Why Not Partake Holiday Tea in Cali's Wine Country?
Sonoma, California is best known for its lush vineyards and wine selection, but visitors to the area who need a break from the region's Cabernets and Chardonnays can find just that at the chic Hotel Healdsburg.
Their newly-launched "Wine Country Holiday Tea Experience" is available from now until Christmas every Saturday from 2 to 4pm.
The hotel, which is a favorite of Anne Hathaway and Hilary Swank, features a sparkling fireplace, festive decor and a live pianist playing a mix of easy listening and Christmas carols that transforms the lobby into a relaxing, casual spa-like experience.
The afternoon tea attracts everyone from the casually-dressed shopping crowd in jeans coming off the square to patrons in their Sunday best who take their tea-sipping seriously. Think formal jackets on the men and hats fit for the Royal Wedding on the women. The hotel encourages children to partake in the experience, offering little girls white gloves and fans and boys stick-on moustaches and top hats.
Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, who owns and operates the adjacent Dry Creek kitchen, offers six tea varieties from his own custom-blended collection, Tea Domain, along with traditional accompaniments with the flavors of wine country prominent throughout.
From red grape "tartare" black pepper soubise and lavender scones to open-faced prosciutto and brie sandwiches, each bite served is an example of Palmer's prowess in the kitchen.
The tea service is $28 for adults with the option to include wines for an additional $9, and $14 for children, which includes food and choice of tea, cider or hot chocolate. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are suggested.
[Photos:Lisa Grotts/Hotel Healdsburg]