Black Dragon Afternoon Tea (Garden View Tea Room, Orlando, FL)

As I am a big fan of afternoon teas, I just had to try this one. The elegance of the tea room and the very cute mouse filled swan pastry convinced me immediately. Also, while having experienced afternoon teas in Canada, Australia, and the UK, I thought it was time for one in the USA :)

This was a special kind of afternoon tea - very Disney inspired :) Even so the food was rather "normal" and not following a Disney theme (unlike the "Tale as old as Time" afternoon tea I enjoyed in London), you could not forget that you were in Disney World.

The Garden View Tea Room

The Garden View Tea Room is located in one of Walt Disney World's Resort hotels - the elegant Grand Floridian, a Victoran themed luxury hotel. The tea room is located at the far end of the very chic foyer. It has an open window front facing the foyer on one side, and a floor to ceiling window front across, overlooking the outside. During the day, you can listen to gentle live music, either provided by the pianist playing in the middle of foyer, or by a small orchestra playing on the second floor balcony.

While I was there, we also had some surprise visitors: Cinderella and her Prince Charming stopped by and started dancing to the pianist's music. As the tea room has open windows facing the foyer, I was able to enjoy their visit as well :)

The Afternoon Tea

Beside the fantastic atmosphere and elegant tea room, I was also very pleasantly surprised by the afternoon tea itself. I had been reading a lot of reviews mentioning that the finger sandwiches would not be anything special and would disappoint... Here, I have to strongly disagree! The sandwiches were fresh, light and very intersting. Especially the poached pear with gorgonzola sandwich was a favorite. I had never tried one before and thought it very creative and delicious. Next to the mouse filled swan pastry and the very special oolong tea, the sandwiches were actually my highlights.

While they offered three different kinds of afternoon tea (with additions such as fruit and cheese platters), I decided for the "simple" Bedfordshire Tea, served on a three tier étagere:
  • Lower Tier: Cucumber sandwich, sweet curry chicken sandwich, egg salad sandwich, poached pear and gorgonzola cream cheese sandwich, fire roasted tomato with goat cheese sandwich, and sweet onion tart
  • Middle Tier: Raisin scone with lemon curd and clotted cream and a strawberry preserve tart
  • Top Tier: Mouse filled swan pastry, chocolate covered strawberry, chocolate and coffee macaron

Oolong Tea - Black Dragon Tea

They also offered a large variety of Twining tea. I took the chance to try out an Oolong tea. I had just recently read about it and was intrigued as I never really tried it before. The name "oolong" is derived from the Chinese name for "Black Dragon Tea". It is a very delicate tea and known as the "champagne" of teas. Oolong teas are semi-oxidized and their caffeine level is supposed to be on the milder side, less than black teas and the very strong and rough pu'er teas, but a little more than the mellow white and green teas. The tea room offered two very intersting sounding oolong flavors:
  • Castleton Moonlight Oolong (slight peach sweetness with lingering honey notes - the one I picked) 
  • Grey Dragon Oolong (combination of white silver needle tea with aromatic oolong flavors)

Scotland and Pubs

Last but not least, a very belated Scottish post. However, I feel like I need to add one more post to Scotland to give it justice. I had such an unforgettable time in the UK, experiencing Scotland's Lowlands for the first time. I was just amazed by the breathtaking nature, the architecture and history, and of course, how can it be different, by the food experiences :)

My Food Highlights:


  • Scottish porridge (see my last post)
  • Scottish breakfast (Traditionally, it comes with baked beans, fried egg, grilled tomato and mushroom, haggis and black pudding. I opted for the vegetarian version with a Quorn sausage and potato crisps. The sausages made out of "Quorn" - a meat substitute made of mycoprotein that originated in the UK - was delicious)

Lunch/Afternoon Treats

  • Hearty Scottish afternoon soups with fresh baked crusty bread (I had a mushroom leek soup one day, and then a carrot lentil soup the other)
  • Tea and cake time at the small village Luss at Loch Lomond (perfect after a strenuous hike up the hill, I overendulged with a slice of a decadent carrot cake and a lemon drop cake)


