The Amelia Island Tea House is the most recent addition to the Fernandina Beach food & beverage scene. Owners Myrta Defendini and Deborah Gold once owned the Hoyt House Inn, where they served a traditional English Tea. Myrta and Deborah now own David’s Restaurant and Lounge, and they have recently opened the Amelia Island Tea House, where they are again offering a proper English tea. Working with friend, tea enthusiast, and designer Betty Berkman, Myrta and Deborah set out to recreate what was perfect about the tea experience.
Recently, my curiosity piqued, I strolled into the Amelia Island Tea House to see what new delights were on display. I was not disappointed. It should be noted that I have not had the opportunity to sit for a traditional English Tea and I only started drinking tea as an adult, and only because I had moved to a cold climate and do not enjoy coffee.
On the other hand, I have had thousands of tea sandwiches over the years, but we called them “finger sandwiches.” Served at church, those ecumenical egg salad sandwiches would have been entirely forgettable were it not for their ubiquity. The Amelia Island Tea House, however, gives this and other simple staples a delightful update.
On this afternoon, I was moving quickly and would not be able to stay and enjoy the lovely setting. I had called in my order and was picking it up to enjoy with friends. I decided to try a variety of offerings, which made the signature Triple Tray the perfect option. The Triple Tray presents several indulgent treats, including Curry Egg Salad, Cucumber and Cream Cheese, and Tarragon Chicken Salad tea sandwiches, a Mushroom Tartlet, English Crumpet, Lemon & Blueberry and Oatmeal Raisin cookies, a fresh baked Scone, and a Lemon Tartlet.
All of these offerings were delicious, full of subtle flavors, providing an opportunity to consider how the flavors of the food and the flavors of the tea enhance one another. The Triple Tray is an excellent way to indulge, offering a chance to experience much of what is happening at the Amelia Island Tea House.
The Triple Tray is generous for one person, but since I was going to be sharing, I asked Executive Chef Devin Odom to select a few items and surprise me. He sent along Lobster Salad and Shrimp & Dill Sandwiches. The seafood was cooked perfectly and popped with flavor and fresh herbs. Chef Devin also selected a Petit Croissant, Cinnamon Scone, and a small Olive Loaf.
The nibbles I took to share with friends, the tea I enjoyed while it was still hot. The bergamot flavor in Earl Gray is my favorite. The Rosy Earl Gray Organic is the same classic tea spiked with rose petals and jasmine green tea for a delightful cup that fills the senses without any added sugar. All the trimmings are available to make your tea the way you like it, but this isn’t your typical tea bag; these flavors deserve to be savored.
Come see what is new at 122 South 8th Street, Wednesday through Sunday from 11-4 p.m., and visit their website at www.AmeliaIslandTeaHouse.com.