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The New Rules for Enjoying Afternoon Tea at Phoenix's Wrigley Mansion

3November 2021

Wrigley Mansion serves up the sweetest of afternoon teas. Held Wednesday and Thursday afternoon in the luxe Living Room at Geordie’s, an upscale space enveloped in historic art and sweeping views of the city, the elegance of London comes to you in the most sophisticated of dining traditions. When else are you encouraged to linger over lovely sandwiches and decadent desserts while sipping tea?

It’s not all pinkies in the air, though. Here’s how to navigate afternoon tea in today’s world.

Bust out your poofy skirt and fancy hat – or not
Afternoon tea can transport you to a different time and place. Add in the manicured grounds of the Wrigley Mansion and the Jane Austin-feel of the living room and it’s easy to imagine you’re in the English countryside. In other words, it’s the perfect excuse to dress the part. Of course, there’s no official dress code, and no one will bat an eye if you’re in jeans and a t-shirt, but how often do you have an excuse wear your fancy attire? 

click to enlarge So many tea cups, so little time. - ALLISON YOUNG

So many tea cups, so little time.

Allison Young


Stop and smell the tea

Afternoon tea is truly a delight for the senses. Yes, there’s the live pianist filling the room with Steinway sounds, but it’s the scent of tea that gets you. Tea selections range from a blend of black teas from India and China with notes of rhubarb and wild strawberry to a velvety oolong that brings butterscotch to mind. You select a tea to go with each course (your server can make suggestions that enhance both the flavor of the food and the tea) and once the sommelier mixes the loose leaf and pours from the polka-dotted pot into your cup, you’ll be hit with a combo of earthy, floral and sweet notes. Who knew tea was so fragrant?

click to enlarge Tea sandwiches, sans crusts. - ALLISON YOUNG

Tea sandwiches, sans crusts.

Allison Young

No pinkie in the air is necessary, but you will feel fancy
The first course to come out: tea sandwiches. A savory selection of asparagus and caramelized onion, smoked salmon with capers and crème fraiche and egg salad with radish, all sans crusts, of course. It’s impossible to nibble classic finger sandwiches and not feel la-di-da.

Permission to double (even triple) dip, granted
Your second course, a selection of warm scones and tea biscuits, comes with a trio of house-made spreads: fruity seasonal preserves, creamy lemon curd and thick clotted cream. Don’t be shy about plying your plate with spoonfuls of accoutrements and loading them onto bite-sized morsels of scones. Try jam topped with cream, or cream first then lemon curd, or all three at once.

click to enlarge Top your scones with preserves, lemon curd and clotted cream. - ALLISON YOUNG

Top your scones with preserves, lemon curd and clotted cream.

Allison Young

Eat multiple desserts (and get a to-go box)
For the last and best course, out comes a tiered tray of bite-sized sweets all looking too pretty to eat. There are mini macarons, petite cheesecakes, teensy opera cakes, and adorned petit fours, each daintier and more decadent than the next. Sample as many as you like (no one’s counting) and take what’s left in a to-go box.

Sip, savor, and socialize
The tempo of afternoon tea is slow and steady. Courses are served at a leisurely pace, with plenty of space between to converse and delight in bottomless pots of steaming tea. The whole relaxed affair takes about an hour and a half, not that anyone’s checking their watch – or their phones. It’s as if the demands of the outside world disappear in a posh poof.

click to enlarge Tea up at Wrigley Mansion. - WRIGLEY MANSION

Tea up at Wrigley Mansion.

Wrigley Mansion

Wrigley Mansion
2501 East Telawa Trail
Afternoon Tea: Wednesday and Thursday at 1:30 and 2 p.m.

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