Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tea at L’Espalier

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I have made a little tradition out of taking my mom for high tea to celebrate Mothers Day!

There is always a family brunch at one of my aunt’s houses on Mother’s Day itself, so the Saturday before I always make plans for mom and I.

I think this is the 5th or 6th year of our tea tradition, and while we may run out of new places to go, I don’t think we’ll mind repeating a few ;)

2008 – Holiday Tea at the Park Plaza (we had our Mother’s day tea here that same year)

2009 – Tea at The Taj

2010 – Tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel (at the Sea Grille)

For instance, today we had a relaxing and delicious tea at L’Espalier.  I have been to Afternoon Tea at L’Espalier twice in the past, but both times were at their old location which was a beautiful brownstone off Newbury Street.  They are now located in the new Mandarin Orient Hotel.


Definitely a different atmosphere.  New and modern.  The old place was elegant and classic, which I prefer, but that’s not to say the new location is still beautiful and of course the food and service are still top notch.

We even added a little something special to this years tea…CHEESE!  But I’ll get to that in a moment.

Once you pick your tea, and order, the first thing that comes out is your tea sandwiches.

By the way… mom went with English Breakfast (no surprise there :)  and I had the Earl Grey.


Clockwise from the top-left:

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Egg salad on a brioche bun
  • Lobster salad on a house made pretzle roll
  • grilled ham and cheese
  • cucumber and cream cheese

I’m not an egg salad fan, and mom doesn’t really like smoked salmon so we always switch those :)


My favorite, hands down, was the ham and cheese…and if you know me, you’re shocked I didn’t say the lobster.

The ham and cheese was just so incredibly flavorful!  Rich buttery toasted bread, grainy mustard, melty cheese, and salty ham.  It was awesome.

The lobster was #2.  Of course I LOVE lobster, and the pretzel roll had a great shiny crust and super soft on the inside, with delicious big salt crystals.


Once finished with our sandwiches, the wonderful wonderful cheese tray came our way.

Did you know you can pop up to L’Espalier and just have a glass of wine and some cheese in their Salon anytime??  I am SO doing this. 


Luckily I have descriptions (all descriptions taken from the L’Espalier Cheese Selection pamphlet)

From Right to Left (which was mildest to strongest)

  • Lakes Edge – Blue Ledge Farm – Salisbury, VT
    • Greg and Hannah keep 60 goats on their Lake Champlain farm.  Lakes Edge is ash rubbed, soft/dense in texture, with a satisfying earthy and tangy flavor.  The pure white interior paste is bisected with a thin line of ash.
  • Caccio Di Bosco – Tuscany, Italy
    • This is a dense, aged sheep’s milk cheese studded with white truffle.  The buttery, sharpness of the cheese forms a perfect marriage with the woodsy opulence of the truffle.  A bit of honey will consummate the deal. 
  • Tarentaise – Spring Brook Farm – Reading, VT
    • Firm, nutty, and wonderfully herbaceous artisan mountain cheese made by Jeremy Robinson from the milk of Jersey cows.  It was chosen Third Best in Show at this years American Cheese Society judging (um how does one get on that panel??) 
  • Taleggio Reserve, Lombardia, Italy
    • Meaty and supple, with a nutty and slightly tart flavor, Elegant and irresistible.

      The server said this is the “new” version of Taleggio which is made from raw milk and is not quite as strong
  • Gouda – Aged Five Years – Holland
    • Crunchy, with a sweet caramel flavor.  Eat it like candy.
  • Caveman Blue – Rogue Creamery – Central Point, Oregon
    • Another winner from Cary Bryant and David Gremmel.  The cheese is creamy and muscular, with a sweet start and pungent earthy finish. 


They were all amazing…aside from the blue cheese, but that’s more of me (and mom) just not being big fans of blue cheese to begin with.

The mild goat cheese (far right) was sooo creamy, mild…not too tangy, the ash didn’t take away from the cheese.  We both loved it.

The 2nd from the right, was basically Truffle Cheese and obviously we both loved it!

I’m serious when I say we loved them all.  I haven’t had too much tallegio before, but I do remember it being strong and I remember liking it…well this new version is even better.

Of course there were cheese accompaniments…


Breads, honey with toasted pine nuts, candied walnuts, and cranberries.

We ended up packing a lot of cheese to go (we still had dessert on the way), but I can’t wait to dig into the leftovers!

Now the sweet stuff.


Their signature swan pastry.  Basically a cream puff, filled with a espresso filling.

To the right is a Greek yogurt panna cotta…tangy and refreshing.


Chocolate decadence in the front… no need for explanation…but it was RICH.

In back there is a little financier cookie.


Red Velvet parfait.  Basically red velvet cake crumbs, layered with cream cheese frosting. 

and my favorite…




Cherry and Pistachio scones and Lemon scones.  Served with strawberry jam, honey, and crème fraiche.       

I always say this but if you’ve never done high tea/afternoon tea…DO IT!  It just makes for such a relaxing elegant activity.  Plus it’s a perfect opportunity to get the girls (or boys) together, dress up, and snack on tasty tea sandwiches, delicious pastries, and sip your favorite tea.

Have you been to afternoon tea?  Any favorite spots??  and what are you doing for your mom this Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!!!  Love you!!


  1. Love this tradition! Everything looks amazing- especially the lobster roll and parfait! I spent the weekend in savannah with my mama! Happu fur baby mamas day to you

  2. I've been to L'Espalier for dinner, wine and cheese events, and their salon events...but never for high tea! This looks absolutely lovely!

  3. How have I never been there for tea? I think a trip needs to be planned. And I'll join you in the salon for tea and wine if you ever need a buddy! I dream about those pretzel rolls.

  4. I totally just emailed this post to my mom to tell her we should do this. It looks fantastic!! Especially the scones and clotted cream.

  5. This looks amazing! I need to go here with my mom! What a wonderful idea : )

  6. I've always wanted to try tea here, so I'm glad to hear it was lovely!! Maybe for my mom's birthday :) All of the cheese looks SO amazing!


  7. oh my gosh. love. i need to go :)

  8. Those photos are so beautiful. And that cheese..oh, that cheese!

  9. I love the afternoon tea at L'Espalier and also had a wonderful experience. The scones were so good!

  10. Thank you for sharing! I was looking for a specific cheese I had here once; thanks for helping me find it!