clear ginger and pear white tea that was cleansing. We loved the African Solstice tea so much that we ended up finishing the whole pot, needless to say we got a little giggly with all that Serotonin or may be we were just happy to have had this wonderful mother daughter experience.
We were seated in the elegant lobby sunroom of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel with a beautiful view of the gardens. The tea service led by Kevin Doyle whose passion for tea is evident in every tea that was offered, we spent a couple of hours during the course of the tea service on that beautiful afternoon savoring each bite. The service was impeccable, the china absolutely lovely, the tea selection delightful and as you would expect at any proper tea, the preserves, lemon curd, clotted cream, and scones were just divine!
The Tea court is located in the historic lobby of the Arizona Biltmore. Seating is offered at 12pm and 2pm on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information or to book, please call 602-955-6600. Reservations are required.
2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, 85016
Have you enjoyed afternoon tea or high tea that wowed you? We would love some suggestions for our next tea date.
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