Afternoon Tea at The Parlour in Durham

Posted by asad1775 on December 29, 2017 at 9:40 AM

If you’re looking for the best afternoon tea experience in North Carolina, you have to be willing to consider all the options and not just the usual suspects. So what about an afternoon holiday tea across the street from one of Durham’s renowned downtown landmarks? Yes,The Parlour is first and foremost an ice cream shop, but for the holidays, this Durham favorite is also featuring a special afternoon tea experience.

Afternoon tea at The Parlour is somewhat of an insider’s experience – even if you stop by there regularly for their delicious ice cream offerings, you might not realize that they have an extra room where the tea is held, separate from the ice cream part of the shop. While The Parlour might lack some of the festive holiday ambiance that you would expect from a quaint inn or landmark hotel, it certainly made up for it with the feeling that you were getting a very unique experience.

For the winter holidays, The Parlour created a special holiday menu to complement their selection of teas. The menu includes three main options: (1) Traditional Cornish scones with clotted cream and seasonal jam (2) Mini “pigs in blankets”, brussel sprouts and greens gratin pie, and “boxing day leftovers” open-faced sandwich and (3) Cranberry victoria sponge, plum pudding and iced ginger biscuits.

As you might expect, we had to sample all of these, and all were quite exceptional. However, they only had three teas to choose from, so both of us chose the Marzipan Sugarplum Tea from Art of Tea. This tea made a wonderful pairing with the plum pudding and iced ginger biscuits.

Heading into this tea experience, we knew to expect something different. And, indeed, there were a few unique touches at The Parlour. First of all, this was a vegetarian tea, which I was not expecting, but my friend and I really enjoyed it. My favorite part was the Fancy Hat discount! Another unusual part of the tea (besides it being at an ice cream shop) is they left the crust on the bread. And, finally, if you are expecting a white tablecloth type of experience, you need to adjust your expectations. Yes, the tea was served in a wonderful china cup and plate, but you’ll be dining at a wood table with regular ice cream shop chairs – so be forewarned!

Of course, no story about an ice cream shop would be complete without the ice ceam, right? We’ve heard our friends rave about some of The Parlour’s unique creations – such as their one-of-a-kind Sweet Potato flavor (locally grown sweet potatoes wih dark brown sugar and cinammon), or holiday classics like Peppermint White Chocolate Chip. We decided to bring home a pint of their Candied Orange Peel ice cream, which is some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted.

Overall, I enjoyed this afternoon tea, but still prefer traditional afternoon tea. That’s especially true during the holiday season, when it’s fun to splurge on a classic afternoon tea experience. However, The Parlour certainly is worth the visit to Durham if you’re looking for a charming tea experience and a great opportunity to take home some of North Carolina’s best ice cream.

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