As a British overseas territory, Cayman celebrates its relationship with England in many ways. The Queen’s image is on the local currency, and the Union Jack is on the upper left corner of the Islands’ flag. Arguably, however, one of the most enjoyable ways to pay tribute to Cayman’s colonial roots is to treat yourself to afternoon tea.
Many equate tea with Britain’s history; however, the tradition of afternoon tea was established not all that long ago. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating the tradition in 1840. During the 19th century, most British aristocratic families would eat two meals a day: one midmorning and the other late in the evening. This led them to grow hungry in the afternoon, so tea with pastries, scones and sandwiches was requested to hold them over until dinner.
Note that afternoon tea is not the same as high tea. High tea was the term used to describe the last meal of the day for British working-class families. Today many call this dinner or supper.
A Royal Affair
Those who want to feel like royalty are encouraged to experience Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Guests are treated to a sophisticated experience, accompanied by an extensive tea selection by Palais des Thés, delectable finger sandwiches and whimsical pastries. Mario Spirto, director of food and beverage at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, shares, “Silver Palm’s traditional English afternoon tea inspires a dining experience fit for royalty. It is truly a unique and memorable way to celebrate a special occasion.”
Spirto adds, “Our youngest guests are welcomed with their own afternoon tea setting complete with tiny teacups and decorated pastries.”
Afternoon Tea is available daily (in season) with seatings between 2 and 4 p.m. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance by calling 345-815-6912. Afternoon Tea starts at CI$48 per person, and Kid’s Tea starts at CI$20 per child.
Mad for Tea
For a traditional experience rounded out with modern updates, look no further than the Mad Tea Party, taking place every Saturday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. “The Mad Tea Party celebrates art, literature, music and all things delicious,” states Lee Parry, director of food and beverage at the Marriott. “Inspired by the Mad Hatter Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland, it is not your average cup of tea!”
The Marriott’s tea features creative tea blends designed by the experts at Teatime in Cayman. “Our aim is to surprise you with a decadent display of cool cakes and ever-changing ‘Drink Me’ potions in addition to the high tea classics,” continues Parry. The food offerings change weekly but include a combination of tea sandwiches, scones and homemade cakes. To make a reservation, book online via opentable.com by searching for Anchor & Den. Cost is CI$30; CI$35 with a glass of Champagne.
A hidden secret amongst Cayman locals is the Tea Room at Every Blooming Thing, which offers afternoon tea Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This a la carte tea is an understated gem. Guests order sandwiches, soup, salad, quiche or scones to satisfy their appetite whilst surrounded by beautiful vegetation from the store and nursery. Tea alone is CI$4 and sandwiches start at CI$7.
Author: Stacie Sybersma