When it comes to the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area, the St. Paul Hotel is one place to get a great afternoon tea. I’ve been several times over the past few years to celebrate the holidays or a family event, and it’s always been a lovely experience.

You can go for a traditional afternoon tea, or you may have the opportunity to choose one of their special themed teas. The last afternoon tea I had at the St. Paul was a chocolate-themed tea, with chocolate for every one of the five courses! Count ’em, five courses. For a chocoholic like myself it was heaven, though even I had enough of chocolate to last me at least a few days after that.

With five courses, it wasn’t exactly the traditional afternoon menu – sandwiches, scones, pastries – but there were a number of highlights I would love to try and recreate.

Before I talk food, just want to mention that the St. Paul sets a lovely table; they use a variety of fine china teacups so everyone gets something a little different. I’ve always liked that approach. With fresh flowers and silver tableware, the table is complete.

There were several of the chocolate courses that were absolutely delicious, though I’ll just kick off with my favorite – a “Cocoa and Moroccan-spiced Scone” with chocolate butter. Am kicking myself that I didn’t at least ask for the recipe (I mean, one can ask, right?). There was something in that spice combination, and the lovely fluffy, crumby texture of the scone (and the chocolate butter didn’t hurt, of course!), that for me was the highlight of the whole tea.

Other dishes that were highlights included, a chocolate espresso shooter with candied orange rim, chocolate stout braised beef short rib (that was a nice break from some of the more pure chocolate courses), the chocolate macaron and the cocoa sorbet in a chocolate cup with fresh berries.

The ambience and service were also top-notch. Very friendly, helpful servers – well, it is the Midwest US, after all! And the lovely lobby; I always like checking out the artwork and any object d’art or massive bouquets (and marble bathrooms and bar areas, stairways, etc.) one frequently finds in the nicer hotels.

So think about the afternoon tea at the St. Paul Hotel if you’re in the area for your next family gathering. It’s a great way to catch up with sisters, mothers and nieces, and you might even get your brothers and nephews to join!

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