Family and Christmas tea

Pamela O’Meara/Review High tea is becoming a family tradition for Pamela O’Meara.

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with a fancy five-course tea at the St. Paul Hotel downtown with my daughter and granddaughter?

High tea is becoming a tradition for the three of us. We enjoyed high tea at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan one recent summer, so this was a fun follow-up. The St. Paul Hotel was done up for the holiday with a giant decorated Christmas tree and wreaths, and the music was festive. The servers kept our lovely china cups filled with black currant tea.

It snowed the night before and we wondered if we’d make it. My daughter Kate was coming from Wisconsin and then picking me up. My college-age granddaughter, Belle, was to meet us.

I heard the snowplow early in the morning and knew that was a good sign, so I looked out to see cars driving by. We were in luck.

We headed downtown and got the last spot for valet parking. A wedding the night before had filled the hotel and parking lot. People with suitcases and carts of flowers and gifts waited in the lobby for their cars.

Once inside, we saw many cute children who were all dressed up for the children’s Santa Claus event, as well as the Christmas decorations and music surrounding us. Several women sported holiday hats tipped to the side, a bit like the English royals would wear.

Though the servings were miniature, as you might expect for a five-course tea, the food was delicious and the service was impeccable. 

The first course included prosciutto, fig jam and a honey mascarpone crostini puff pastry tart; the second course was lamb shepherd’s pie; third course — scone with orange brandy butter; fourth — three mini deserts, including chocolate mousse cup with berries; and the fifth was ginger ice cream with a gingerbread cookie.

Sitting there relaxing and being graciously served delicious food was really fun. The tea was so leisurely that we took the time to recall other Christmases, as well as our trip to Mackinac, and enjoyed being together.


—Pam O’Meara

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