Day Trippin': Sipping tea at the British Bell Tea Room
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 03:05
Hello fellow UDelawareans! I’d like to begin my reign as Day Tripper by ushering in the end of the school year with a fancy English afternoon tea. And what better way to do so than with the previous Day Trippin’ columnist and one of my best friends, Krista Connor. After recently returning from studying abroad in London , I figured I’d try to get people interested in different cultures and afternoon tea is a big part of British culture.
So I donned my favorite skirt and earrings and off I adventured to the great unknown of the British Bell Tea Room, located in People’s Plaza.
While waiting to be seated, patrons can browse through the hundreds of knickknacks, tea cups and saucers, grandfather clocks and china plates that are available in the gift shop in the front of the Tea Room . After I gave the hostess my name for my reservation, she led us through a curtained entrance as if it was a secret gate into a different era.
We were seated next to a large, crackling (well, I pretended it was crackling) fireplace at a round Victorian table with grand, throne-like chairs. In front of us were two mismatched tea cups and saucers with doilies underneath, both which gave a very “Downtown Abbey” feel to the afternoon.
With a few different menus to look at and a plethora of teas to choose from, I finally ordered the Afternoon Tea, which is what I really wanted in the first place. It consists of a large pot of any type of tea you could ever imagine (I chose the English Breakfast tea), a giant—not to mention delicious—scone, three tea sandwiches of your choosing and an assortment of delectable desserts.
We were given the tea immediately and I dove in. I even forgot to put the loose leaf guard over my tea cup so a few leaves fell into it. I was just too excited; it was like being back in London again. The food was delivered in a fancy, three-tiered tray and we were given China plates. Everything was just so classy, the way most things in life should be.
Sometimes, though, classy things are just too fancy for us awkward folk and we had a bit of trouble understanding how to eat some of the food. The desserts, although delicious once we finally figured out how to eat them, were especially peculiar. They were small, edible bowl-like things with jam and whipped cream in the center. Krista, very uncertain, wondered, “How do I eat this? Do I eat it with a fork? I mean...I guess I just pick it up...” We tried picking them up, but figured out that a spoon was best for the job.
The scones were served with jam, lemon curd and clotted cream, which I thought was illegal in the States due to its disapproval by the FDA. I suppose I stand mistaken. In any case, all three condiments were delicious and I highly recommend putting clotted cream on your scone first and then adding the jam. That is, after you are able to slice the scone open: I had a bit of trouble cutting through the deliciousness of my scone, so pieces fell apart and flew off my plate. In my mind, I’m this charming, witty, elegant British belle, but with food flying off my plate, I tell Krista , “I’m not as dainty as I think I am,” and quickly wipe jam off my fingers.
Aside from that, the afternoon was quite a fancy experience.
It was very reminiscent of my past semester in England and I enjoyed it entirely. I recommend trying a lovely afternoon tea if you ever get the chance.