January 12 was National Hot Tea Day and of course that required a road trip. We selected The Twisted Teapot in Winter Haven as our celebration destination.
Once a flower shop, the Twisted Teapot has been converted into a comfortable tea room with a combination of shabby chic decor and a tea list, that looks more like a menu list for those who enjoy the myriad of tea blends they offer.
Although we did not have reservations (which are recommended) and the place was packed, we got seated quickly and ended up with a window table overlooking busy First Street South.
Our waitress Alice appeared almost immediately to start us with our beverages.
Because it was “Hot Tea Day,” we each had a pot. I had asked for a “manly tea,” as I was one of the few men there. My wife suggested the Mango Amazon; featuring India Black Tea with mango pieces, marigold flowers and mongo flavor. My wife (the tea expert) took the Coconut Vanilla, comprised of Black Tea with coconut shreds and vanilla. Each of the teas on the menu had similar descriptions of content and came with recommended steeping times.
Both of our selections had a steep time of three minutes, although we let them go longer. Each was piping hot and came in their own pot. Mine was stoneware while hers was china (there were many different pots of different materials.
The tea cups also are unique, it seems no two are alike. Because this is loose teas, customers are given winged stainless strainers so they may pour their own tea and catch some of the ingredients that continue to flow through the liquid. We each had a chance to try the other’s tea and both were delicious.
For lunch, I ordered the Royal Roast Beef on ciabatta bread, that came with a choice of sides including red potato salad, broccoli carrot salad or kale coleslaw. I chose the broccoli salad, while my wife had
the potato salad to go with her chicken salad on a croissant.
There were several other sandwich options including; maple ham & cheese or turkey croissants as well as quiches and different salad incarnations.
Those coming for high tea always could get the Swan High Tea, a three-tiered presentation tea sandwiches, fresh baked scones an array of delicate pastries with a cup of soup and a pot of tea. the tower easily is enough for two looking for a decadent, light snack, which is exactly what constitutes a proper, British afternoon tea.
There are smaller versions dubbed “The Twisted Tea” and “The Single Twist” respectively, ranging from $23 down to $12 – no sharing please..
Although there were few empty seats, the noise level was minimal and the tables are spaced sufficiently so that patrons might have pleasant conversation without being overheard. There also seemed to be a chandelier over each of the tables.
Like the table service, they come close to matching but are not exactly the same. It creates an informal charm to the dining experience.
Our food came quickly and again we shared and compared. The ingredients were a cut above most places without significantly higher prices. The only criticism might be the portions may have been a bit small…at least for a manly appetite.
One of the best things as far as we were concerned, there were no television screens inside the place. It was a fun time, a great place to take your wife as a treat or a great place for a ladies luncheon.