Afternoon Tea At Valverde Palace of Seteais in a fairy tale town of Sintra Portugal!
This past Christmas I have the privilege to visit the Palácio de Seteis Valverde and attend the “Queen’s Tea” in Sintra Portugal. The Palace was built between 1783 and 1787 on the orders of the Dutch consul Daniel Gildemeester. The lands were granted by the Marquis de Pombal (who ruled the Portuguese Empire at the time). They built on a hill so that the consul could enjoy a glorious panorama of the Sintra hills. The Palace of Setais has been one of Sintra's top luxury hotels since it opened in 1954 is where back in the day all the Portuguese nobility lived and there’s lots of palaces all around the region. In the Christmas season the Palace of Setais is one of the most enchanting places to experience in Sintra. People call this Sintra the fairy town.
At the palace the Queen's Tea starts promptly at 5:00p.m. each day and the service is open to the public and guests on the veranda ( which is a room covered with glass, chic and refined but relaxed), adjacent the hotel's restaurant. The menu includes traditional English scones made with raisins soaked in rum, Portuguese pastries like the traditional Sintra quijadas, madeleines and other sweet pastries. The three gourmet tea sandwiches which were salmon with red onion and cream cheese, prociuto and brie which match the grand delicious setting. We also got to choose which tea we wanted and it comes in a pot, and they kept coming by and refiling our tea cups. We all chose our favorites, mine was cozy chamomile and it tasted delicious.
Delicious traditional sweets.
Vistra Alegre hotel dining set.
Hand painted walls everywhere bring you back to the 18th century!
Timeless the blue and white ceramics here!
This was such an enchanting room with it's hand painted walls and whimsical pastel colors. So many details on that grand piano!!
The Pillement room, with original alfrescos de Jean-Baptiste Pillement. It's one of the most beautiful rooms at the Palace.
Many famous people have stayed here like Richard Nixon, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Maria Callas, Agatha Christie and the list goes on.
Did you know? The British afternoon tea popular ritual was actually inspired by the little known Queen of Portugal "Catarina de Bragança (Catherine of Braganza in English). Think about that next time you are drinking tea at a beautiful place!
Here you see the Palace's Fine China collection from Vista Alegre.
Back in 1662, when Catherine of Braganza (daughter of Portugal's King John iV) married the British King Charles II and brings with her a very large dowry that includes spices, money and treasures from the lucrative ports of Bombay and Tangier. This union made her a very important lady, she became the Queen of England, Ireland and Scotland.
The legend has it (and everyone know the story very well at the hotel), that when she went to join her future husband, she was traveling with loose-leaf tea and the crates were market: Transporte de Ervas Aromaticas (which means in English ~ Transport of Aromatic Herbs), which they abreviated T.E.A.
Anyway one thing is true, Portugal already had a direct trade line to China since they already had Macau as a colony ( they took over in 1557, making it the first European colony in East Asia) and tea was already very popular in Portugal among the aristocracy.
Tea was being consumed in England, but they were getting it from the Dutch and was very expensive. They used it only for medicine at the time. After Catherine arrived with her clothes and furniture, she was the focus of attention. Ladies longed to be around her and be part of her circle! Her mid-afternoon pick me up tea drinking habit was encouraged in court and it spread.
It was such a sweet and memorable moment, enjoying all those sweet pastries with the family by the fire on a cold winter afternoon. The property is beautiful and we even saw peacocks rooming around! If you ever go visit Portugal, you make sure you visit this Palace, it's quite an enchanting getaway!
What a delight it was to see a Tobacco Leaf lamp at this Plalace!
I have a large collection with this print that I painted entirely by hand, learn more below!
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