Monday, May 5, 2008

Aunt Laura's Sweet Shoppe & Tea Room

Finally! I'd been wanting to visit Aunt Laura's Sweet Shoppe and Tea Room in Fayetteville ever since it opened more than a year ago, and when my dear tea friend Beth got a new job, it seemed the perfect place to celebrate. On Friday, we headed out crisply at 10:45 to make our 11:30 seating for the lunchtime "Tea for Two."

Although I knew Aunt Laura's was in a shopping center, I wasn't worried about atmosphere at all because I knew one of my favorite Georgia tearooms, the now-closed Vintage Tea, was in a shopping center in Alpharetta but you never knew it once inside. Same here. Far better decor and music than in many an old-house tearoom I've visited, so I've learned not to fear a commercial location. From the murals on the walls to the pretty white-painted furniture and tables covered in pale blue cloths, it was a lovely, peaceful place to take tea.

Taking our order was none other than Aunt Laura herself, a pretty, younger-than-expected woman who was a pleasant blend of efficiency and aiming-to-please. I think I detected a bit of a wit there, too, and I liked that. Our server was Aunt Laura's mom, a dear lady I instantly liked. She brought us this quiche and fruit cup as a starter, and something about her demeanor made us feel more like guests of the family than customers. The quiche, by the way, was quite delicious, but then I do adore a nice crispy crust.

When the tea tray came out, I was pleased that Laura's mom was careful to describe everything on the tray. I've been to tearooms where they simply drop off the tray and announce it is "sandwiches, scones and sweets," but she described everything briefly and well. And you know what else I liked? After having visited more than 40 tearooms, I do believe this is the first time I've ever had a tearoom explain how to properly eat a scone. She spoke of halving the scone and spreading the lemon curd and then the cream (because the lemon curd is denser and heavier), and she told us not to make a sandwich of the two halves "because if it were supposed to be eaten like a sandwich I would have made it for you." But then she added, with a twinkle in her kind eyes, that she was now going to disappear into the kitchen and we should certainly feel free to enjoy our scones any way we liked! She said all this with a pleasant smile and not a whiff of condescension, so it was a perfectly gracious thing to say, especially for those who may not quite be tea fanatics like some of us in this group!

Our sandwiches were cucumber and cream cheese with a touch of garlic salt on white bread, egg salad (I think; I forgot to write this one down) on pumpernickel, and pineapple cream cheese on whole wheat. Look at the tiny little cutout flower on the pineapple one. Cute, eh!

The scones were cinnamon-flavored, which made me a little nervous since I think some scone-makers have a heavy hand with the cinnamon. This scone-maker did not, and the scones were quite good. The lemon curd - homemade by Aunt Laura's grandmother, we learned - was delicious, and I certainly ate my share of it and the Devonshire cream.

The sweets did not disappoint, either: lemon bars, iced raspberry treats, and chocolate mousse with a swizzle stick served in an edible chocolate cup. That last sweet greatly impressed Beth, who enjoyed it with her Belgian Chocolate Tea. I had a Mango Green Tea, and we both liked our flavors so much, we purchased bags to take home with us.

And although it was really supposed to be Beth's special occasion, she had brought along some lovely gift bags filled with birthday gifts (from her and her mother, another tea friend), because my birthday was Sunday. Between their wonderful gifts and those of other family and friends, let's just say I'll have plenty of great tea goodies to talk about in the coming days. Opening some of them in a lovely new tea room was the perfect way to kick off my birthday weekend!


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Aunt Laura's Tea Room. I received a complimentary lunch for my April birthday. You can sign up for their birthday club and also to receive emails on special events, etc. There has been talk of trying to start a reading group at the tea room, like they had at Miss Lila's Tea Room in Fairburn (now closed).

    I'd like to see a better selection of classic black tea and more products in the gift shop. However, they are limited by the space available. This is one of the tearooms that is not too far from where I live. The other closest is Miss Bessie's in Barnesville, which is a lovely tearoom and they have just changed locations to obtain more floorspace.

    I enjoyed your photos of Aunt Laura's.

  2. Looking at the picture of the three-tier tray, I'm wondering why so few shops set the tray up in the proper manner as written in Dorothea Johnson's book on tea etiquette. She is the founder of the long established and well recognized Protocol School of Washington. The savories go on the bottom plate, the scones in the middle and the sweets on the top. The idea is to eat from the bottom up letting the savories blunt one's appetite before beginning the sweets. I love the little sense of ritual that goes with tea.

  3. Hey Angela,
    Happy Belated Birthday!!! MY #3 who is my youngest girl enjoyed lunch and tea at Aunt Laura's late last summer. Next time you go try her chicken salad OH MY is it yummy!!!! We enjoyed our experience too. Especially *Aunt Laura's* Mother or Grandmother-the one who served-she is precious!!!Thanks for sharing your experience with us. tammyp

  4. I really like those murals, but I LOVE tea room folks who have a sense of humor! :-)

  5. Happy b'day Angela! It was nice that you got to enjoy a birthday and celebrate a friend's new job all at once. Since receiving such positive words regarding Aunt Laura's I'm looking forward to taking my granddaughter and enjoying it for myself. I had not heard a lot of positive feed back on it and was disappointed when a friend came back with negative reviews, but you certainly have more tea experience than they and I am once again excited to try. Thank you Angela!

  6. Speaking of tea are some photos a loyal fan sent us of party favors she gave out at an Afternoon Tea/Bridal Shower:

    Hope you enjoy them. Julie for Bigelow Tea

  7. I love the article about Aunt Laura's Tea Room. I'm a little biased since Laura is my cousin and the server is my favorite Aunt Sandy. You describe her perfectly!! I love them dearly and hope the Tea Room continues to receive these wonderful reviews!! Love, Mikki

  8. I hosted a tea for a friend with breast cancer at Aunt Laura's--her table was full of survivors to inspire, and the other tables were filled with "cheerleaders." Aunt Laura's did a wonderful job of making everyone feel "right at home." We all left full and inspired, and my friend felt supported and ready for her cancer journey. ps--after lumpectomy, she's doing radiation, and things are going well.

  9. I think that you should bring a store over to Peachtree City. We have a lot of empty buildings over here too. And we don't have a bakery either. We really need one! This shop is also really cute! I would love to have one
    over here! and also, would you hire a 15 year old?


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