  • UK style Indian food (Dishoom is a chain restaurant, not quite cheap but was highly recommended to me. They do not have a huge selection of traditional Indian food, but some very interesting ones - Bombay street style. The flavors were really good, well worth the long wait time. I had some the Bau Bhaji - a bowl with smashed vegetables, and the Chole Poori - a bowl with chickpea curry and puffed poori.)
  • Traditional Scottish Pub Food (I had Burger and Fries at the Royal Mile Tavern and a delicious vegetarian Shepard's Pie with lentils and carrot-potato mash on top at Deacon Brodie's Tavern)
  • Fraoch Beer - A Scottish Heather Ale (a gruit/ ancient herbed ale, brewed in SCotland since 2000 BC, assumed to be one of the oldest style of ale still produced in the world)

Scottish Desserts

  • Fried Mars Bars - a famous Scottish dessert (The Mars bar actually orginated in England in 1932 and consists of nougat, caramel and milk chocolate. The deep-fried version originated in Scottish chip shops - fast food restaurants focusing on selling fish & chips - as a novelity but was never mainstream. Its popularity rose through the mass media reporting on the Scottish dessert).
  • Cranachan - the "uncontested king of Scottish desserts" (made of whipped cream, whiskey, honey, fresh raspberries, and oats soaked in whiskey overnight. Originally a celebration of the harvest during summer, as raspberries were harvested in June)

Other Adventures in Scotland:

  • Edinburgh Castle - The fortress is located on the plug of an extinct volcano, called Castle Rock. It is said that the Rock has been occupied by humans since at least the Iron Ages (2nd century AD). The volcano has been risen about 350 million years ago... Now, the castle dominates Edinburgh's skyline.
  • Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat - the main hill in Hollyrood Park, east of the city center. It is also a volcanic site. Great for hiking, right in the city, but you feel that you are somewhere out in the nature. The entire hill is full of gorse, the yellowest of flowers. It distributes a sweet smell, reminding one on coconut cookies. As it was spring time, I was lucky to experience the entire yellow power :)
  • Edinburgh's Royal Mile - This city is beautiful with its old town district, the castle and palace. The Royal Mile connects the Castle with the Hollyrood Palace and is the main street in the old town with lots of pubs and the famous small alleyways (called "Close").
  • Melrose Abbey - This is a small, partly ruined monastery in the small town of Melrose on the Scottish border. The train ride from Edinburgh to Tweedbank only takes about 1 hour and is actually quite beautiful from the scenery. Then, from Tweedbank Station to Melrose you can either take a short bus ride or walk. This walk alone was well worth the trip. It goes along the River Tweed and on a nice day, you can even take a minute and refresh yourself in the river. The town of Melrose is very small but pituresque. And the ruins of Melrose Abbey are very beautiful, it is supposed to be the prettiest one of the border abbeys.
  • Loch Lomond- While in Scotland, I really wanted to see some nature. Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish lake, connecting the Lowlands with the Highlands. On the southern shores you can find the village Balloch, and further up on the shores there is the small village of Luss, very pituresque. I explored Balloch with its State Park and Gardens which was very pretty as well. Then I took a cruise, took in the Loch and its islands and the mountain range, including the mountain Ben Lomond. We stopped at Luss for a few hours where I did a little bit of hiking up the hill to take in the aerial view of the Loch. It was just a short day trip, but there is so much more you can do...
  • Glasgow -  I actually only spend about 1.5 days in Glasgow, visiting a concert. It is a port city at the River Clyde and popular for its noveau architecture and art. However, from my first impression I did prefer Edinburgh with its old town, castle, hills and parks.

Scottish Breakfast
Hearty soup with crusty fresh bread
Afternoon tea time with cake
Dishoom - Best Indian Food in the UK :)
Tavern Food :)
Vegetarian Shepard's Pie
Fried Mars Bars
Edinburgh - View from Calton Hill
Arthur's Seat
Melrose Abbey
Village Luss at Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

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