Sunday, February 18, 2007

High Tea at the Alvear Palace

On Saturday, we went for high tea at Buenos Aires' most elegant European-styled hotel, the modestly named Alvear Palace. Served in the solarium of the hotel's L'Orangerie Restaurant, tea service is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Even better, it is served by white gloved attendants. Clearly, this was too much pomp and circumstance to miss.

You can read all about the high tea service as well as the hotel, built in 1932, here:

The meal began with, of course, tea, served with crisp formality out of silver pots with silver strainers placed over the cup to catch any loose pieces. I had Chai. Matt had the Breakfast Blend. He dropped a large cube of sugar in his. I opted for a little milk. I will say that it was very good tea.

Then came the finger sandwiches (cucumber and cream cheese, etc). Then the scones. Then a new pot of tea. Then the three-tiered patisserie tray (salty items below, sweet items on top). And finally, much later, a slice of cake of your choice at the end.

As a piano tinkled away in the distance, we observed the following type of people attending high tea: some wealthy, well-groomed Argentines in suits and some American tourists wearing jeans and sneakers. We also overheard an American couple who sat down quite a while after us tell their waiter, "We're pressed for time. Can we get the check?" Why they would come to a two- to three-hour high tea in a rush is perplexing, to say the least. But it sparked the following thought about our cultural differences. Argentines eat leisurely, a little at a time. Americans tend to inhale their food. Argentines are not fat. Americans are. It gets you thinking, doesn't it?


At February 18, 2007 at 9:41 PM , Blogger CAmom said...

I've been to several high teas in southern CA, most recently at the Four Seasons in WLV. High tea at the Alvear Palace sounds it worth a 14 hour trip to BA? Tea, service (white gloves etc) and food sound memorable. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

At February 20, 2007 at 1:29 PM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

High tea is one of the best social interactions ever. I am a fan, as Jason and Michele B. will attest. This one looks especially inviting. Your blog (in general, not just about the tea!) is convincing me that BA should move up a bit higher on my list of places to visit....



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