If your winter holidays are anything like mine, with each passing year it seems as if they sneak up on the calendar earlier, yet fly by faster. I’ve barely had time to tinsel – much less bake a batch of my grandmother’s famous kolaches – when the New Year is suddenly upon us, and I look at my long list of “to-dos” and think, “Maybe next year.”
This year, my goal is to stress less and take more time to savor the season. And what better way to do that than spend a quiet afternoon partaking in holiday tea? I spent a year living in England as a college student, when I fell in love with the tradition of afternoon tea – there’s nothing better than carving out some quiet time during a hectic day to enjoy a piping hot cuppa, buttery cucumber sandwich and sweet cranberry scone topped with smooth, rich Devonshire cream.
While holiday tea at the Drake or Palmer House Hilton in Chicago is sure to delight, you don’t need to travel outside of Lake County to take advantage of this fun holiday tradition. Check out these establishments – and don’t forget to make a reservation ahead of time.
Holiday Teas in Lake County
Sugarplum Fairy Tea Party
LoMastro Performing Arts Academy, 840 S Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest
Saturday, November 19, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Tickets are $35
Children are invited to get dressed up and have high tea with special performances by the Sugarplum Fairy, Clara, and other characters. In addition there will be a sit-down tea, cakes, cookies, and lots of surprises. Children will go home with a special memento to take home to remember the day. All proceeds will help defray costume and production costs at LoMastro Performing Arts Academy. Register early as last year this event sold out.
High Tea with Gerri
Gerri’s Tea Room, 44 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove
Open Monday – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Prices range from $21.50 – $41 per person.
The owner, Gerri, draws on her culinary training in London to prepare a fresh, authentic tea daily. Choose from eight varieties of sandwiches, followed by scones, apple-rhubarb pie with fresh mint and cream, and other pastries. Gerri and her staff dress in authentic Victorian attire and serve tea in antique china teacups.
Deer Path Inn
255 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest
Tuesday – Saturday, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$45 per adult; $25 per child.
Teas at the Deer Path Inn have been carefully selected with the help of Malcolm Ferris-Lay, Master of Tea, whose family has been connected with the tea trade since 1842. The Deerpath Inn features a range of teas, including traditional English and Chinese teas, which are paired with sweet and savory treats, such as shrimp and lobster salad croissants and orange scones.
St. Lawrence Episcopal Church,125 W. Church Street, Libertyville
December 3, 11:00 a.m.
Tickets are $40
Come to St. Lawrence Episcopal Church and have a classic Victorian style tea right in Libertyville. There will be English teas, scones, finger sandwiches, and bite- sized desserts for indulging. Space is limited, so please make your reservations as soon as possible.
Worth the Trip
The Celtic Knot Public House
626 Church Street, Evanston
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2:00 p.m. – 4 p.m.
$19 per adult; $12 per child.
The Celtic Knot features an afternoon tea with an assortment of mini sandwiches, including egg salad, ham with stone ground mustard, and smoked salmon with dill sauce. For a sweet treat, try their homemade scones with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
2108 N. Clark Street, Chicago (Lincoln Park)
Holiday Tea is available from November 25 – December 31, seven days at week at 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
$45 per person for adults; $19 for children ages 4 – 12 years old.
Enjoy gourmet tea, signature pastries and an assortment of special holiday-themed pastries such as gingerbread macaron, pecan tart, and pumpkin curd in addition to other homemade jams and curds, finger sandwiches, and lemon pepper quiche. Delight in Vanille’s signature hot chocolate with a house made marshmallow and peppermint macaron. Call today, (773)-868-4574 to make reservations and to enjoy all the holiday magic and great food the season has to offer!
Where will you enjoy tea this holiday season?