There is something classy and terribly civilised about afternoon tea. Dainty sandwiches, little cakes bursting with sugary and chocolatey delights washed down with fragrant teas that make all the flavours dance on your tongue.
It is said this afternoon experience was introduced by Anna Maria Russel in 1840, seventh Duchess of Bedford and incidentally a close friend of Queen Victoria. Since lunch was served early and dinner was usually served around eight o’clock in the evening, she would usually become peckish and therefore introduced afternoon tea – little posh “snacks” aka bread and butter and cake with a tray of tea.
It has become so popular that many hotels, restaurants and fancy pubs in the UK have adopted this quintessential dining affair in their menus. You’ll even see Indian afternoon tea on offer when visiting London. If you haven’t tried it yet it must be added to your bucket list.
What about Grenada? Walking a long windy road in St Paul’s up in the hills of Grenada, I discovered a huge estate tucked away amongst trees and and amazing plants. Don’t you just love discovering new places?!
If you weren’t looking for it you would almost miss the small sign and entrance to the Tower Estate. Note to owners – you may want to advertise it a little more from the road.
This venue hosts a variety of events such as chef competitions, film sets, weddings , you name it and is known among the locals for its scary dogs according to a friend. Hmmmm that has never stopped me – I simply had to go and see what it was all about.
Following a windy road up a hill we were greeted by the extremely friendly owners, Isabel and Victoria as well as the cutest non scary dogs and absolutely stunning architecture.
The Tower Estate offers a tour of their botanical garden and …….afternoon tea with a Grenadian twist. My ears pricked up. Grenadian twist? As a connoisseur I simply had to try that.
So Friday – the day for afternoon tea at this hidden gem – a group of us made our way to check out this experience.
You can only be in awe of this location packed with history and once the home to the Grenadian Minister of Tourism, Paul Slinger.
The building from the outside as well of the inside boasts incredible colonial style and the owners have worked hard to maintain its original features and keep history alive. The building is still undergoing some restorations. It is so authentic that it still houses bats in certain nooks and crannies.
Greeted by a very colourful table display the afternoon tea starts with blue tea. Yes you read correctly. Blue tea! No it’s not food colouring.
It’s actually the colour of blue flowers growing on the estate which when mixed with homegrown peppermint burst with flavour and well….is blue. I couldn’t get enough of it. Nevermind Assam, Earl Grey or Lapsang tea. This is the one to try.
This was followed by amazing fresh sandwiches cut the royal way, cakes made from ingredients grown in their own garden including cocoa and fresh fruit juice which just cooled you down on this hot day.
The original list provided on the table looks a little sparse – don’t be fooled – sandwiches and different cakes just kept coming. As a true afternoon tea it was filling and apart from looking dainty you didn’t necessarily feel dainty. The owners have this down to the T though offering a tour of the estate to walk off all those carbs. Perfect.
At EC$60 per person which I admit is not cheap it is a treat however and I do recommend it when visiting Grenada. I do recommend you reserve ahead of time as it can get busy and there is limited space.
The fascinating tour of the estates botanical garden was given by Victoria, a truly passionate and knowledgeable gardener and who has put together a stunning display of plants, trees and flowers that even as a garden novice just make you step back in awe.
I have no idea how she remembers all the names of these amazing plants imported from various islands and countries but the vibe of this place instantly relaxes you, the scent of various flowers almost puts you in a trance that you forget you are actually on an island not far away from a vast ocean.
So my island loving friends next you’re on this gorgeous island, you’ve just landed or have been in Grenada for a while I set you the challenge to escape to this hidden gem in St Paul. Just keep your eyes peeled for the sign.
Much love xoxo