On my list of things to do in London I suggested tea at Brown’s. The grand tradition in my family, however, is tea at Fortnam & Masons (AKA Tum Tums). This, until recently, I did not know. Not having experienced the tradition, apparently it was a “Mum and the Great Aunt thing” from when she was a little.
Anyway, due to various authorial reason I actually first thought about the Palms at the Ritz first. But they were booked so Tum Tums it was. Oh, was it wonderful!
In the immortal words of my editor, Fortnam & Masons is “the repository of all things twee and British” in spades. We began with champagne, which (aside from Lord Akeldama) I don’t believe is strictly traditional, but by all means, bring on the bubbly!
And then we had a most marvelous tea tasting with the most adorable server. (A drone infiltrating Tums Tums for reasons nefarious, one wonders?) Italian . . . I think. Anyway enough of drones, on to the tea!
We sampled a green, white, pure Lapsing, and a blended Queen Ann, which was Ceylon and Assam mixed. I would have, of course, preferred to sample all black pure unblended teas, out of curiosity. It was an interesting experience nevertheless. The green tasted like, well, a very up market green. The white was quite mild, but I rather liked it. The Lapsing tasted like licking out the inside of a fireplace, but then Lapsing does. The blend was nice, but a bit herby for me, although I liked how strong it was.
Because I’d never had it before I ordered a Keemun tea for my meal. I wasn’t a big fan, to much spice and complexity. I’m so mundane I really just like a strong non-aggressive tea. We tried the Fountain blend as well, which was OK. But I ended with the Breakfast blend, which was, unsurprisingly, my favorite.
We ordered the regular Afternoon Tea and it was delicious ~ lovely finger sandwiches (chicken curry, roast beef & mustard, cucumber mint, egg & mayo), scones with clotted cream & raspberry jam, and lovely pastries.
All in all a most enjoyable experience and highly recommended. I had to be rolled home to my hotel but it was worth it. Best part, this was all done in very good company. Truly a girl can’t ask for anything more.
Steampunk Scholar’s Fan Art of Alexia.
Quote of the Day:
“As the centerpiece of a cherished ritual, it’s a talisman against the chill of winter, a respite from the ho-hum routine of the day.”
~ Sarah Engler, “Tea Up,” Real Simple magazine, February 2006