Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Simply Wonderful: Simply Gourmet AfternoonTea at the Crosley Estate in Sarasota

Visiting with Chef Larry of Simply Gourmet at the Crosley Estate in Sarasota
Less than a fortnight ago, my husband I headed south to visit his parents in Florida. In advance of our trip, my in-laws asked us what we would be interested in doing during our stay.  Chris had no agenda other than chilling out by the pool, but, of course, my automatic reflex response is always "tea room".  Lucky for me, my mother-in-law found a real gem of a tea event during our stay in nearby Sarasota - a Royal Afternoon Tea at the Crosley Estate put on by Simply Gourmet.

The Crosley Estate, built in 1929, is a bay-front Mediterranean Revival-style mansion which is beautiful venue for any event (they host weddings, showers, banquets and the like). But my good fortune, afternoon teas were being held there during the month of March by Simply Gourmet, owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Larry and Jamie Barrett.

Traditional egg salad and cucumber sandwiches were served with  turkey/sun-dried tomato pinwheels
Chef Larry met with us before the tea for an interview for The Detroit Tea Examiner (Crosley Estate's Royal Tea: Simply Wonderful from Simply Gourmet) and, then again, joined us at our table afterwards. A charming and engaging personality, Chef Larry provided the history and details of his journey from performing arts to catering, although within minutes of meeting him, one will know these occupations are not exclusive. Artistry and presentation are as important to Simply Gourmet's afternoon tea fare as are the undeniably deliciousness of every sandwich and scone.

Bay view window view

The bay views were a beautiful backdrop to the tea time treats of savories and sweets. Traditional egg salad and cucumber sandwiches were served alongside turkey and sun-dried tomato pinwheels. Current scones were served with heavenly Devonshire cream. But, the grande finale of desserts was spectacular. Cassis-soaked strawberry parfaits and double-chocolate brownies were among my favorites.

Scrumptious desserts included strawberry parfaits and double chocolate brownies
We sat with a wonderful group of ladies from the Sarasota area and enjoyed chatting with them at lovely table, set with vintage china and fresh flowers, overlooking an equally spectacular view from a bayside window.
We sat with a delightful group of woman from Sarasota
It was a simply wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Florida. Even though the outside temperatures were unseasonably cool - and not quite the contrast from Detroit we were hoping for - the tea warmed us inside and out and the Royal Tea from Simply Gourmet brightened a mostly cloudy visit to the Sunshine State.

Lovely tablescape with vintage china and fresh flowers


parTea lady said...

That looks like a wonderful afternoon tea and in such a pretty place. Thanks for sharing.

Gareth said...

Looks like a fantastic place, the cakes look amazing!