Monday, February 18, 2008

Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons - Gluten Free Style!

Just over two years ago when I was told I'd have to follow a gluten free diet forever, one of the first things I knew I'd greatly miss, was Afternoon Tea service at the Four Seasons in Atlanta. It wasn't so much about the food, which was perfectly delightful, but it was more about the pomp and circumstance of it all. You see, having Afternoon Tea is a rather regal thing to do - and you don't have to be wealthy to enjoy this special treat. After considering the traditional tea menu, I sadly realized that most every bite offered was now off limits to me forever. I could still have the tea of course, though some teas contain barley. So you even have to check the gluten content of tea.

While researching my visit to London in 2006, I found out almost every single place there that served Afternoon Tea, offered a gluten free menu with advance notice. In my previous post about the trip I noted how fabulous the sandwiches in London were, and that my husband was sure they could not be gluten free and tasty at the same time. They in fact turned out to be both! When I returned home I set out to find someone here to offer me a gluten free version of Afternoon Tea. Surely this would be possible considering London is not exactly the culinary capitol of the world. If they could do it, surely we could do it better here.

The Executive Chef at the Four Seasons (mentioned in my Cooking Spree post) offered to make me gluten free food for the Afternoon Tea service served there. I tried it and found it surprisingly good so we recently took our Gluten Free Dinner Club there for an event. The event itself was lovely and most of the food was very good. The salmon crepe cakes were heavenly as were the chocolate covered strawberries and the lemon curd and Devonshire cream. The cheesecake was divine and I don't even like cheesecake particularly. The bread served for the tea sandwiches was from Whole Foods and I didn't find it very appetizing. I feel sure the Chef will come up with some awesome gluten free bread for us eventually. Since his gluten free Southern cornbread is amazing, I know he can make a decent gluten free bread if he chooses to.

Here are some photos I took of a couple of our members (father and daughter)
and a close up of our dessert plate. The cheesecake had a nut crust that was about the best cheesecake crust I've ever had...oh and best cheesecake too!

You too may enjoy this special treat with a two day notice at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. You might even want to request a small cup of gluten free lobster chili with corn muffins to start. That's what several of our members did for our event. Knowing I'd be full from the tea treats, I ordered my chili to go, and savored it over the next two days!

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