Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tea at the Biltmore Inn

I'm finally back!   I wanted to update yesterday, but I signed up to bake cookies for a bake sale at work so I ended up cooking for hours and didn't have time...but here is a new entry (finally).

Last week I took a long weekend trip to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina.  I've been talking about going to the Biltmore ever since the first time I saw a spread about it in a magazine a couple of years ago.  The beautiful mansion is from the turn of the last century, and is a wonderful example of gilded age architecture. 

I'm going to start my posts about my trip not with the Biltmore itself, but with an afternoon tea at the Inn at Biltmore, located on the mansion grounds (and boy, are there a lot of grounds!).  The Inn overlooks Antler Village, a group of shops, restaurants, and a museum with Vanderbilt memorabilia.

The hotel had gorgeous views of the mountains, including the roof of the Biltmore itself in the distance:


Tea at the Inn was served in a room called the Library as we relaxed to live piano music.

(the hotel was already decorated for Christmas, which made tea even better!)
The Library had huge windows with mountain views.
But, beyond the gorgeous and restful surroundings, the afternoon tea itself was wonderful.
The gold was a little worn on my plate (probably from too many washings) but you could buy these same dishes in the gift shop, which had the Vanderbilt "V."

As we sat down, a tea chest was placed on the table with sniffer jars of tea (Mighty Leaf, in case you were wondering):

I choose Leaves of Provence, which was delicious, my mom choose the Assam Gold (a strong black breakfast tea), and my father choose the Brazilian Fruit (also very good).  Katie, my sister, got the White Lotus.
We each got our own pot, which was full of the loose leaf tea, and each place setting came with its own strainer.  They were also very quick to pour in additional hot water when the tea got too strong.
Anyone want an upgrade to the Royal tea--perhaps a peach bellini?
Here is a better look at the menu itself:
We were first served a small bite of orange and date to tantalize our taste buds.
Next came the savories, one of the largest collections of tea sandwiches  I've been served:
Starting at the top and going clockwise:  apple with goat cheese; ham and cheddar with "lusty monk" mustard on cranberry walnut bread (my favorite); cucumber with lemon hummus;  waldorf chicken salad (with grapes); sweet potato and marshmallow with roasted pineapple (also delicious); slightly spicy shrimp salad with dill gerkins; and berry-lavender, blue cheese, and walnut spread (my least favorite). 
The savories were followed by a plate of cheeses,
(smoked gouda, brie, and sheep's milk cheese, served with a pepper honey--all were terrific and the honey was a perfect accompaniment)
followed by the tiered tray:

As you can see, there was a ton of food!  Starting with the bottom, we had sweet potato white chocolate scones (they were good, although a bit more cake-like and a flavor combo I had never tried before):
We also had pumpkin bread with walnuts and apricots:
The scones and bread were served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and strawberry preserves all made on the Biltmore estate.
We have worked our way to the top tray and the end of the tea feast--the desserts!
As you can see, there were four desserts served:
Starting at the top and going clockwise, a layered salted caramel cake with apple fillings, an orange macaroon with milk chocolate filing, a dark chocolate truffle with ginger, and a pecan tartlet with chocolate ganache.  All were wonderful--I don't even know what my favorite was!
Here are a couple of additional pictures of the hotel all decked out for Christmas:


Thanks for joining me for tea this week, even though I am posting a bit later than usual!  I am joining these tea parties this week:
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea 
And here is a teaser for the rest of this week's posts, as we travel to the Biltmore itself.
(Postcard of the Biltmore in Fall)


  1. Your photos are really lovely. I love the fall colors and their decor is magnificent!

  2. What a wonderful place! I have always wanted to visit. Your photos are marvelous! As for the food, I tend to start eating before I remember to photograph, so you had your wits about you...to our benefit! Wonderful post from a beautiful experience! Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  3. OMGoodness Carrie. Your post is beautiful. I want to hop in the car and have tea in Asheville (a day's drive). The menu is over-the-top as is the scenic view and elegant room. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to the other Biltmore posts.

  4. What a lovely trip! I am used to fine dining portions, but I still find the lilliputian salad humorous before the tiers and tiers of chocolaty sweets. When they do tea trays, they really do tea trays!

  5. Oh my, what a gorgeous place! The library is spectacular and decorated so beautifully for Christmas. Your tea sounds simply splendid and you had a wonderful array of tea and treats to choose from. It would have a been a lovely tea experience, I'm certain. I really enjoyed your post and thank you for sharing it with us and joining me for tea. Have a lovely day.


  6. Love this! Went there for first and only time and stayed at The Inn for a couple of glorious days in June 2013. I would LOVE to go back during this time.

    What a lovely tea you experienced - so happy for you. Thanks for sharing!

  7. OMG ..Such beautiful Autumn pictures complete with a fabulous teatime... What a grand experience... Thanks for including your teatime friends on the trip ... Hugs

  8. In all the years of visiting my grandparents just up the road from the Biltmore (in the tiny town of Mars Hill) I never managed to get there for tea or touring. I have been in Asheville many times of course. How lucky you were to experience this.

  9. OOOH I absolutely HAVE to do this someday! LOVELY! I was there when I was in high school. My aunt and uncle live about an hour away. I think it's time for another visit.


Thank you so much for your comment! I hope you have a wonderful day :)