I recently spent a lovely Saturday enjoying Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix, celebrating a dear friend's birthday over a feast of tea and treats. As I mentioned in a recent Friday Favorites post, The Ritz is my favorite local tea spot. I must admit that it has been awhile since I last was here, and discovered many changes have been made to the menu. I was pleased to find that some things don't change, like the top-notch service and the amazing pianist Nicole.
I first discovered my beloved Harney & Sons Paris Tea Blend at the Ritz. Jeffrey, the Tea Sommelier, served Harney Teas and the menu had a lovely selection of flavors. A few years later, Jeffrey switched to Rishi Teas, which are just as delicious as Harney Teas. Now, Jeffrey has created his own line of teas. On this occasion, I tried the seasonal Yuletide Tea and Plum Berry White Tea, seen in the photo above. I particularly enjoyed the Yuletide Tea, which is a black tea flavored with cranberry, vanilla and cinnamon. I must confess though, I do miss the days when they served Harney's Paris Tea!
The most significant change to the tea service is the menu. In the past, the Ritz served a very traditional English Tea menu. Now, they have taken the traditional and added a twist- every item of food served is tea-infused! The shrimp canapé above rests on a lemongrass black tea cornbread muffin. The chicken salad finger sandwich is flavored with tangerine ginger tea. There is even a PB&J puff pastry, where the jelly is made with a Plum Berry White Tea gelée! While I'd say most of these were wonderful, a few were more curious than delicious.
My favorite part was the scone course. I enjoyed both the traditional and the coconut black tea-infused scone. I love how the Ritz serves the Devonshire Cream, preserves and lemon curd in these chocolate bowls!
Next, we were served a selection of sweets. Everything was presented beautifully on a three-tired tray. Look at the darling macaron, dusted in pearlescent shimmer! The desserts were all tea-infused in keeping with the theme. The torte above was made with a chocolate chai, and there was a blackcurrant shortbread topped with a Yuletide Tea cream! While all the sweets were lovely, I am not sure that every single one of them needed to be tea-infused. They all had an exotic flair that was good, but sometimes this girl is just happiest with plain old chocolate cake or shortbread! I guess that makes me a tea traditionalist?!
Afternoon Tea is served in the hotel lobby, which has been redecorated since my last visit. The room is beautiful, with paneled walls and gorgeous chandeliers. Now the decor is all in shades of brown, orange and yellow, reminiscent of the Arizona desert. There is even an amazing succulent terrarium in the center of the lobby! If you are ever in Phoenix and in need of some pampering, I recommend checking out the Ritz. This is how Arizona does Afternoon Tea!