Afternoon Tea is a classic British tradition dating as far back as the sixteen hundreds. Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, is typically credited with introducing the meal to Britain during her visit to Belvoir Castle during the mid-eighteen forties. Not to be confused with High Tea, Afternoon tea is usually enjoyed between 4:00PM – 6:00PM. High Tea is normally an evening meal, much heavier, and is enjoyed between 5:00PM – 6:00PM. Afternoon Tea consists of loose tea, light finger sandwiches, scones, and cakes. In light of the holiday season, we decided to find San Diego’s most authentic Afternoon Tea service. We ventured to the Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe & Afternoon Tea restaurant in Mission Hills. What we found was an unparalleled meal and an unforgettable experience.
When we arrived to the corner shoppe, we found an adorable English store full of fine china, assorted teas, traditional British snacks, and an array of British posters. Afternoon Tea guests may sort through and smell the stores tea selections at the ‘sniffing bar’. We chose White Guava Ginger and Cream Early Grey – each had very unique scents and textures. Awaiting at our table were Christmas Crackers – a British holiday tradition. These holiday themed paper gifts can be pulled apart like a ‘fire cracker’. After being seated on the cozy outdoor patio, we noticed how each personal set of china varied from one another and featured gorgeous floral paintings. Our tea was served and rested atop candle lit tea pot warmers. The smell was incredible! Perfect for a cold winter afternoon. Our first course of food included a Yorkshire Pudding with gravy. This could best be described as a light puff pastry boat filled with a meat gravy – very delicious!
The second course included a three-tier tray loaded with delicacies! Atop the tower were assorted finger sandwiches. Flavors included egg salad with chives, turkey with apple plum chutney, salmon & cumber on a crostini, mature English cheddar & pickled beetroot, a sage & onion stuffing ball with pickled onion, and a mini Sausage Roll with a branston pickle. What an assortment! The next level of food included a traditional English raison scone with real imported double devon cream, English strawberry jam, and lemon curd. The scones were a highlight of the meal! The bottom and final tray included the wide variety of desserts. Included with the desserts were double chocolate fudge, traditional gingerbread, orange & pomegranite mousse, white chocolate peppermint truffle, and Christmas pudding with custard.
The final course included a warm traditional Mince pie. Our service included about three refills of tea throughout the course of the meal. Overall, the experience was very festive and enjoyable. On a particular note, this afternoon tea service was noticeably more traditional when compared to some of San Diego’s other offerings. Whether you have family visiting and need an idea to entertain during the holidays, or just want to treat yourself this winter, Afternoon Tea is a perfect occasion! Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe requires reservations at least 24 hours in advance. The tearoom is open seven days a week with sittings from 12:00PM – 4:00PM on weekdays and 12:00PM – 3:00PM on weekends. The price per adult is $22.95, and the price per child is $13.95. Their menu changes monthly, so be sure to check online for complete menu offerings. For more information, please visit sandiegoafternoontea.com. Let us know some of your favorite San Diego tea spots in the comments below. Enjoy!
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