My daughter Leslie and her husband, Ben, were here for the holidays from Hawaii. Their visit was particularly meaningful because she is six months pregnant with their first child.
And I couldn't be happier that I'm going to be a grandma for the second time. P. S. It's a girl.
During Leslie's visit, I made reservations at the Camellia Rose Tea Room in Plant City. We were both excited, since it was our first visit there, and the 30-minute drive was worth it.
A glorious gift shop greeted us as we entered the historic downtown building.
We were seated at the Ruby Jean Redman table. Tables are all named after past Strawberry Festival Queens. Ruby's picture from her 1953 reign was close by hung on the wall.
We ordered Camellia's Afternoon Tea. I chose the White Champagne with Raspberry, and Leslie chose the Sweetheart Black Chai, just two of the 70-or-so loose teas brewed at Camellia Rose.
First served was a small ramekin of beef tenderloin topped with a swirl of mashed potatoes. It was wonderful.
The fairyland, three-tier serving tray came next. On the bottom plate, we discovered freshly baked, apple-raisin scones served with southern-style Devon cream; the middle plate featured curry chicken-salad tea sandwiches edged with finely chopped pecans, a dainty phyllo cup filled with a bite of Gruyere cheese and cranberries and a heart-shaped cucumber and cream cheese sandwich. The top dish held a piece of red-velvet cake topped with cream cheese frosting and little mice with chocolate-kiss heads and chocolate-covered cherry bodies, stems for the tails and two slivered almonds for ears.
The food was delicious and the teas satisfying, but the greatest pleasure of Camellia's was the atmosphere. It's a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the moment, especially with your daughter or close friends - and sip slowly.
Camellia Rose Tea Room & Gifts
120 North Collins Street
Plant City, FL