Flagler Museum Tea Select v4 Website

The Café is open November 29, 2019 - April 12, 2020

Tuesday - Saturday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Sunday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

$20 for Members, Sustaining level and higher and Whitehall Society Members
$22 for Members

$40 for non-members
Prix-fixe menu
Includes Museum admission and tax
Advance purchase recommended

Call (561) 655-2833 to purchase tickets, or click the link below. Click here for group information. The Café is not open to school tours.

Each afternoon, the Flagler Museum offers a Gilded Age-style tea service that features an array of delicacies and refreshments reminiscent of the elegance of entertaining at the turn of the 20th century.

The prix-fixe menu includes a selection of gourmet tea sandwiches, traditional scones and sweets complemented by the Flagler Museum’s own Whitehall Special Blend™ tea, and served on exquisite Whitehall Collection™ china. Lemonade is also served.

The Café des Beaux-Arts is located in the Flagler Kenan Pavilion, which was built adjacent to Whitehall in 2005 but evokes the ambiance of a 19th century Beaux-Arts railway palace. Guests will enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Lake Worth and the West Palm Beach skyline as well as Henry Flagler’s private Railcar No. 91.

Patrons who do not purchase tickets in advance will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note: the Café des Beaux-Arts serves a prix-fixe menu, meaning no changes or substitutions are possible. Cancellations require 24-hour notice. 

Flagler Museum Cafe table top

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TEA

Gilded Age Americans saw themselves as the most highly evolved western culture in history. Because of this mindset, they felt free to borrow traditions and rituals from previous great western civilizations including ancient Rome and Greece, Italy, and the nation's former ruling power, Britain. One of the most cherished and ritualistic traditions observed by Americans during the Gilded Age came from Britain – the practice of afternoon tea.

While the drinking of tea dates back to ancient China, the practice of taking a formal afternoon tea dates back to the early nineteenth century. In 1840s England, Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, began inviting friends for tea and cakes in the late afternoon. As dinner was not customarily served until 8:00 p.m., the interim light meal provided a respite from the "sinking feeling" many upper-class women felt during the long wait between lunch and dinner. The tradition of the tea gradually developed, reaching its height of popularity during the Gilded Age.

The fashion of serving afternoon tea evolved into a complex ritual of formality and etiquette. The event could be a simple "Low Tea" of scones, sandwiches ("savories"), sweets and desserts – commonly known as "Full Tea" – or the affair could be very elaborate with meats, cheeses, butter, bread, sandwiches, scones, and desserts known as "High Tea." The equipage of tea also evolved to suit the formality of the event. Kettle drums, mote spoons, tea strainers, bone china cups and cozies all added to the enchantment of the ritual.

The etiquette of the afternoon tea was part of the refined American's indoctrination into Society. Edith Wharton frequently mentioned the practice of having tea in her many literary works set during America's Gilded Age. Both the 1884 book, Manners and Social Usages, and the 1898 book, The Well-Bred Girl in Society instructed young women in the art of serving a fine tea. Everything from baking the proper pastries, to setting the service, to boiling the water ("just enough so the oxygen does not leave the water") was covered in these primers.

Tea was always served loose, necessitating the use of mote spoons and tea strainers. However, when in 1908 New York vendor Thomas Sullivan sent samples of his tea to customers in silk bags, the tea bag was "invented". The commercial production of tea bags in gauze began in the 1920s, and by 1935 the familiar string-and-bag format with the logo of the tea maker was an American staple. American renditions of the popular drink were also invented during the Gilded Age, including the first iced tea which was served in 1904 on a hot summer day at the World's Fair in St. Louis.

FlaglerMuseum Macaroons website

 

Mothers Day website

Join us for a Mother's Day Tea Service!

The Cafe des Beaux-Arts reopens on May 10, 2020, to celebrate Mother's Day, a National Holiday established during the Gilded Age in the United States.

 

valentines day tea website

Join us on Valentine's Day for Tea in the Cocoanut Grove!