It isn’t an invitation that comes around often. To dine in the grand room of the worlds only Baccarat hotel in NYC is about as luxurious as it gets. And when this invite is for afternoon tea I think there is a little girl in all of us who wants to shriek with glee. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of being invited for tea at the Baccarat Hotel for afternoon tea by their Tea Sommelier of Baccarat Hotel New York herself: Gabrielle Jammal. Gabrielle oversees the flagship hotel’s unique afternoon tea program which extends the rare opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the fine art of tea through an exclusive relationship with Marriage Freres.
Aside from the stunning ambiance and blinding crystals everywhere you look the passion in which Gabrielle shares her extensive, and beyond impressive, knowledge of all teas is truly what marks this experience as one you will not forget. A somewhat lost art that one, at least myself, rarely thinks about her genuine love for tea is contagious as she shares all sorts of facts about something that is so often overlooked in our every day life. Explaining it as the “fabric of every culture and the foundation for wellness. It [tea] is also an inspire social experience for people young and old to enjoy, and something that should be more fun than formal.” And Gabrielle has a point. It would not be a far off statement to say that some may find the overwhelming ambiance of the interior of the Baccarat Hotel a bit intimidating and it certainly would not be unjust to say that some people may even find the gesture of afternoon tea a bit more formal than they would prefer but I can truly attest to this only having had first hand experience that this is more of an assumption than a reality. This statement could very well be the outcome of the incredible hospitality that was given to me, my mother and sister on this lovely afternoon but it was a refreshing one. More over to have not felt mildly embarrassed of being unknowledgeable about tea while among the presence and expertise of such a well versed woman as Gabrielle speaks volumes of her character and professionalism.
Being over indulged with three tiered platters of sweet and savory bite size delights was only part of this magnificent experience. Glasses of champagne, home made scones (that were still warm from the oven!) and personalized colored Baccarat champagne flutes are only a few of the incredibly detailed touches that made this memory truly unforgettable. Even better the afternoon tea selection is plentiful with choices. Offering a variety of choices depending on what your palette is craving you can truly choose a selection of bites fit for a king (or queen) during this wonderful experience.
The latest addition to the afternoon tea menu is the NEW Tsar Nicholas II Afternoon Tea Service. A four-course experience that celebrates champagne, caviar and the time honored tradition of afternoon tea. The Tsar Nicholas II experience for two is four-courses that includes Petrossian caviar, Krug champagne and vodka infused blinis among the specialty menu’s inspired offerings. (The full menu can be viewed at the bottom of this article!) The Tsar Nicholas II tea celebrates historical figures that have associations with the legendary Baccarat crystal brand. Nicholas II was the last Tsar of Russia who fell madly in love with the glittering world of Baccarat after a visit to Paris. As a result he commissioned so many crystal pieces that Baccarat had to create a separate furnace in 1906 to accommodate his requests. His ultimate wish was to show the modernity of Russia and to demonstrate his love for his wife. From the famous Tsar Vodka glass to the Candelabradu Tsar, some of Baccarat’s most spectacular creations were for the Russian Tsars.
Whether you need an afternoon to yourself or want a memory that will last a lifetime indulge in the afternoon tea at the Baccarat Hotel in New York. And be sure to ask for Gabrielle.
You can view the variety of teas offered at the Baccarat Hotel NY here.
For additional information about the hotel’s immersion in the fine art of tea in exclusive partnership with Marriage Frères, including the King Louis XV Te, Prince of Wales Tea and the newest addition of the Tsar Nicholas II Tea please call 212.790.8867 or visit baccarathotels.com/afternoon-tea for reservations and additional information
Afternoon tea at Baccarat Hotel New York is offered Wednesday through Sunday, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.
Tsar Nicholas II Afternoon Tea Menu
TSAR NICHOLAS II
A Caviar Tea for Two at Tsarskoye Selo
Amuse bouche of sable, kohlrabi, and baby beets
Petrossian Caviar For Two,
Tsar Imperial Ossetra Caviar, Classic Accoutrements and Tea-Infused Blinis
Intermezzo of Stoli Kvass Sorbet infused with Rooibos Tea with Macerated Raisins
Lavender Shortbreads and Earl Grey Caramels served with Lung Ching
Imperial Green Tea
$400 – Paired with Krug Grande Cuvée NV (375 ml)
$600 – Paired with Krug Grande Cuvée NV (750ml)