I have never really labeled myself as a tea drinker. I would groan at the thought of having black tea to soothe my sore throat and would never give it a second thought if I saw it in the grocery store or on a menu. This summer, however, when I visited my grandmother in Pennsylvania, she had taken me and my mother to an afternoon tea shop to indulge in a routine that she once was accustomed to when she lived in London. I was a little nervous that I was going to seem picky or rude at the cafe because, from past experiences, I had never found a tea that I actually enjoyed. It turns out that this meal was one of the most memorable and favorite days of my life! 

I ordered a peach mango tea and drank the whole kettle myself and stuffed my face with delicious finger foods alongside my family. Following our meal, I bought a package of tea and a kettle from the shop as well as a cup and a saucer in the following weeks. From then on, I have been making myself a cup of tea at the end of most nights as I do homework or unwind from the day.

Because of this amazing experience, I researched afternoon tea services in Fairfield to suppress my cravings and found Gruel Britannia which is located at 2217 Post Road. And, after many failed attempts, I was finally able to make a reservation this past weekend. While I believe nothing can truly meet the caliber of my first afternoon tea experience, Gruel Britannia proved to still be a fun set-up.

Upon getting to our table, we were given an intensive list of teas to choose from which included earl grey, hibiscus, green tea, peppermint, lemon, ginger, manuka honey, chamomile, ginger mint, pg tips, decaf ty-phoo, ginger peach green tea, lemon ginger green tea and peach ginger black tea. I easily picked peppermint, which is definitely a flavor that should stay reserved for Christmas time, but it was still lovely and refreshing nonetheless. Since each person gets their own kettle, I felt more hydrated than I have in months as I finished the entire thing before leaving. 

Our tier of food shortly followed, with one of everything for each person to taste. One layer consisted of finger sandwiches such as cucumber on white bread spread with butter, coronation chicken salad on cranberry-raisin nut bread, smoked salmon with scallion-dill cream cheese, eggplant and roasted peppers on a bulky roll and egg salad served on white bread. After trying them all, I couldn’t decide if the cranberry-raisin nut bread or the eggplant and roasted peppers were my favorites, as I could eat a massive, full-sized sandwich of either. 

For the sweets, the top tier held mini-loaded strawberry scones, chocolate-lemon curd tarts, profiteroles, a fruit cake, banana bread, macaroons and a small piece of a brownie. Everything was so delicious, and even though they look like tiny portions, I left feeling incredibly stuffed. If I didn’t already have desserts at home, I definitely would have purchased a larger-sized brownie to go – it was so rich!

Gruel Britannia is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. If you are looking to indulge in their afternoon tea services like me, be sure to make a reservation 24 hours in advance. But, if you just want to take a bite from their regular menu instead, reservations are only needed for parties of eight or more.

About The Author

-- Senior I Executive Editor I English Creative Writing & Digital Journalism --

Brooke is a senior English Creative Writing and Digital Journalism major, with minors in Film, Television & Media and Editing & Publishing. She plans to pursue a career in screenwriting after graduation.

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