11/20/2012 09:59:00 AM

Holiday Tea: Afternoon Celebrations Both Sweet and Savory

Tea treats at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston
Nothing like taking the afternoon for a nice high tea to celebrate the holidays. We have a few places where you can indulge.

L’Espalier: This elegant French in the Back Bay offers a Fantasy Tea on Saturdays and Sundays (1:30-3 PM; $50 per person), a high tea with savory and sweet treats. Upcoming special tea tastings include: December 2 - learn what it takes to create your own tea blend with tea sommelier Cynthia Gold. You’ll leave with one quarter-pound of tea, enough for 50 cups to make at home. On December 9, bring the kids to the Princess Tea (princes welcome too), where the little ones will get treated to treats as well as tiaras and crowns ($50 for adults, $35 for children under 12). December 22 and 23, indulge in the Holiday Tea, where you'll enjoy a blend of Tea Nog, plus holiday treats ($50 per person; 617-262-3023).

Mandarin Oriental Boston: This Back Bay luxury hotel has launched a pop-up parlor as part of its holiday festivities. A Holiday Treat Trolley carrying tea sandwiches, sweets, a gingerbread-man cookie kit for kids and other seasonal treats like hot cocoa, warm apple cider and hot toddies will be available daily through the end of the year in the lobby lounge, where guests can relax by the fireplace. Items are à la carte, or if you want a full cream tea, it’s all yours for $40 (2-6 PM; 617-603-2986).

Rowes Wharf Sea Grille: Beginning on Friday, November 30, guests can gather at this seafooder in the Boston Harbor Hotel on the Waterfront for a Holiday Frost-Tea, an afternoon tea with holiday goodies, seasonal tea sandwiches, scones, pastries and tea, or a "tea-tail," a festive spiked tea beverage, or sparkling wine. Children receive hot cocoa and the goods to decorate their own sugar cookies (2:30-4 PM daily through December 31; $49 per adult, $25 per child; 617-856-7744).

Upstairs on the Square: For December only, this swanky American in Harvard Square pulls out the stops on a holiday tea, offering an array of artisanal savories, tea sandwiches, Christmas cookies and other holiday treats on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with a special children’s tea on Sundays. And on the last three Sundays in December, there’ll be a special children’s Zebra Tea, with a zebra theme and the restaurant’s famous Valrhona hot chocolate with housemade marshmallows. It’s worth being a kid, again (2-4 PM; adults, $30, children, $16; 617-864-1933).

Note to fans of the Four Seasons Boston: the annual Christmas Teddy Bear Tea held in the Bristol Lounge is already sold out. "September 1st, 9 AM," is when they start taking reservations, says the receptionist. Mark your calendars for next year. The Teddy Bear Tea, which is held December 1-23 each year, is a festive afternoon tea that collects teddy bears for kids less fortunate while giving you and your party a memorable afternoon (617-351-2053).

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