Pinky’s Up, Not A Requirement
Honestly, I never thought I’d attending a formal afternoon tea here in the States (most people wouldn’t think so either). After visiting London a few years back and not partaking in the tradition, I kind of let the notion of “tea time” go. Then I received an email on behalf of the historic HOTEL DU PONT in Wilmington, Delaware to come and “Spill The Tea”.
At first, I was apprehensive to attend because I’m a espresso/coffee dude and I generally only have tea as a pre-bedtime beverage (I’m about that ginger tea life), but, the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful hotels in the country couldn’t be passed up. During our visit, not only did we enjoy some premium teas, sweets and savory delights — we got the full historical tour of HOTEL DU PONT.
But, let’s start with The Tea
Historically, it said the Anne, Duchess of Bedford spearheaded the “afternoon tea” movement in the early 1800s. Because the time between meals, she would request light bites and tea to hold her over, eventually inviting friends to partake (info pull from HOTEL DU PONT). High tea has gone from a low society to high society affair and back again, now, it’s taking hold in the U.S.
Now, there are rules of engagement in which one should follow to properly conduct themselves while having a formal tea. Some involving what goes in your cup first, how to place your napkin to what you each in a particular order.
Rules Of A Formal Tea (abridged)
- Men should wear at least a collared shirt, but, wearing a blazer is ideal
- Greeting/Handshake to your fellow tea-mates (made up the word tea-mates)
- Sit down and place your purse on your lap or against the back of your chair
- Unfold your napkin on your lap (place it on your chair when you get up)
- Spoon is to be placed behind the cup on the plate (never in the cup to rest)
- Sugar/lemon are placed in the cup first
- Add tea, then milk (optional)
- When pairing your bites, the correct order to consume your tray is: savories, scones and sweets last
- Scones are to be split horizontally w/ curd & cream to be spread with each bite (to be eaten with your fingers)
- Do not hold your cup with your pinky up
To experience the Royal Tea, which includes bites and champagne, the cost per person is $32 + gratuity (8+ people). Click here to see the menu. Afternoon tea is offered Wednesdays & Saturdays
Tea in the Green Room at HOTEL DU PONT
Exploring HOTEL DU PONT
As mentioned above, the beauty of HOTEL DU PONT is that each of its design influences from France, Italy and art deco meld perfectly to create an architectural wonderland. Rich gold, greens and friezes carved in American cherry wood doors makes for a grand visual experience.
From the gold ballroom, the newly added food hall DECO , my time spent exploring HOTEL DU PONT opened my eyes to the grandeur of this Wilmington treasure. I’ll be going back again to for an actual stay because I didn’t see the rooms. So, I’ll have to update this post in the future.
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM