Instead of all that garbage, I decided to get a couple of my best gals, my mom and my sister together and head to my friends Michelle & Chris's tea house, The Tea Cozy Cottage in Mariemont/Eastern Cincy. In case you're not familiar, the traditional British afternoon tea consists of more than just a cup of tea and a lump of sugar - it also involves a bounty of snacks! My sister and I had gone to here a little over a year ago and were so impressed with the food (which is all made in-house, from scratch), we raved about it to everyone.
They do two weekends of sittings each month, each with a different theme. This weekend's theme was American Girl, so it was all very kid-friendly food - but by no means pedestrian. The first course was cold strawberry soup. I'd never had a sweet cold soup before - it was like sipping dessert. Very fresh taste, and a nice perky start to the courses ahead.
Next was the extra cheesy quiche. I lovelovelove quiche, especially crustless quiche because I feel less guilty about eating it. Sometimes, people try to cram so many ingredients into a quiche that you can't even taste the wonderful base of the dish. Not the case with this one at all. It was perfectly baked, warm and fluffy and a perfect ratio of eggs and cream to cheese and seasonings.
Next up were two sweets - a raspberry scone with creme fraiche and a mini cake made with Oreos.
The scone was tops! Buttery and just enough crunch, and the fruit added a sweetness without being syrupy like some jarred preserves. And let's be serious - I would slather creme fraiche on top of almost anything. The Oreo cake was super cute and inventive. The icing was a bit much for me (I've never been a huge icing fan), but was tasty and a little buttery.
The final course was a three-tiered tray with mini fresh fruit skewers, smoked gouda, cucumber sandwiches, Fluff & peanut butter sandwiches, monkey cups (monkey bread in cupcake form) and a S'mores tart.
All of the sandwiches were great, of course the gouda was aces, and the sweets were amazing. The monkey cups were a lighter version of the artery-clogging monkey bread I remember as a child, but in a good way. Layered at the bottom were some caramelized pecans that tasted good, even to a gal who's not a huge pecan fan. We were all struggling to get around to the S'mores tart with our full bellies, but we still managed. It was very rich, but a nice way to end the meal. The chocolate ganache was incredibly creamy and tasted almost exactly like hot cocoa.
What? You want to know about the teas, too?
They were all fantastic! Tea Cozy Cottage has a menu of over 70 teas and you can choose as many as you like, and share them amongst your table. We tried Coco Mint, Blackberry, Blood Orange, Caramel Apple, Cinnamon Spice, and maybe some others I don't remember. The teas are all different varieties including black, green and white. I can't remember which flavor was in which category, so I won't embarrass myself by trying to figure it out. The favorite was definitely the caramel apple, but that one was great mixed with the cinnamon spice as well. I also tried one of the iced strawberry green teas that Michelle had on the menu just for that afternoon. I've never been an iced tea drinker, but I could drink this stuff every day. It didn't require any sweetening and was very light & refreshing.
The proprietors do this part time because they're passionate about it, which translates to it being done very well. I'll admit that they're old friends of mine, but it doesn't make me too bias. If it wasn't worth it, we wouldn't have taken two car loads of people an hour south to Mariemont. Michelle is such a warm and cheerful gal, she just makes everyone feel welcome and relaxed. Regardless of personal relationships, I've never had service that good anywhere. Everyone had a wonderful time, and it was certainly more fun than any bridal shower I've ever been subjected to. My friend Ginger can't wait until her daughter is old enough to enjoy an afternoon tea there with her. Tea isn't just for fancy ladies any more. Every time I've been, there have been children of all ages, and even men, enjoying themselves.
5 out of 5 sporks!