The first month of the year has flown by and 2018 is already off to a great start! I’m thrilled to be working with Babingtons Tea Room this year to design an exclusive series of events to celebrate 125 years of business. Located at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome, Babingtons is synonymous with the dolce vita and has long attracted an elite clientele, from politicians and celebrities to tea lovers from around the world. The iconic tea room is the perfect combination of English tradition and Italian elegance so it’s no surprise it is one of my favorite places to relax in the city.
The tea room was opened 1893 by two English women, Anna Maria Babington and Isabel Cargill, who arrived in Rome during their Grand Tour. Today, Ms. Cargill’s great-grandchildren Chiara Bedini and Rory Bruce oversee the operation which now includes a full-service restaurant service and tea shop. I was honored to work alongside the Chiara and Rory to design an exciting calendar of events to mark this noteworthy milestone.
The first event we planned was an exclusive cocktail reception hosted at Villa Wolkonsky in Rome, the residence of the British ambassador to Italy S.E. Jill Morris CMG.
Flowers are an important part of any event and the floral arrangements at the reception had a special meaning. Blush roses, myrtle leaves and juniper berries reflected the ingredients of Babingtons special 125th Anniversary tea, an homage to Miss Anna Maria Babington. The blend combines black tea, vanilla, honey, elderberry, rose petals, blueberries, juniper berries and myrtle leaves, celebrating the union of Rome and England with traditional ingredients of both countries. I wanted the flowers to be a visual representation of the tea and also displayed them within the 125th anniversary tea tins.
For food, we had a tantalizing array of finger foods and light appetizers that were perfect for accompanying a warming cup of 125th Anniversary Tea. We couldn’t miss having mini scones in two flavors, cheddar and walnut, along with dainty cupcakes with salmon mousse, prosciutto mousse and tuna mousse. They were almost too beautiful to eat! Vanilla and rose scented shortbread and chocolate biscuits were served as well and for the grand finale, we enjoyed a slice of an enormous birthday cake!
Isabel’s Cake is a tribute to Isabel Cargill and features a traditional English sponge cake (the favorite of Queen Victoria) with white chocolate, vanilla-bourbon infused layers, fresh raspberries and meringues. It was a highlight of the evening and will be available in Babingtons Tea Room through 2018.
Upcoming events include a Victorian Tea Party and Victorian Cocktail later this year and a final Birthday Party on 5 December 2018, the anniversary of the opening of Babingtons.
I’m also looking forward to bringing a taste of Rome’s English Tea Room to Dubai, where I’ll host an exclusive afternoon tea to taste Babingtons special 125th Anniversary blend! Look out for more details soon, I look forward to sharing this experience with you.
Happy Birthday Babingtons!