Hotels take tea to the next level

No matter what trends come and go in hotel food-and-beverage operations, tea remains a popular standby. Several hotels are starting out 2017 with new offerings to appeal to the tea-drinking crowd.

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago is celebrating the new year with the launch of its resolution-themed Modern Tea menu. The hotel’s culinary team has devised a way for guests to stay accountable while indulging with a selection of resolution-inspired small bites, including:

  • Eat Right serves as a reminder to make sensible dining choices and offers a refreshing take on the classic tea sandwich, a hydrating Cucumber Sandwich with lemon thyme goat cheese spread on a crisp, and a thin mint Oreo.
  • Guests can satisfy their wanderlust with Travel More, which offers Hamachi with pickled ginger on a sesame wonton and Mexican chocolate truffles.
  • Get More Sleep features a Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich complemented by rich, white Russian cheesecake – “The Night Cap.”
  • Golden grilled Ham and Cheese Crustada served with speck, an Italian smoked meat, and creamy manchego remind guests to Spend Wisely - until they taste the platinum mint chocolate chip scones.
  • The final resolution, Be More Romantic, offers jumbo lump crab with saffron aioli on a Spanish batard and white chocolate brandied cherry skewers.

Guests can also choose from a selection of Rishi Teas curated to complement the small bites, including Valerian Dream, Tangerine Ginger, Earl Grey Lavender, Jasmine Pearl Green Tea, Iron Goddess of Mercy, Vanilla Mint Chai Tea Blend, Da Yu Lin Oolong Tea, and Teahouse Macha.

Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, launched an afternoon Russian Tea Service served in both the bar and the Library Lounge.

“In the spirit and style of Hotel Matilda, we’ve taken a traditional favorite and given it a contemporary twist to appeal to our savvy, well-traveled guests,” said Bruce James, director of Hotel Matilda. “And we’ve added special Russian flavor by pouring teas that channel the days of the czars and procuring the tea service china in Moscow.”

The menu combines a variety of both sweet and salty items and four types of tea – two best paired with the sweet snacks and two with the salty ones. Sweets include lemon and chocolate eclairs, lemon and cheese cakes, and assorted chocolates and pastries.

Among the salty snacks are watercress sandwiches, baba bread with cucumber and yogurt, salmon crostini, and tomato and burrata crostini.

Special Russian-blend teas are poured including Kusmi Tea, a renowned Russian tea with a 150-year pedigree, and Anastasia Tea combining black tea with bergamot, lemon and orange blossom. English Breakfast Tea and Green Tea are also available.

Tea service china – including tea cups and saucers, tea pots, sugar bowls and creamers, were purchased in Moscow specially for the Hotel Matilda Russian Tea Service.

In the fall, The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee launched an afternoon tea, as well. Guests enjoy a tableside tea blending, presented in all-silver service by a Pfister tea butler, paired with fresh scones, sandwiches and pastries.

“Our afternoon tea service is very special as we have our own tea butler who educates our guests on each tea offering and blending options as well as distinctive aromas of each variety. The tea butler’s personalized attention to making sure each cup of tea is brewed to the correct temperature makes for a cherished experience. As we approach the busy holiday season, we encourage all family members and friends to take a few hours out of their busy day to treat themselves to this beloved tradition,” said Tim Smith, general manager of The Pfister Hotel.

The hotel offers a selection of Rishi Teas in 12 varieties, including its signature blend, Pfister 1893, exclusively crafted in 2013 in conjunction with Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea. Pfister 1893 features a blend of jasmine and wild-rose scented white teas infused with rejuvenating peppermint and calming lavender. Menus vary from traditional, sweets, vegetarian and gluten free. The high tea experience is complete with delightful music by a harpist, a cozy fireplace and fine selections of Veuve Cliquot or Veuve Cliquot Rose.

For ladies and gentlemen 12 years and younger, an “All Grown Up” menu is available featuring warm sipping chocolate, lemonade, cider, Vermont ham & cheddar finger sandwiches, herbed chicken salad tartelettes, traditional scones and mini chocolate ganache cupcakes.