Monday, May 30, 2016

Afternoon Tea Comes to Pozos

Years ago I wrote a book called The Pleasures of Afternoon Tea. It was a best-seller in the late 1980s and was well reviewed by the likes of chef Jacques Pepin and the Tea Council of USA. It’s no longer in print, but you can pick up second-hand copies on e-bay and Amazon (you’ll have to fight me for them!) Although I’d appeared many times on television demonstrating how to bake scones and was hired by companies such as Williams Sonoma and Lipton to teach staff about the concept of afternoon tea, I’d never fulfilled my dream of having my own tearoom: it remained a bucket-list item for me.

So when I saw the lovely boutique hotel, La Villa de Pozos under construction in our little town, I thought, hmmm … So I approached proprietors, Rosa and Oscar about the possibility of having seasonal pop-up teas there. Happily, they liked the idea, too.

                                          La Villa de Pozos

We held the first – the spring tea – in April. The idea proved more popular than we had dreamed. We reached our full capacity of 25 people and had a waiting list. Who knew that this classic English tradition would prove so popular in Mexico? Our guess would be that it’s because it’s unique in the area. If you want afternoon tea, you have to come to Mineral de Pozos! And they did: from San Miguel de Allende and from Queretero. Our little pueblo magico in the mountains is full of surprises.

                                   A full house of lovely ladies

Since La Villa de Pozos was still under construction at the time, we had to scramble to make it presentable for our tea guests. But with a herculean effort by all concerned, it was looking fabulous on the day (as long as you didn’t look behind any closed doors!). We held the tea in the elegant courtyard with its caliche (local limestone) walls and stone floors. The ladies – yes it was all ladies although we would love to welcome gentlemen – played their part by coming in their spring finery. The weather co-operated by providing us with a sunny, mild day.

                                          Looking fine!

The theme of the day was lavender (a nod to spring and to Pozos’s famous lavender farms) and the menu was traditional.

We had five types of tea sandwiches; classic scones with clotted cream and artisanal jam; and four small pastries. All accompanied, of course, by two types of black tea and to make the occasion extra elegant, a glass of champagne.

The big news is that this week – starting June 1 – we will be taking reservations for our summer tea to be held Sunday, June 26. We’ve changed the day from Saturday to Sunday to accommodate those people who work on Saturday. The theme will be roses, because what says English summer better? The menu will be completely different, except for the cream scones, which are such a cornerstone of afternoon tea that we would not dare change them!

Hope to see you soon with pinkies raised.