Though highly associated with British tradition and culture, we actually have the Portuguese Queen Catherine de Braganza to thank for bringing tea drinking to England when she married Charles II in 1662. The Portuguese had popularized drinking tea in the courts after they established trade routes to China.
But it wasn’t until 200 years later that the tradition of the ‘afternoon tea’ as a meal was created by Anna, seventh Duchess of Bedford. By the mid-1800s, dinner was served well after eight in the evening and the Duchess, disliking the faint feeling she experienced every day around five o’clock, would invite friends to take tea in her boudoir in the late afternoon as to circumvent her hunger. So revitalizing did the occasions become that once she had returned to her London townhouse she perpetuated these “afternoon teas” to the delight of all who were invited.
This weekend, why not treat yourself to afternoon at one of these splendid spots.
The Dockyard Pastry Shop
This cosy café is perfect for an afternoon tea that is budget-friendly. Swiss pastry chef, Joerg Rudolf’s café can be found at the edge of the Victualling Yard in Dockyard. Eat in their dining room or on the charming cobblestone terrace with shady umbrellas and privacy from hibiscus hedges. Their English Afternoon-Tea is simple and classic: freshly baked scones with jam and cream, sandwiches and Petit Fours. Bonus: They offer a variety of gluten-free sweets and pastries.
Daily from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – $26.75 per person. ($38.75 with a glass of champagne)
The Conservatory, Rosewood Bermuda
Rosewood Bermuda offers an afternoon tea service with a Bermuda twist! Choose from a selection of sandwiches, ‘coronets’ such as the Premier’s chicken salad or local yellowfin tuna tartar, raisin and plain scones – which come with clotted cream, strawberry jam or Bermuda loquat jam – passion fruit meringue pies and strawberry tarts. The bar is also known for its craft cocktails and gin, so why not let afternoon tea roll right into happy hour? Daily from 1:00 p.m. – $48 per person
Sweet P, Lili Bermuda Perfumery
Step back in time with this afternoon tea at Lili Bermuda Perfumery. Situated in Stewart Hall, an 18th-century Bermuda National Trust property, visitors can take in the historic indoors or soak up the sweet-scents of the courtyard garden when weather permits. Owner of Sweet P, Paula Hayward serves up her finest finger sandwiches and pastries made with fresh local ingredients. Her scrumptious ‘from-the-oven’ scones are served with local honey, Bermuda jam and chantilly cream. Wednesdays and Saturdays • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – $40 per person, plus 15% for gratuity. (No cards, so take cash)
Crown & Anchor, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club
The grand pastel-pink Hamilton Princess was named after Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, and has been a Hamilton landmark since 1885, so it is only fitting that they would serve tea fit for royalty. Their Lot 35 teas feature blends from around the world, including Princess Diana’s favourite: ‘Rose Congou’. Timeless choices of savory creations like roast beef horseradish and cucumber dill sandwiches are in the mix, alongside sophisticated salmon Blinis and melted brie and proscuitto costinis with a balsamic glaze. In addition to fluffy scones is a fabulous dessert selection to please all with strawberry cheesecake, passionfruit sable, caramel chocolate tarte and macarons. Fridays to Sundays • 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – $55 per person or $75 includes a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne.