Tea is the most consumed beverage on the planet, and is one of the original social traditions of modern times. Many are unaware of the options for an elegant tea event here in the Triangle Area.
Several local bloggers recently gathered at the prestigious Fairview Restaurant at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club to experience their Afternoon Tea. This happens to be the most formal of tea occasions, according to Connie Lue of the Old North State Tea Society, who shared a bit about the history of tea and tea etiquette.
My favorite historical tidbit was the important role that tea played in women’s rights in European and American cultures. Before “ladies” were permitted to work, they were allowed to leave the house unaccompanied to attend Sunday tea. In Great Britain, these parties would get a tad on the wild side – male gigolos were hired for the ladies’ delight (get your minds out of the gutter – innocent, dancing fun only!).
This history makes it all the more meaningful to consider having a tea for one of your wedding events – perhaps a bridal shower or bridesmaids luncheon (although it would be frowned on if you tried to hire a male dancer for the occasion).
Of course, tea is not the only thing on the menu! Our event opened with delicious champagne, followed by our choice of tea from a menu of green, oolong, black and flavored options. Then came the food, masterfully prepared by the Fairview’s culinary and pastry team, led by Chef Jason Cunningham. A tiered display of savory bites at the top, all the way down to sweet treats at the bottom. The grand finale for a tea event is scones (or “skons” as pronounced by Ms. Lue), which is eaten by splitting down the center and coating tiny bites (for optimal chatting abilities with your company) in your choice of cream, lemon curd or strawberry jam. I dare say, Chef Jason Cunningham presented the best scones I have ever had in North Carolina!
Here’s a little teaser of an Afternoon Tea at the Washington Duke Inn’s Fairview Restaurant, from a “Royal Tea” styled shoot we did a few years ago. Photos are by Scott Faber Photography.