Destination Tea: The Peacock Tea Room

Where:  Georgia Renaissance Festival, Fairburn, GA
Style:  Tudor Gazebo
Tea Selection:  40 loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Saturday-Sunday 10:30-6
Reservations:  Walk-ins welcome
Contact:  Chef Randy,
Cost:  Admission to Georgia Renaissance Festival plus…$17 Trifle, Tea Sandwich Plate, Scones and Tea; $13 Tea Sandwich Plate, Scones and Tea; $8 Scones and Tea;
Destination Tea Tips:  To access the Peacock Tea Room, you will need to purchase admission to the Georgia Renaissance Festival, for which discounts can be found online. Because there are no reservations and this tea room has earned itself a loyal following over the years, we suggest that you arrive just before the fair opens and upon entering, make a beeline for the tea room at the rear of the fairgrounds, to avoid waiting for a table. Menus change to suit the fair’s weekly themes and Chef Randy posts a preview of the upcoming weekend’s specials on The Peacock Tea Room’s Facebook page. At the Peacock, you will order your afternoon tea courses à la carte, and may want to request Chef Randy’s “secret menu” to sample his favorite tea sandwiches and latest drink concoctions.

Destination Tea Notes:  Year-round, Host Randy Sheppard keeps in touch with his more than 2,000 tea room regulars via Facebook, where many a “can’t wait!” appears in the comments, because The Peacock Tea Room is a seasonal tearoom, open only for eight weeks during the springtime Georgia Renaissance Festival. Chef Randy takes pride in the changes he has made to the tearoom’s open-air layout and beautification. (Renaissance Festival shops and restaurants are owned and renovated by individual business owners). A man of many talents, he is the artist behind the tearoom’s signage, as well as the made-from-scratch menu, because he says, “if I didn’t make it, I can’t take a compliment for it.” Well, he has our compliments, both for being a most gracious and friendly host who frequently tours his picturesque tearoom to chat with his guests, and for the creativity he infuses into the Peacock’s food and tea offerings.

Preparing ourselves for merriment
Arrive 15 minutes before the festival opens to see the opening act
The queen officially welcomes us and opens the fair
Guests and festival actors alike dress in costume. Here the kissing bandit issues his challenge.
The Peacock Tea Room sits at the rear of the festival grounds.
The colorful gazebo treats diners to a shady respite amid the sounds of the festival
Our tea table for two

Tea Selection

Loose leaf blended teas range from the standards to very fun flavors, like Irish Whiskey Cream and Apple Cinnamon Coffeecake.
I loved my teacup! See our loose leaf teas steeping. We enjoyed our selections.
Wisely, Chef Randy encouraged us to sample this new addition to the “secret menu”: the Thai iced tea, which was refreshing to sip as we strolled through the festival.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Using a family recipe, Chef Randy makes a generous and just-right scone. The weekly flavors were snickerdoodle scone and sweet scone (very good) with raspberry jam and Devonshire cream. We chose to order several items and share. The scone plate was definitely enough for two.
For kids weekend, the tea sandwich plate featured Smoked Honey Ham and “New World Cheese” (American) on pumpernickel and Strawberry Banshee (spicy) Jam and Creamy Peanut Butter on wheat. The homemade jam with ghost peppers was balanced by the smooth, sweet peanut butter. We appreciated the included arugula salad as a healthy addition.
While we would have liked a home-baked crust in place of the slightly tough empanada shell, the Baked Tomato and Balsamic Tart featuring Chef Randy’s heirloom tomato jam and similarly constructed Sausage, Apple and Cheddar Pie were tasty flavor combinations with just a touch of sweetness.
The orange dreamsicle trifle was very yummy and plenty for two to share.

Afternoon Tea across the Southeast United States

Happy first birthday to us! We are on a roll and feeling grateful for this first year of work on Destination Tea. It’s been a year full of great conversations with creative, caring people in the world of afternoon tea, gracious folks who spare a couple minutes of their time to inform our afternoon tea directories and tea guides. It’s been a year of research, destination teas, delicious new experiences, photo editing and descriptive writing — to share it all with you.

To thank you for being a part of Destination Tea from our beginning, we present to you…

  1. Afternoon Tea Directories for the U.S. Southeast from Louisiana to West Virginia, including browsable maps and sortable listings with prices, teatimes and reservation details,
  2. Our new “Choose Your Tea” guide to what you might find on a tea menu, to help you find a tea you love,
  3. Our Mother’s Day video, “Moms Deserve Afternoon Tea” with 5 Signs You Are A Mom Who Needs Afternoon Tea. Hope it gives you a laugh!
Destination Tea logo submissions from our eldest daughter, copyright 2015, Sofia Maryann Renals

Destination Tea: Four Seasons Atlanta, Park 75

Where:  Midtown, Atlanta, GA
Style:  Elegant Traditional
Tea Selection:  11 loose leaf teas and tisanes by Rishi
Teatimes:  Saturday 12-3:30, **for parties of 10 or more**
Reservations:  24-hour notice
Contact:  404-253-3840
Cost:  $60 Celebration Tea; $50 Afternoon Tea; $15 Children’s Tea
Destination Tea Tips:  Bring cash to tip the valet and be sure to ask your server to validate your ticket.

**Photography Note: If these pictures seem more fabulous than usual, it’s because they are, thanks to the artistic talents of my good friend and amazing photographer Michael Bradley.**

Destination Tea Notes:  While the Four Seasons Atlanta is chic and lovely inside, it does not rest on its ambiance laurels, but rather follows through with on-point baking, creative twists on the traditional, and knowledgeable service. By the end of our visit, Michael had dubbed our server a “teatender,” a title she fully earned by presenting the table with a grand finale tasting of her personal wellness blend, which had the instant effect of making us breathe clearer. The Four Seasons’ pastry chefs change the menu seasonally and were graciously accommodating of food allergies in our group.

The foyer’s grand staircase leads you to Park 75 restaurant, where tea is served.
Our table sat in a quiet, enclosed room opposite the restaurant bar.

Tea Service

Each guest chooses one tea and may choose another later in the meal.
Tea is served in individual French presses. My peach blossom white tea was so fragrant, I was savoring its taste before my first sip!

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

The afternoon tea tray offerings are plentiful and pretty.
It may be in poor taste to ask to take home unfinished spreads, but I just couldn’t stand to see these gourmet delicacies go to waste: housemade lemon custard, chantilly cream and peach chutney. SO good!
Southern shortcake scones were the right amount of soft and moist without being cakey.
Tea sandwiches included cucumber with watercress, curry chicken salad (a favorite), ham with honey mustard (very good) and egg salad with truffle mayonnaise.
Desserts included fruit tart, banana chocolate truffle,espresso macaron, raspberry butter cookie, raspberry tea cake and chocolate-dipped strawberry. Decadent!