In Dubai they have a massive ex-pat community which is heavily from the U.K. English customs and mannerisms, along with annoying things like spelling (realise, colour, globalisation, favourite), have saturated the UAE. There was one thing I was excited to experience though--Afternoon Tea. After years of reading Jane Austen and other period pieces, I always fascinated with the ritual of an almost mandatory afternoon cup. It seemed so foreign to me. Coffee has always been my drink of choice. It is the drink of productivity, makes me feel cosmopolitan as it comes from exotic lands, and most importantly after a party in Boston, it was the American drink of choice. If I did drink tea I only drank it one of two ways: cold with a wedge of lemon or hot with carnation milk and a tuna sandwich--the Libyan way.
The Brit's almost holy Afternoon Tea is served at almost every hotel and even a few tea shops have been set up to sell pots of exotic blends of tea and various cookies to satisfy the most sophisticated tea goer. When a few friends of mine came from the States to Dubai for a visit, we met up at the Ritz-Carlton for Afternoon Tea to see what it was all about. Our expectations were exceeded!
We were seated on the terrace overlooking the Persian Gulf and each of us picked out what blend of tea we wanted, there must have been 25-30 to choose from! In what seemed like a blink of an eye, four employees came bearing a pot for each of us and a tea stand bearing all sorts of goodness.
Scones with delicious jam and clotted cream, pound cake, amazingly simple, elegant, and scrupulous sandwiches with smoked salmon and cream cheese and cucumber.Mini tarts and pieces of cake were at the top. Each person had her own stand and it seemed there was no way we would eat through it all. The ''snacks'' were so delicious and the teas delicate and perfectly brewed.