Destination Tea: French Market Cafe & Gourmet Shop

Where: Cornelius, North Carolina
Style:  French country home
Tea Selection:  50 loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Tuesday to Saturday, 10 to 3
Reservations: 24-hour notice for Afternoon Tea, High Tea and Royal Tea; Walk-ins welcome for Cream Tea or Luncheon Tea
Contact: 704-641-2201
Cost:  $45 Grand High Tea Royale; $39 Traditional High Tea; $32 Afternoon Tea;  $22 Luncheon Tea; $14 Cream Tea
Destination Tea Tip: Before calling to make your reservation, visit the cafe’s online menu to peruse your tea sandwich choices, as you will pre-order these when you reserve your teatime. Note there is also a full lunch menu available as well, and the cafe has outdoor seating out front, some of which is covered.

Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our North Carolina afternoon tea directory for the latest details.

exterior of High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop

Destination Tea Notes:  What, you ask, most impresses us about royal tea at the French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop? As they say, it’s all in the details. Repeatedly, owners Kathy and Bob Montbleau surprise us with thoughtful touches that add up to a very satisfying afternoon tea experience. Like the moment you bite into the strawberry garnishing your champagne flute, to discover it’s been marinating in champagne itself. Another rare but welcome provision: each place setting has a small dish at the ready, to collect tea infusers we remove from our teapots once our teas are steeped to our liking. If you usually push your croutons to the side, do not make that mistake here, where these tasty homemade wonders are seasoned to perfection, taking the creamy tomato basil soup to another level of scrumptiousness. Part of the fun of returning here throughout the year will be walking into a refreshed tearoom, set with holiday themed decorations and table settings, echoed in seasonal menu items and teas. We like the small note on our table that kindly requests we enjoy our 90-minute reserved seating time. This can be a touchy thing to communicate, as afternoon tea is a leisurely affair, but it’s done graciously here, and we find the allotted time ample to enjoy our 5-course meal. Our server is friendly and attentive, while Kathy herself makes the rounds in the dining room to see that her guests are pleased with their meals. We are!

dining room at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
There are also several booths at right, not pictured here.
dining room at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Love is in the air for February

Tea Selection

Valentine's teas at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Detailed descriptions for every tea, from a variety of premium tea purveyors. In addition to 50 teas offered, these seasonal brews match the month’s theme.
champagne at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Champagne for the adults and sparkling strawberry cider for the kids
straining tea at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
White ceramic teapots have ceramic inset infusers you remove when tea is done steeping. We use the provided decorative strainer to catch any tea leaves that escaped into the pot as we taste our delicious teas (one pot per person, including resteep): Southern Pecan, Cranberry Autumn, White Rose, French Vanilla and Celtic Green.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

tomato basil soup at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
We begin with tomato basil soup with homemade, perfectly seasoned croutons
blueberry and cinnamon scones at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Guests choose their scone flavor from the day’s selection, today it’s blueberry or cinnamon.
blueberry scone at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Several around our table laud these scones as the best they’ve ever tasted, happy to use forks to scoop up every morsel (ahem, contrary to afternoon tea etiquette) when the super soft scones crumble to pieces in our plates.
breaking the scone at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Our young reviewer demonstrating the proper way to break open your scone
clotted cream at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Another thoughtful offering: four spreads for our scones, including preserves, butter, lemon curd and clotted cream.
hors d'oeuvres at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
A nod to a true high tea (hearty supper of meat, cheese and veg), this “Grand High Tea Royale” includes an hors d’oeuvres course, of which our favorite is the delectable quiche.
tea sandwiches at at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
For our sandwiches, we chose Turkey & Apple with Brie on Croissant and Pimiento Cheese with Raspberry Jalapeno Jam.
desserts at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Desserts include a selection of chocolates from the chocolatier Kathy has worked with for decades, as well as petits fours, pecan logs, mini pots de creme with raspberry, lemon triangles (so good!) and Danish wedding cookies.
afternoon tea at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Love is in the air, and in our bellies!
pretty teacup at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
A touching display of pretty china in memory of a loved one
creamer and sugar bowl at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
Part of the fun is spying pretty pieces in the hutches lining the tearoom, like this ivory sugar bowl and creamer.
confections at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop
teas for sale at High Tea at French Market Cafe and Gourmet Shop

Guests can take home confections, teas, scones and more, sold in the market at front of the store.

DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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