It’s four o’clock somewhere

Afternoon tea becoming trendy again.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem pastry chef Claude Ben- Simon pours out (photo credit: WALDORF ASTORIA JERUSALEM)
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem pastry chef Claude Ben- Simon pours out
The new trend on the Jerusalem food scene? Good news for those partial to pekoe: afternoon tea.
The Waldorf Astoria offers two options: a traditional British version and one with a Middle Eastern twist, both under the direction of pastry chef Claude Ben-Simon.
The Holy City is taking a page out of the book of Duchess Anna of Bedford, who introduced this ritual in 1840 when she became hungry in the afternoon, in wait of a fashionably late dinner. (Much like Europeans, Israelis often eat late, so many of us can relate.) As Ben-Simon notes, under Queen Victoria’s reign in Great Britain, afternoon tea became a formal event and ceremony of great cultural significance. Scones, sweet rolls originating in 16th-century Scotland, have become an inseparable part of the tea ceremony.
In the best British tradition, the Waldorf Astoria serves them with jam and butter or rich English cream.
The hotel’s tea, properly laid out on china and silver, includes savory delights – small cucumber, cheese, smoked salmon and egg salad sandwiches – alongside the all-important scones, sweet pastries such as delectably frosted éclairs, and cakes. All are pleasingly arrayed on the classic three-tiered stand.
The Middle Eastern tea includes mille-feuille with tehina cream, sweet pita bread with halva, a variety of baklava pastries, spiced cardamom cake and espresso mousse with caramel and cinnamon.
Satisfying your savory tooth are mini-sandwiches of pita with grilled red tuna, and tortillas with tehina cream and roasted eggplant and egg.
Grasp your porcelain teacup and lift your pinkie as you choose from a dozen Ronnefeldt teas, including Darjeeling, Assam Bari, Peach, Bora Bora and more. Fresh mint tea is recommended with the Middle Eastern option.
Such finery doesn’t come cheap, but being treated like a duchess never does.
Sunday through Thursday, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Afternoon tea, NIS 255 for two, 25% discount for children under 12 Middle Eastern afternoon tea, NIS 225 for two, 25% discount for children under 12. Reservations recommended: (02) 542-3330,
The Villa Brown Jerusalem boutique hotel offers its own version of “high tea” in its charming tea garden – with a selection of brews alongside an assortment of artfully presented appetizers with local flair, such as smoked salmon and zucchini pesto sandwiches, malabi, homemade spreads, mixed cheeses, biscuits and more.
Sunday-Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m.; Friday, 12 to 3:30 p.m.
NIS 120 for two Reservations recommended: (02) 501-1555