New Queen’s tea in Sintra
inspired by Charles II’s Portuguese wife, who popularised tea in England
Tivoli Palácio de Seteais 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 Portugual 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 and gradually by the end of the 17th century, the aristocracy were copying the ritual of tea drinking from the royal court.
The daily tea service at 5pm highlights aspects of the Portuguese connection to this genteel tradition. The area of Sintra, spread across green mountains about 30 minutes outside Lisbon, is aUnesco World Heritage Site, noted for its concentrated displays of European romantic architecture. The Seteais Palace, built in the 1780s by Dutch consul Daniel Gildemeester, is just one of several ornate, mansions that dot the Sintra landscape, making it the perfect place to reflect on what the lives of Portuguese nobility used to be like.
The Seteais Palace first became a Tivoli hotel in 1955 and has played host to many famous guests from literary greats to 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 verandah or in the restaurant, the new menus include scones, now prepared with raisins soaked in rum, following a traditional English recipe, served along with a variety of sandwiches and traditional Portuguese pastries from Sintra, including queijadas (milk tarts) and custard tarts. New specialties include Sintra reineta apple tartlets, vanilla madeleines and almond financiers.
The menus are served with a wide choice of infusions including Silver Moon green tea, English Breakfast black tea blend, Emperor Sencha Japanese green tea, Royal Darjeeling and red tea from South Africa.
Prices range from Euros 22 for per person for three pieces of pastry and tea to Euros 34 per person for scones with jam and crème fraiche, sandwiches, signature pastries plus Sintra pastries and champagne.
Rooms at the Tivoli Palácio de Seteais start from Euros 250 per night including breakfast.