If you go down to the Ritz today…

Sugar and spice and all things nice are wrapped up in the magic of the Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

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The gingerbread house in the resorts lobby is a magnet for young and old. Photo: Elphina Magona

An ideal treat for young families and doting grandparents wanting to start the festive season off in style, the tea party is brimming with Christmas cheer and a forest full of teddy bears for children to take home.

Set in the Silver Palm Lounge, the leisurely tea is tailored to suit children and accompanying adults to the strains of Christmas arrangements by harpist Eugenio Leon.

Craft table, gingerbread house

The Ritz being the Ritz thinks of everything and what better way to savour the pinnacle of high teas than to have children’s crafts throughout the sitting?

The craft area not only allows adults to keep a paternal eye on their little ones from the comfort of their own seats, it allows them to savour the tea with the minimum of interruptions.

Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause are on hand to listen to present requests and for impromptu photo sessions. Santa’s helpers, the elves man the craft table and help youngsters frost Christmas tree gingerbreads to take home.

Another popular draw, besides the tea, is the lobby’s life-sized ginger bread house studded with jewel-toned gumdrops and edged in confectioners’ piping.

Children, adult menus

Children delight in eating the nutty chocolate and banana rolls, peanut butter and currant jelly on butter bread and celery chicken salad on bouche. Washed down with hot chocolate served in tiny bone china cups; most then make a beeline for the delicious sweet buffet. Christmas-coloured rice crispy treats await wide-eyed youngsters as well as mini cupcakes with vanilla frosting, chocolate turtles, Christmas tree cookies and chocolate marshmallow treats.

Adults are offered a choice selection of seasonally bite-sized treats, too, including Atlantic smoked salmon with dill crème fraiche with bow fin caviar; Black Forest ham topped off with whole-grain mustard and pineapple compote; herb-roasted turkey and cranberry mayonnaise and cucumber and boursin mousse on pumpkin bread.

The Ritz-Carlton’s friendly and attentive wait staff are on hand to see that everyone’s needs are catered for and to provide a wide selection of aromatic and herbal teas or chilled champagne for adults. High tea at the Ritz would not be high tea without sampling one or maybe two warm Ritz scones with the choice of Devonshire clotted cream, wild berry preserves or lemon curd. Indulge yourself for the afternoon with a few more tempting treats – they are only a mouthful after all – including minted lemon curd and honey meringue tarts, chocolate-covered strawberries, spiced orange cake, ginger shortbread and crunchy chocolate éclairs.

Great feedback

Chantelle and school friend Nuala were two young visitors to last Sunday’s afternoon sitting. The nine-year-olds looked to the manor born nibbling crustless sandwiches and taking their hot chocolate from china cups. Like characters from the Fancy Nancy series of books the pair said the tea was ‘spectacular and amazing’.

To make reservations for the Teddy Bears’ Tea at 12 noon and at 2pm, Saturdays and Sundays until 20 December, call The Ritz-Carlton at 943-9000. Extra sittings are available 23 and 24 December.