I recently visited Jacqueline's Tea Room, a lovely little house in Freeport, Maine, where for $23.75 per person, you get a pre-set four-course menu and all the tea you could possibly drink (from a selection of about seventy varieties!).
Jacqueline sets the tables with teapots, cups, saucers, and plates from her extensive personal collection.
Grammy came along for the first time. White wrought iron, floral prints, and pearl-bedecked crystal chandeliers make up the little-girl's-fantasy decor.
For Dan and I, this was the second visit. On display throughout the house are books, stationery, scarves, jewelry, and of course, tea implements, all of which are for sale. You can also purchase any of the dozens of teas on the menu.
We started with scones. Here's a delicious almond scone with clotted cream and lemon curd. Strawberry-raspberry-cherry jam was also available.
Next came the tea sandwiches. Clockwise from the top: chicken salad, peach and ginger, salmon roll, cucumber with lavender. All were tasty, but this was the best chicken salad I've ever had: bedecked with cranberries, almonds, and celery, and held together with something that didn't quite taste like mayonnaise (a plus, since I am not a mayo fan). The peach and ginger was delicious, too, and could have easily been included on the pastry plate.
And what a pastry selection it was! Clockwise from top left: nut cakes with caramel, chocolate-cherry cake, jam tarts with Earl Grey cream, and almond macaroons with passion-fruit curd. The maraschino cherry baked in a chocolate cupcake was my least favorite; it's a cute concept, but the flavor was just not as interesting as anything else on the plate.
Both Dan and I agreed that the nut cake was the best. The texture was moist and incredibly velvety, and the caramel was just right.
For the final course, a touch of berry sorbet graced with a nasturtium. In the cooler months, instead of ending with sorbet, the meal begins with a cup of soup. By this point we were absolutely stuffed; between the three of us, we'd gone through at least six pots of tea.
Having been twice now, I can definitely say that I love Jacqueline's Tea Room. It's the perfect place for a bridal or baby shower or just a special treat!
Jacqueline's Tea Room is open Tuesday through Friday and every other weekend, with seatings at 11am and 1pm. Reservations required.
Jacqueline's Tea Room
201 Main Street