Tea for two and two for tea. Tea, in many forms, seems to be taking off and becoming an alternative to coffee that can be a welcomed ritual in the late afternoon, just ask the English.
Tea is lovely, warm or iced, with a spritz of citrus or as a latte, or a beautifully blended ceremonial matcha, it can be the perfect pick-me-up or an act of self-care. But there is something about the decadence of a true full-service tea. The finger sandwiches, fruit, mini quiches, jammy cookies and the scones! Oh, and the Devonshire (aka clotted) cream!
At the risk of talking about tea again (see last week’s Kombucha story) we wanted to share where you might go to get a spot of tea with all the beautiful accoutrements.
The O.Henry Hotel
624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro
Now a Greensboro tradition, the O. Henry Tea is enjoyed in the hotel’s social lobby. Serviced by the Green Valley Grill, you can keep it simple with a light tea or go all out with a full high tea with scones, finger sandwiches and confections. You’ll almost always want an extra little egg sandwich or cucumber sandwich or a scone. My friend, Shelly Myers, said she likes the O. Henry Tea because of the setting, “I don’t like to sit in a restaurant for tea,” she said. “I like the room, the cozy seating and the service with its mismatched tea cups, and the food on the tiered plate server.”
Tea is served Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and also weekdays, Monday through Wednesday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended.
Mae’s Vintage Kitchen
149 S. Main Street, Kernersville
Located in the heart of downtown Kernersville in the Historic Harmon House, Mae’s Vintage Kitchen (formerly Pegg House Tea Room) has way more space now than what they used to have in their old farm house a couple of blocks over. The menu expanded too, with multiple sandwiches, panini, wraps, entrees and brunch offerings as well as their Moravian chicken pie. As for the High Tea ($19.95 per adult, $9.95 per child for a Lil’ Tea), you’ll enjoy a collection of sandwiches like cucumber, turkey or ham, sweets and scones and homemade Devonshire cream.
The Flour Box Tea Room and Cafe
137 West Street SW, Winston-Salem
Located in Historic Old Salem, you can have a simple lunch, a meat and cheese platter, a treat or high tea service. The Flour Box Tea Room is relatively new and owner, Ulyana Kay, said the tea service is getting increasingly popular with positive feedback, “People have responded ‘this was the best experience since England’ and ‘best scones in town.’ All the positive feedback is definitely rewarding.” Reservations are suggested for high tea but not required.
Starting in September, look for a new menu that will have lunch options that will be a bit more focused on the tea room rather than the cafe. Coffee lovers, never fear, Kay said they’re adding an espresso machine for cappuccino and other coffee drinks.
Tea Shops in the Triad
Check out these actual tea shops/retailers/makers in the area that sell loose leaf teas and tea accessories.
125 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem
Located in the Five Points area of Winston-Salem, Angelina’s offers floor to ceiling jars of loose leaf teas and blends from all over the world as well as hot tea at the counter. On a Saturday afternoon it can be quite hopping. It’s part book shop, part tea shop, part tea essentials. If you’re looking for some delicate china from which to enjoy your tea, it’s at Angelina’s. You may also find your little one’s first tea party set.
Vida Pour Tea
412 State Street, Greensboro
Locally designed tea by owner, Sarah Chapman, who launched her company to be a wellness business as much as a tea business. The hands-on approach at her shop can have you finding a tea that will be an enriching experience, just as it should be.
Sweet Aromaz Flower Lounge
140 W. Sixth Street, Winston-Salem
The newest shop in Winston-Salem where you can get a sweet spot of tea and take home a lovely bouquet. There’s a variety of custom blended teas and baked goods from local bakeries such as Camino and BeSpoke are available, Vida Pour Tea, Chad’s Chai by the package, as well as coffee and flowers, of course. The website said that “fur babies are welcome.”
Find these loose leaf tea blends, some with a twist, at the Greensboro Curb Market on Saturdays and various other locations as they do a great wholesale business too. Their motto: “Drink what you love and be happy doing it.”
Chad’s Chai and Tea Company
Found in retailers, farmer’s markets and generally getting great support from local coffee shops, from Jaime’s Grey to Chai blends. These are hand-crafted, loose leaf teas and you can find them at many retailers reputable around the Triad and beyond. They don’t have an actual shop but consider Black Mountain Chocolate a partner, which carries all of their teas in both the small and large package option.
Clotted v. Devonshire Cream
In case you’re wondering about the difference in clotted cream and Devonshire Cream, which tend to be used interchangeably, clotted cream is simply heavy cream cooked low and slow in the oven (at least 12 hours) and then chilled completely. The cream “rises” to the top, or clots, and forms a crust, which is skimmed off. You can spread the clots and the luxurious cream that rests below on your scone, French toast or other baked goods. It’s nutty and naturally lightly sweet with a brown butter taste and supremely creamy. Devonshire Cream is clotted cream, but produced in Devon, England.
It’s actually quite easy to make Clotted Cream but there’s a trick: the heavy cream should be high quality, preferably from grass-fed cows and must not be ultra-pasteurized. Not so easy to find, but some organic food stores will have it. You can also make a “mock” version of Devonshire with unsalted butter, cream cheese, sour cream that’s great in a pinch (adding in some sugar and vanilla would be optional). But below is a recipe for true clotted cream (not Devonshire since we’re not in Devon). Devonshire sure does sound better, doesn’t it?
4 cups heavy cream (must not be ultra-pasteurized and should be grass-fed. I used Maple View Farms from Hillsborough)
8 x 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish (you’ll want the cream to rise up between one to three inches in the dish)
Bake at 175-180 degrees for 12 hours. It will still be a bit loose with a crust on top, but should’ve reduced by 30 to 50 percent. Chill on the counter until cooled. Cover, then refrigerate at least four hours. Separate the clots carefully and spoon the cream into a charming jar. You can mix the clots in, or fill with the cream, then cover with the clots. You can reserve the liquid for baking, soups, smoothies or other recipes if there’s a lot left over. Some folks say just mix it right in. Spoon the clotted cream on scones. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.