Laid Back Afternoon Tea

I recently tried the afternoon tea at Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen near Asheville, NC. It was a real treat! I didn’t know what to expect as far as atmosphere is concerned, since Ivory Road is a little bit off the proverbial beaten path, but upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s sweetly magical flavor. It’s situated in an old house surrounded by tall green trees; the fact that my visit took place on a cloudy day only made it feel more like stepping into a storybook setting.

The afternoon tea (offered Saturday afternoons by reservation only) was phenomenal. Our server, who is also the owner, took our tea order immediately and when it came I was tickled to see the cute teapots she had chosen for our selections (the Wild Earl Grey was in the elephant pot while the Echinacea Elderflower Herbal Tisane was in the pot with the purple flowers).

Shortly after our tea arrived, she brought us our scones, Devonshire cream and other house made spreads, as well as lavender shortbread cookies. The scones were wondrously light and still warm from the oven; the cookies were perfectly textured with a well-balanced flavor (not always easy with floral ingredients).

After that, the finger sandwiches and desserts arrived. The assortment of four sandwiches was fun and creative, and this is where I really appreciated Ivory Road’s willingness to accommodate special dietary needs. As a vegetarian with a mushroom allergy, stuff like this can get a little tricky, but they prepared four sandwiches for me nonetheless and they were extremely tasty. (I think I devoured all four in less than five minutes!)

As for the desserts, they were (to borrow a phrase from Mary Berry) absolutely scrummy!! All four sweets were amazing, and if I had to pick a favorite, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the chocolate truffle cake with rosewater buttercream and crystallized ginger and the spicy chai pannacotta.

It was a truly outstanding dining experience and I’m looking forward to going back for some of their regular fare during the week!

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