April 5, 2011

TEA TIME | The Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills







The history of tea is long and complex, spanning thousands of years and as many cultures as there are in the world. While many cultures claim tea as a cornerstone to their traditions, the carnellia sinensis originated in southeast Asia and migrated throughout the world, often used not only as a beverage but also as currency.

My personal history with the piping hot beverage, however, is that I inherited the traditions of two cultures which are almost satirically obsessed with tea. Every family meal for as long as I can remember has ended with tea -- served in tea glasses, not porcelain cups and saucers; a bowl of sugar cubes (always) on the side, and each cube would be held between the teeth during sips -- and rarely dropped directly into the cup. Tea was always a closure to a Shabbat evening - or other Jewish food&family centric holiday, and would be accompanied either by calm and quiet, or more frequently, manic chatter. This part of the tradition is inherently Persian in character. The other side of my cultural heritage, hailing from England, is the traditional, slightly uptight version: tiny tea sandwiches and fresh scones piled high on tiered china accompanied by the most proper of manners. While one tradition is casual and relaxed, the other is buttoned up and proper. Different as they are, the two share a common love of tea.

Being with my family in Los Angeles was an opportunity to do both. Of course, this post is about the English variety. My mother, sister and I visited The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills to enjoy their afternoon tea. On the menu, from top to bottom: Champagne, Tahitian Vanilla Tea, strawberries with freshly whipped cream, scones (plain and currant) accompanied by devonshire cream and a mixture of jams (including the most amazing raspberry chocolate jam... next time, I'm getting a whole jar to-go), a mixture of tea sandwiches (curried chicken, smoked salmon, egg, watercress, roasted vegetables), and of course, petit fours (raspberry macarons, opera cake, chestnut mousse...). The entire service was impeccable and with a harpist behind us in the (honestly) beautiful space, it was a really wonderful setting for a girls outing.

So, perhaps you've noticed before that I'm a bit tea-obsessed, and hopefully this imparts a bit of wisdom as to how that came about. I can't imagine any family function in my life without tea as a centerpiece to the event.




Photos taken with a 5d, 50mm lens.


The Peninsula Beverly Hills
9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard (at Wilshire)
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
For reservations, call 310.551.2888

26 comments:

  1. First of all I love tea time, especially when it is a little bit over the top. Like you said it is more than just drinking that warm beverage. The little sugars, the little sandwiches, the aroma’s, … oh pure indulgence . what a fabulous afternoon, it looks perfect, with your family and having a treat like that. Sometimes I am completely addicted to opulence opulence and opulence. And what a better place to have such an experience than in a Peninsula hotel. And again, your photos are breathtaking. And yes I do get an English sophisticated dandy feeling when I read this post (and I mean this in the most fabulous way).

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  2. I love tea time too. If I had a little girl I would definitely do tea time at the peninsula or the waldorf. Love the picks. So fancy.

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  3. this is definitely my kinda place :-)

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  4. I'm a bit obsessed with tea myself. I've found some really great ones recently here in Chicago's Chinatown.. and it comes with these superb air tight silver oriental tea cans. Mmm.. I'm curious on how that Tahitian Vanilla Tea tastes like.

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  5. nicolette this looks amazing! i want to go to tea with you xx

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  6. I love tea. I love black hot tea in the morning with a drop of milk, no sugar...
    About the rest, well...loving tea is a way of life!!
    Thank you for the present of each and every photo.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  7. Your pictures are such a joy to view, always so beautiful. I'm not a fan of tea but these pictures make me want to sit there and drink some with the girls! xox

    www.pearlslaceandruffles.com

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  8. I love how you speak of tea as something which crosses so many cultural divides. I love how something so seemingly simple today (yet which has launched a hundred ancient conflicts & trade deals) is do culturally monumental, almost universally. 

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  9. i LOVE tea! you're giving me cravings with these gorgeous photos!

    X


    http://www.thefashionhash.com/

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  10. This looks and sounds incredible!

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  11. what a beautiful blog!
    i follow you , do you follow me too?
    http://finleyilsostegnoprimadiognicosa.blogspot.com/

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  12. Oh, that looks delicious!! I once had tea at the Ritz in London, it's like another world... love it too!!

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  13. Some of us boys might also think this would be perfect! Next time, we may join you. Beautiful images, as usual. Oh, The St. Francis Hotel in Santa Fe, NM also has a tea time... so, if you are ever traveling to the southwest, keep this in mind.

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  14. harps are tea...sounds deliciously decadent. seems like you had a lovely time :)

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  15. LOL I didn't know that you were supposed to hold the cubes of sugar, I always drop them on the cup.
    I have such bad manners xD
    Anyway, It sounds amazing, next time im in NY I'll be there

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  16. This is beautiful.... xo



    mele, australia

    http://falalamele.blogspot.com/

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  17. Just stopping by to say hi and give you a hug.

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  18. I recently moved to my new blog http://chicstylista.wordpress.com/ I just want to thank you for the kind comments you've posted to my old blog, I hope you'll subscribe to my new blog, xo miki of chicstylista

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  19. I love this post as I love tea!
    these pictures are amazing (as usual!)

    Ylenia
    from longuette

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  20. Oh wow, this may be the only way to have tea. How glorious and your photos are stunning.

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  21. Absoluteky Mrs. K: If and when you visit LA, you have to head to the Peninsula! It's very grand, classic Beverly Hills vibe, and of course, a wonderful tea service!

    Alissa: I've never had tea at the Waldorf, but The Plaza is another perfect option in the city!!

    PinkBow: It really is!! I thought of you while I was there, (honestly!).

    Sisilia: The tahitian vanilla is a great, great flavor. It's similar to an earl grey creme but with (obviously) stronger vanilla flavor! It's smooth, but still dark and crisp.

    Fat Aus: I would LOVE to go to tea with you! I'm sure there are fabulous high tea options in Melbourne... Now I just need to schedule a trip.

    Sacramento: I love tea, too!! Thank you so much for the sweet comments!

    Pearlslaceandruffles: Thank you so much! Even without the actual tea part, there's not much to complain about when finger sandwiches, scones, and champagne are involved :)

    Hannah: Thank you!!

    Becky: Thanks!! it was! :)

    Finley: Thank you!

    Kittybond: The Ritz in London is great!! I almost always stay nearby when I'm in London. It's a total classic :)

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  22. thethirddimension: Oh, it's totally not exclusive to the ladies! I hope I didn't give off that impression! I'd love to visit New Mexico. I dream about the landscapes there.

    Meagan: HARPS ARE TEA! HARPS ARE TEA! I repeated this like 6 times. I like it better that way.

    Falala: Thanks!!

    Fabiola: Haha! I don't think it's impolite to put the sugar directly into the cup, at all. This is just a slight Persian twist to the tradition.

    Anika: <3

    Miki: Thank you!

    Ylenia: Thanks so much!! xx

    Ria: Thank you!

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  23. LOL I didn't know that you were supposed to hold the cubes of sugar, I always drop them on the cup.
    I have such bad manners xD
    Anyway, It sounds amazing, next time im in NY I'll be there

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  24. what a beautiful blog!
    i follow you , do you follow me too?
    http://finleyilsostegnoprimadiognicosa.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
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