Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Truly Wonderful Afternoon Tea

Last weekend my sister Natasha and our friend Miroslawa came to town and we met at a high end bakery, Patisserie Angelica, that has begun to serve a full afternoon tea recently. To date our favorite tea place is the Camellia Tea Room in Benicia...I would happily travel there any time to enjoy their afternoon tea delights. The late La Dolce V also had a nice selection of goodies to go with tea. It's nice to have one fairly close, although they are only open to the public for tea on Fridays and Saturdays. It's worth coming then, though. The afternoon tea is splendid! I thought that their scones were the best yet.

The server deserves first mention because she was excellent - sweet, there when you needed her and not when you didn't, enthusiastic but not overly so, helpful and informative and thoughtful. We ordered a little something for Natasha to take home and she offered immediately to hold it in the fridge until we were finished to keep it cool. A nice touch. She also encouraged us to linger as long as we liked which is just what we like to do.

The setting is lovely. The decor is Paris meets West County with some gold framed mirrors and fancy fabrics but not too fussy or overbearing. We had a comfortable table and chairs right by the window which looks out on some plantings. Along a wall to the right of the entrance there are padded benches and small tables. Sometimes there might be outdoor seating. It was peaceful and it was fun to see future brides and their fiancees coming in to do cake tastings. Patisserie Angelica is well know for its fabulous, world class wedding and specialty cakes.

For our tea we had many choices of green, black and decaffeinated teas. Mine was golden and slightly fruity black tea from Mariage Freres of France and it went quite well with the afternoon tea offerings. Miroslawa had lavender scented and flavored black tea and Natasha had organic Earl Gray. We each had a pot of tea in a white pot, plus china teacups with lovely flowered patterns... a different one for each of us. The delightful server keep the tea pots refilled with boiling water as needed.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, the selection of treats was wonderful! They use pure butter, local dairy products and eggs and hand craft everything they make (no mixes allowed). We each had one or two of each offering which were spaced around the server so that we could easily reach our own. At the top were the sweets. These included the favorite... macarons with a lightened praline buttercream. It almost melted in your mouth and was rich but light. My second favorite was the tiny raspberry and frangipane tart, although I did enjoy the dense and buttery not too sweet shortbread, too. If you don't enjoy butter this is not your kind of bakery!

The next level down held three kinds of tea sandwiches including egg salad, ham and cucumber. All were fine but paled in comparison to the goodies baked on site. The lowest level had a darling and delicious square tart that had caramelized onion, spinach and mushroom filling. Another savory was Parmesan cheese twists which were crunchy puff pastry and quite delicious. The best item of the whole tea was the currant scone, served with home made lemon curd, strawberry jam and 'mock' Devonshire cream. If you find that the full on tea is too much, they also serve a cream tea that features these wonderful scones and the curd, jam and cream with a pot of tea.

This is the kind of treat that you deserve...you know it is. A leisurely time spent sipping tea, conversing, nibbling on delicious little goodies...what could be more relaxing and delightful?

If you happen to be in the Sebastopol area (about 25 minutes west of Santa Rosa, CA, which is about an hour north of San Francisco), call up Patisserie Angelica and reserve a tea party for yourself. Better yet, invite some friends to join you and you can have as much fun as we did.

Patisserie Angelica, custom pastry and wedding cake design
Hours: Friday and Saturday 10 am - 9 pm
(707) 827-7998
6821 Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol, CA 95472

6 comments :

Anonymous said...

It was a lovely tea place! Thank you for suggesting it! I differ with you only in choosing the best yummy. The scones were very good, and plentiful, but I think the best were the incredibly tender, cloud-like with a slightly crunchy crust, heavenly macarons.

The best overall was the conversation! And the hugs!

Love, Natasha

tanita davis said...

When we're back in the states, we MUST go here -- I've been hearing you chat about it for a couple of years now. We LOVE the Camellia Tea Room, of course, but this place looks wonderful, too!!

David T. Macknet said...

Oooh! Next time you're at Camelia, be sure to have a pot of Russian Caravan Tea. It's best with lots of cream and sugar, because it's so dark and intensely flavored. It has quite a unique flavor: somewhat like the scrapings from a barbecue grill, actually, but in a good way.

Peabody said...

Oh I love going to tea. I haven't been in forever. I think it would be fun.

Elle said...

Natasha, the conversation truly was the best part.

Tanita, we could meet there :)

David, I've had the Russian Caravan tea AT the Camelia...it is smoky but so wonderful. Had it the first time when I was about 10 and loved it then, too.

Peabody, I'll bet Seattle has wonderful places to go to tea. Wish I were coming to Seattle soon and we could do it together.

Katie said...

Looks like a wonderfl way to spend an afternoon. I love tea time selections like this where you get to try lots of different goodies.