Just got the June 2012 issue of British Country Living, which is the publication I most enjoy relaxing with these days. The writing is first-rate, the pictures superb, the topics lively and surprising, and in recent months they've featured some of the loveliest little cottages and studios I've ever seen. Love-love-love my British Country Living!
And I love it even more when this magazine treats me to something new involving the world of tea, such as the topic of Secret Tearooms!
Now first it must be said that I was so fascinated by the absolutely brilliant papercut artwork accompanying the article that at first I forgot to read the article! The artwork is by Julene Harrison, and you can see more of her work here. Do you love it as much as I do? I'll bet you do!
It's really quite appropriate to have artwork and not photographs accompanying this piece, because the article by Joanna Simmons explains how there is a nationwide movement in which everything from art exhibits to shops and supper clubs is temporarily "popping up" in homes or public buildings. Of course "pop-up tearooms," also delightfully referred to as "underground tearooms," greatly appeal to me. Basically, a woman and perhaps a friend or two stages teas in her home for, say, just two days. The cost to guests is reasonable (similar to what we'd pay for afternoon tea here), guests may leave the money in a teapot, and the host gets to experience having a "tearoom" on a very temporary basis, with no commitment. (The article notes that you do have to register as a caterer with the UK's Food Standards Agency, so it's not as if you can just slap some scones on the table and hang up your shingle.) One woman who uses an alias books her teas strictly via e-mail, and guests don't even know the location until they've booked! Now I'd love to attend such an event, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable charging others to have tea in my home. Friends, especially. But what if it were friends of friends? I might not feel so bad about that. What are your thoughts on underground tearooms? Would you consider going to one? Would you consider hosting one?