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Art of tea

  • Waitress Abby Chambers brings carries tea cups before a traditional English tea time at the Tudor Rose English Tea Room in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Santa Rosa. (Conner Jay/Press Democrat)

It's a fantasy for weary moms on Mother's Day: To be waited upon like a queen. So when the kids or hubby show up with a tray of dainty tea sandwiches and a steaming cup of tea, mum will think she fell down the rabbit hole and into a Mad Hatter's tea party.

Liverpool native Angela Grant, who opened the Tudor Rose English Tea Room in Santa Rosa this spring, shared some of the secrets of the traditional English tea, just in time to serve your own version for Mother's Day.

"Put the kettle on for a cup of tea," is a familiar refrain heard by Grant when she goes back to Northern England to visit her family.

Tudor Rose English Tea Room

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"They drink tea every day, all day," said Grant, who was lost, roaming the moors in Devon, when she stumbled upon salvation in the form of a tea house and decided to open her own version in the North Bay.

Since launching in early April, the cottage-like Tudor Rose English Tea Room has provided men and women with respite in the form of couches and a fireplace, reading lamps and nooks, plus refreshments.

With the recent closure of Jacqueline's High Tea in Petaluma, everyone from British ex-pats to grandmothers and granddaughters have been showing up at the door.

"Women are saying, 'We finally have a place to go,'" Grant said. "'And we feel welcome here, like we're in somebody's house.'"

Just to set the record straight, "high tea" is not the fancy one, even though it sounds that way.

"High Tea is for the commoners," Grant explained. "It's a 6 o'clock meal, with sandwiches, salad, soup and pasties."

"Low tea" is the tea traditionally enjoyed by the upper classes as a way to tide their appetites over in the late afternoon, she said. That's where you'll find those cute little tea sandwiches and scones accompanied by small pots of jam and clotted cream.


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