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  • Julie Levin

Where To Get Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is said to be the creation of the Duchess of Bedford in England in the mid 1840s, and it very quickly gained popularity as a way to ward off hunger before dinner and socialize with friends. It’s just as popular nowadays throughout the world. The meal often consists of light sandwiches, scones and small cakes or pastries with a pot of tea. It’s an opportunity to dress up and wear cute little headpieces and hats, connect with girlfriends, celebrate a special occasion or even just have a unique lunch. In Arizona, there are quite a few places that specialize in afternoon tea. Here are some of our favorites.

The English Rose Tearoom is the consummate place for traditional afternoon tea. Owner Jo Gemmill is from England and brings influences of her upbringing to Carefree. Go for the Formal Afternoon Tea for the full experience stacked on three tiers — on the bottom it's chicken, cucumber and smoked salmon and cream cheese tea sandwiches; warm homemade vanilla scones with strawberry preserve or lemon curd and Devon cream on the middle tier; and petit fours like lavender shortbread and coconut chocolate truffles on top. That’s all served with a small pot of tea. Then there’s the Nursery Tea for children, the Cream Tea with just scones and the Just Desserts featuring scones and petit fours. If you just want the sandwiches, there’s also an option for that too plus with the soup of the day served in a tiny teacup. Afternoon tea is available to dine in and for curbside pickup. The English Rose Tea Room is located at 201 Easy Street #103, Carefree; 480.488.4812;

If you are vegan or not, head to Drink Me! Tea Room. Everything is plant based and gluten free and tastes absolutely delicious plus there’s often fun themed events. The full Wonderland Afternoon Tea comes with savory sandwiches — “egg” salad, chickpea salad, cucumber and cashew cream crisp and a hummus and tomato pesto pinwheel. Then there’s scones with lemon curd and coconut cream followed by sweets like key lime tart and chocolate cake. Don’t forget a steaming pot of tea. There’s four other teas to choose from too, including one for children. It’s truly an excellent modern take on the old world tradition of afternoon tea. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drink Me! Tea Room is located at 1730 E Warner Road, #5, Tempe; 602.206.5469;

If you want a bit of a fancier tea, try it at the Phoenician in its beautifully decorated lobby with piano music playing. The Full Tea features tea of your choice plus the three course meal of finger sandwiches; freshly baked buttermilk and cranberry scones with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and strawberry preserves; and tea pastries. The Royal Tea is all of the above plus sparkling wine, the Grand Royal Tea has Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, and there's a tea menu for children. Right now for the holidays through January 3, there’s also the Holiday Tea which has seasonal offerings like pepper crusted beef sandwiches and chocolate caramel pumpkin cake. Reservations are required, and seatings are Thursday to Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. The Phoenician is located at 6000 E Camelback Road, Scottsdale; 480.941.8200;

If you’ve been thinking that you’d just like to add some alcohol to your tea, you’re in luck at the Bee’s Knees cocktail lounge at The Camby. There’s two courses of inventive savory bites and desserts with the star of the show, tea spiked with infused spirits and house-made syrups for craft cocktails. Each tea includes one of each savory and sweet item presented and one tea-infused cocktail. Reservations are required, and you can note any allergies or food intolerances at the time of booking. It’s every Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. Bee’s Knees is located at 2401 E Camelback Road, Phoenix; 602.522.6655;

Arcadia Farms Café is always a wonderful place to have brunch or lunch, and right now its offering a holiday tea through December 20. There’s housemade pastries, petite sandwiches, fine Harney teas and other holiday fare. Savories include a wild mushroom, leek and spinach tartlet and a smoked salmon canape; and sweets include selections like Nutella coffee cake and strawberry and cream scones filled with fresh strawberry cream. The tea is offered 2 to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and advance tickets are required. Arcadia Farms Café is located at 7014 E First Avenue, Scottsdale; 480.941.5665;

The Crowning Glory Tea Room in Fountain Hills offers a full afternoon tea complete with savories, salads, scones, sweets and all the tea you desire from its collection of more than 20 loose-leaf teas. The individual tea parlor rooms are unique, and all celebrate a different country and influential people. Begin with tea sandwiches like cucumber and pimento cheese and tuna salad followed by scones served with lemon curd and cherry tea jam and Divine-shire cream. Then for dessert, there’s fruit tart, fudge cake and more. Reservations are required, and booking is available Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Crowning Glory Tea Room is located at 16733 E. Palisades Boulevard, Fountain Hills; 480.868.4832;

TeaTime in Scottsdale not only puts on tea classes and has tea to go but also a full afternoon tea service. For $50 a person or $45 a person for parties of four or more, you’ll get three varieties of tea to share; a baby spinach and berry salad; chicken salad and hummus, pesto, basil and olive tapenade sandwiches; and sweets like scones and lemon bars. Reservations are required. TeaTime is located at 7051 E. 5th Avenue C, Scottsdale; 480.686.8503;


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