Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Hotel in Sintra, Portugal has relaunched its Queen’s Tea with three new menus designed by the hotel's pastry chef, Cíntia Koerper, who graduated in gastronomy from the Alain Ducasse Formation in Paris. The daily ritual is inspired by the little known fact that it was Catherine of Bragança, daughter of the King of Portugal, who inspired tea’s popularity in England when she married King Charles II in 1662.
Due to Portugal’s lucrative trading with China, it is said that Catherine brought loose leaf tea to England as part of her dowry. At the time, tea was being consumed in the UK only as medicine, but the young Queen made it popular as a social beverage. Gradually, by the end of the 17th century, the public began adopting the aristocracy's ritual of drinking tea at the royal court. Tivoli Palácio de Seteais' daily tea service at 5pm highlights the Portuguese connection to this genteel tradition.
The area of Sintra is a Unesco World Heritage Site spread across lush green mountains 30 minutes outside Lisbon. Noted for its concentrated displays of European romantic architecture, the Seteais Palace, now home to the magnificent Tivoli Palácio de Seteais hotel, was built in the 1780's by Dutch consul Daniel Gildemeester. It is just one of several ornate mansions that dot the Sintra landscape, and the perfect place to recline and reflect over a cup of tea just like Portuguese nobility.
Since its transition to a Tivoli hotel in 1955, the palace has welcomed countless modern celebrities, from literary greats to world-renowned rock stars, including Agatha Christie, Brad Pitt, Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Kylie Minogue and Mick Jagger.
Available to outside guests and served on the veranda or inside the restaurant, the new Queen's Tea menus include traditional English scones made with raisins soaked in rum, a variety of sandwiches, and traditional Portuguese pastries from Sintra, including queijadas (milk tarts) and pastel de nata custard tarts. New specialties include Sintra reineta apple tartlets, vanilla madeleines and almond financiers.
The menus are served with a wide choice of tea infusions including Silver Moon green tea, English Breakfast black tea blend, Emperor Sencha Japanese green tea, Royal Darjeeling, and Roobois tea from South Africa.
Prices range from $32 USD per person for three pastries and tea, to $39 USD per person for tea service with scones, jam & crème fraiche, sandwiches, Sintra pastries, and champagne.
Rooms at the Tivoli Palácio de Seteais start from $263 USD per night including breakfast.