Monday, April 18, 2016

Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room - Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Yesterday, we celebrated our daughters' birthdays at the Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

My husband and I had afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room over 10 years ago, before I was diagnosed with celiac, and before we moved to Orlando.  I remember enjoying it, so I was excited to take our twins there for their birthday.

Advance dining reservations can be very hard to come by, so if you can, make reservations 180 days in advance, like we did.  I was a little surprised that the Garden View Tea Room had so many empty tables yesterday, so maybe they take walk-ins.

Shortly after being greeted by our server Kit, a chef came to our table to discuss gluten free options with me.  I knew going in that I was probably not going to like the tea sandwiches, because I have had afternoon tea in England several times, and have never enjoyed traditional British tea sandwiches.  I told the chef that I do not like mayonnaise, though I do eat egg salad and tuna salad at home with a little bit of mayo.  She also discovered that I am not a fan of coconut, goat cheese, American cheese, cream cheese (unless it is in a dessert) and vegan buttery spread as we discussed possible sandwich options for me.  I am sure my family was rolling their eyes as they listened to my conversation with the chef...sigh.  I really do hate to be a pain in the butt.

Thankfully, the tea choices were easy for us, because we do not drink caffeine, so our server Kit suggested we try a variety of different herbal infusions, because we would each receive one large pot of tea, that could easily be shared.

I ordered the Golden Caramel Rooibos, which I really enjoyed, and also tried the Superfruity, which I liked as well.  My daughters did not seem too thrilled with any of them, but my husband thought the Budding Meadow Camomile and the Thoroughly Minted were very good.

There were sugar cubes on the table, but I chose to add a little honey to my tea.

We ordered The Bedfordshire Tea, which includes three courses, and your choice of tea.  My first course was a plate of finger sandwiches on gluten free bread, accompanied with berries and cheese.  I enjoyed the grapes and berries, and my cheddar cheese was very tasty, but the sage cheese was just ok.  I decided to try one egg salad sandwich, even though I never eat anything with mayonnaise at restaurants, because they usually use way more mayo than I can deal with.  I managed to eat a few bites, but I did not enjoy the chives in it.  I asked for two ham sandwiches, one with Swiss, and one with cheddar.  I was a little surprised that they were buttered, though I should have anticipated that based on past tea experiences.  The ham and cheese were good, but I would have enjoyed the sandwiches way more without butter.  My favorite finger sandwich was the open-faced beet with butter.  The beets were marinated, so they had a delicious vinegary taste, and I did not mind the butter on this sandwich.  The gluten free bread they used had a very nice taste and texture, and I don't think anyone would know it is gluten free.

While my gluten-eating family was enjoying their second course of scones and a jam tart, I was given a plate of Erin McKenna's quick bread with butter, clotted cream, and apricot jam.  I am usually a huge fan of the toasties and quick breads from Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC - Disney Springs, but I thought the quick bread I was given was a little dry, probably because it was not very fresh, like it is when I buy slices at Disney Springs.  It tasted like banana nut, which surprised me, because I did not think they baked with nuts.

The Garden View Tea Room has gluten free macaroons and chocolate mousse cups, or strawberries and creme for dessert.  Because I do not like coconut, I asked if I could have a smaller portion of the strawberries and creme, and a couple of the chocolate mousse cups.

The strawberries and creme was incredible, because of all that wonderful whipped cream, which was thick and lightly sweetened.  The chocolate mousse cups were delicious as well, but if I had to pick between the two, I would take the strawberries and creme.

My husband loved afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room, but our daughters and I did not like the food enough to go back any time soon, though we did enjoy the experience and the service.  I had hoped that they would have gluten free scones, like they do at the afternoon tea at Crescent Solarium at Disney's Beach Club Resort.  Michelle from Gluten Free For Life is a huge fan of afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room, and you can read her guest review on my blog here.

You can read more about Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Team Room, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at the Garden View Tea Room?


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