Afternoon Tea at the Willard Intercontinental
Nothing says fancy like afternoon tea, and since I was looking for a fancy and fun way to celebrate birthdays this was the ideal choice. Afternoon tea at the Willard Intercontinental is served from late fall to early spring in the hotel’s Peacock Alley. Lining the Alley are white table clothed seatings and couches while a harpist provides an elegantly relaxing atmosphere.
Having never partaken in afternoon tea before, I did a quick Google search to familiarize myself with the practice lest I commit some tea faux pas. White gloves and hats are not deemed necessary nor are uplifted pinkies when sipping from tea cups. The order to partake in the delectables is: sandwiches, scones, and then cakes. All of which should be eaten with your fingers, not a fork except for the cakes for which you may use a tea fork if absolutely necessary. Do not cut your scone but break it apart, adding cream and jam to each bite, but never making a cream and jam sandwich. Apparently the “correct” pronunciation of scone is skon (rhyming with “gone”) and not skone (rhyming with “bone”). So I’ve been pronouncing it “wrong” all this time. Who knew? What I do know is that if I were to say skon people would likely look at me like I was mistaken.
Other tea etiquette to know: never stir your tea, swirling it like a cyclone. Rather, gently move your spoon back and forth from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock positions. Add your milk after pouring your tea (I think most people do that anyways).
With proper tea etiquette now knowledge that I (and now you as well) have, I went on to enjoy two Afternoon Teas at the Willard Intercontinental. One for my birthday and another for one of my best friend’s birthdays. Two leisurely teas with girl friends where we talked about everything and nothing at all while enjoying a delicious selection of dainty tea sandwiches, dense scones (did you read it as skon?), and fruity, sweet, and chocolately cakes.
Afternoon Tea is one of my new favorite things. The perfect excuse to gather with girl friends, get dressed up, and spend the afternoon chatting away like we have no other responsibilities.
The Intercontinental – Willard
1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004