It has become a tradition each year when my granddaughter, Madalyn comes to visit she and I and two of my friends, Mrs. Fulmer and Mrs. Gardner, go to tea. This year we chose the Garden Gate Tea Room in Mt. Dora, Florida.
Teatime at the Garden Gate was like stepping back into another time, the Victorian Era. There were lace tablecloths, lace curtains and lace dresses everywhere. The china was a lovely mix and match of teacups and saucers covered in beautiful flowers like roses, violets and pansies. All the colors were soft and relaxing. Everything about the restaurant setting was warm, comfortable and inviting. We all loved our choice for this year’s tea.
As we settled in our hostess brought us the menu for the teas that were being served. There were so many that sounded wonderful it was almost too hard to choose. The group chose three teas a chocolate-vanilla tea, a Chai tea and a Hawaiian tea.
The tea was served in four courses. The first course was a salmon soufflé roulade. The soufflé was placed atop a bed of field greens with snippets of strawberries, blueberries, peaches and toasted almonds with a light, creamy dressing. The soufflé was so light and airy it virtually melted in your mouth.
Our next course was a small, light serving of lemon-lime sorbet with mint presented in a cordial glass dipped in sugar. This was very nice and gave us a chance to cleanse our palettes before the next course was served.
The next course was a wonderful array of tea sandwiches beautifully presented on a three-tiered plate. It is so true that you eat with your eyes first. There were four different sandwich choices with four different kinds of bread, four different fillings and four different finishing touches all of which looked delicious.
The cucumber and cream cheese was in pumpernickel squares with one corner dipped into chopped chives. The egg salad was presented in white bread triangles with one corner dipped into chopped toasted slivered almonds. The cream cheese with honey mustard on rectangles of wheat bread was dipped into shaved carrots. The chicken salad was served in petite puff pastry. Each and every sandwich was a taste delight.
Our last course was, of course, dessert. A three-tiered plate filled with scones, lemon cream filled swan pastries, and lemon curd cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries appeared in the center of our table as well as bowls of raspberry jam and clotted cream for our scones. Madalyn especially liked the swan she thought it was quite fancy.
We all loved the Garden Gate. Everything about it was wonderful the atmosphere; the staff, the tea, the food but most of all another year spent enjoying each other’s company. I asked Madalyn, “How do you like going to tea each year with my friends” and she replied, “It is like having three grandmas all giving me hints and advice on how to grow up and be the best person I can be. I like that a lot”.