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Five Etiquette Tips for Hotel High Teas

November 3, 2009 at 1:08 PM | by | Comments (2)

Hotel teas look so inviting, with refined guests sipping chamomile and nibbling on delicate finger sandwiches. But if you're worried that people will gasp you if don't point your pinky the right way while holding a tea cup, don't fret.

We recently went to the Four Seasons Chicago to glean some tea tips so that you won't look like a teatime newbie, or even worse, an uncouth pig.

1. Dress the part.
Okay, you don't have to don white gloves to attend high teas, but dress up. We spotted two ladies in jeans, and while no one shot them disapproving looks, they stood out among the skirts, lady pants and suits in the room.

2. Don't get drunk.
If you choose to get a glass of champagne before your tea, which everyone did in our room except for the jeans-wearing delinquents, try to pad your stomach with some alcohol-soaking food before you arrive. Otherwise, the bubbly will hit your empty stomach quickly and your tipsy party will get a little rowdy and loud, much to the chagrin of the murmuring tea drinkers.

3. Mind your napkin.
If you need to use the bathroom or get up for any reason, the proper protocol is to transfer the napkin from your lap to your seat, not the table. And obvs, don't use the napkin like a bib. For shame.

4. Eat in order.
You should first eat the savory finger sandwiches, next the scones and then the sweets. There's no mixing courses.

5. Slice up those scones.
When it's time to eat those scones, cut them down the middle and use a knife to slather on the Devonshire cream, jam or lemon curd. Do not even think about dipping the mounds of deliciousness into the spreads.

Of course, use common sense when you're at teatime. Don't loudly slurp your tea, be sure to chew with your mouth closed and, in case you're wondering, you don't need to point your pinky while holding a tea cup.

[Photo: Jennifer Kester]

Comments (2)

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very good tea

Love tea tips. Also, the Four Seasons was a great choice. That greenhouse is mmmm mmmm good for their scones and such.

Good tea, indeed

I'm glad you liked the tea tips. I also loved the scones. I would rather have had more of them and less sweets.

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