Monday, February 21, 2011

Forsyth's Tea Room, Edinburgh, Scotland

Forsyth’s Tea Room, on the High Street, in Edinburgh, is an amazing little hole-in-the-wall teashop singlehandedly run by the lovely Christina. On my two days in Edinburgh, I went twice, sharing a pot of tea and amazing conversation with the lady behind it all who has been baking, cleaning, and selling lovely cakes, snacks, and teas for sixteen years! In the off-season, when the shop isn’t bustling, Christina makes herself busy crocheting sugar covers, tea cosies and the like. Her shop is so homey and comfy, you won’t even realize how the time will fly with either a good book or a long talk about Scotland and the culture with Christina.

My first day in Edinburgh, I was groggy and a bit jetlagged after a six hour flight to London, a layover and then a one hour flight to Edinburgh without a wink of sleep. But to fight the time change I found myself wandering the Royal Mile and the High Street with my destination in mind: Forsyth’s. I received the loveliest welcome and Christina was very keen to learn about my American background and travels plans bringing me to South Africa. She showed me around the space, emphasizing the exposed stone walls, fresh flowers on the tables, quaint mugs of Scotland for sale (one of which I now own) and of course the goods for sale. Before I could say anything, I was presented with a lovely pot of black tea. For some reason, regardless of the quality of tea, in the UK tea just tastes better! I wasn’t in the least perturbed that the tea was coming from a tea bag, as the atmosphere and company elevated the taste tenfold! I also ordered a Scotch Pie for lunch, a meat pie filled with steak and Scottish seasonings, with a bottle of HP Sauce on the side, of course.

My second day in Edinburgh was rainy and windy and very bleak, but I promised Christina I would be back, and no rain would stop me from getting to Forsyth’s. I was warmly welcomed and despite the wide array of delicious looking cakes on selection (including a particularly attractive carrot cake), I went for a cream tea complete with a sultana studded scone, homemade jam, cream and fresh butter. It was lovely of course and sharing Christina’s company again was a welcome respite from the gloomy weather. I mentioned that I was going to the Lyceum Theatre later that night to see a production of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” and without a moment to think, Christina jumped up and said she would wrap me up some Scottish shortbread and tea bags for my interval snack! I couldn’t have found better hospitality anywhere, and despite wanting to try some of the other tearooms in Edinburgh, I was so happy to have spent time with such a lovely woman in such a lovely little shop. Next time you are in Edinburgh, visit! You won’t be disappointed.

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