12 Feb 2019 2017
Sofia Vasconcelos From Madeira to Mars
#experiences #tips #tradition

2 Suggestions for an Afternoon Tea in Madeira

Besides being therapeutic and relaxing, the afternoon tea is a pleasant ritual. Delight in this invitation for an afternoon tea in two lovely locations in Madeira: on the seafront, at The Cliff Bay Hotel and Santo da Serra, at PortoBay Serra Golf Hotel.

The origins of tea in Madeira

To talk about tea in Madeira is to remind ourselves of the local history and traditions.

Did you know that tea-time became popular in England thanks to the influence of Catherine of Braganza ? This Portuguese princess married England's King Charles II in the 17th century when Macau was Portuguese territory, hence the exchange of products such as aromatic herbs and porcelain.

In Madeira, tea time is also a well-established habit, introduced by Henrique Veitch, an English consul who lived here in the 19th century. One of the oldest tea houses on the island dates back to 1920, and is classified as a regional heritage. It is the main house of the PortoBay Serra Golf hotel. 

Photos: Museu Photographia Vicentes

Afternoon Tea at PortoBay Serra Golf Hotel

The fireplace crackles in the living room and greeting smiles invite you in. The table is impeccably laid out with  fresh flowers, embroidered linen napkins, and vintage English-style porcelain in shades of pink and blue. The armchairs have a soft touch and the windows let in the surrounding nature's green. The whole environment exudes well-being and comfort.

We begin by choosing the type of tea. We opt for the house tea, made with aromatic herbs from the hotel's own garden: lemongrass, fennel and mint.

We also get several homemade cakes, such as "bolo de bolacha” (biscuits cake), and mini sandwiches of cold meats, smoked salmon, cucumber and cottage cheese. Do not miss out on the famous scones, out of the oven !! To spread, we get butter, fresh cream and pumpkin, kiwi and strawberry homemade jams. The quantities are generous and the taste is comforting and delicious. The warmth of the fireplace and the soft background music set the tone for this sweet ritual. One could linger forever.

Hours: 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Cost: € 12.50

Reservations: serragolf@portobay.pt or tel: 351 291 550 500

Afternoon Tea at The Cliff Bay Hotel

Although it's winter time, Madeira's mild climate invites us to an afternoon tea at the Le Cliff Bar & Bistro terrace. The flower garden, the dragon trees shade and the sea waves sound gets us into a relaxing mood. A piano is being played in the next room. On Thursdays, a violinist plays in the garden.

Accept this suggestion and start the afternoon tea with a glass of champagne or Madeira Wine.

The Cliff Bay 's selection of teas is vast and rich in flavours. We opted for the classic Earl Grey (Ceylon black tea naturally flavoured with bergamot oil) and the fresh, fruity flavour of a herbal infusion called "Morning Star" (hibiscus, lemongrass and mint). There is a tasty selection of mini sandwiches: smoked salmon with cucumber, avocado, shrimp, and roast beef with pickles. It is impossible to resist their scones and pastries. The chocolate cake and the cheesecake are a dream come true !!

Time: 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: € 19.50

Reservations: cliffbay@portobay.pt or tel: 351 291 707 700

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