Monday, September 12, 2011

Anyone for tea?

Yesterday I had a birthday treat from my eldest - a surprise High Tea (why do I always feel the need to capitalise that?) at "Where a Girl Goes"  in Collingwood. My lovely spouse minded the shop for me, and while it was a dreadful rainy, grey day in the hills, down in East Melbourne where Hayley lives the sky was blue and the sun was warm. The crowds of Essendon and Carlton supporters streaming towards the MCG lent a festive air to the day, even if they deprived me of my usual parking spot.

"Where a Girl Goes" is also an outlet for Cristina Re stationery and true to its name is a real girly indulgent affair with French Provincial decor and everything served in delicate crockery. I had to laugh at the footy supporter who came in and asked if they did takeaway coffee, which they did, but when he left it was with a pink flowery take away cup and I'm sure he was thinking "Got to finish this coffee and dispose of the cup before my mates see me" (Although he was a Carlton supporter, so possibly a metrosexual completely comfortable with it!)

We had a wonderful couple of hours of chat with bottomless cups of tea and a tower of the requisite finger sandwiches and tiny cupcakes and macaron. There is such a revival of High Tea in Melbourne at the moment which brings together lots of recent trends - cupcakes, macaron, tea, anything vintage and retro. I think it's a lovely idea and a great way to spend an afternoon. There is just something 'civilised' about the format, that seems to encourage slowing down, taking some time and enjoying the company of friends. Doing it at home would be even better - it can be quite an expensive excursion. The advantage over a dinner party or lunch is that everything can be done ahead of time and the hostess can be free to enjoy the day. Coincidentally as I write this post I have a customer browsing the shelves who has started a business catering high teas in people's homes, which would be even better for the hostess!

When we stopped off in Singapore on our way back from Europe in April this year, we were treated to the ultimate in High Teas at that bastion of British colonialism, Raffles Hotel in the glorious setting of the Tiffin Room, with requisite palms and slowly revolving fans. A harpist played as white-coated waiters looked after our needs. The tower of sandwiches and cakes was only the beginning as Raffles also has a generous buffet of goodies including yum cha style dumplings and lots of fresh tropical fruit. A truly decadent experience, only improved by a Simgapore Sling!

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