I have visited many tea rooms all throughout New England, but I have never spent 4 hours eating, shopping and chatting until I experienced Florrie Kaye’s Tea Room in Carmel.
My friend and I had the pleasure of sampling everything on their spectacular menu. Their traditional scones, tea sandwiches, and most popular dish, Coronation Chicken, was scrumptious, but their afternoon tea is their specialty. "It's a three-tiered presentation decorated on a cake plate," said Gina Aurisicchio, owner of the tea room.
Gorgeously presented, the tea sandwiches sit on the bottom, British scones served with butter, cream and jam are in the middle, miniature desserts such as French macarons and chocolate ganache are showcased on the top, and red roses adorn the display. Traditionally served at three o'clock, it transports you to a heavenly place. Customers have a choice of over 75 varieties of tea from Harney & Sons. “Our goal at Florrie Kaye's is to transport you back in time to a place of elegance and freedom from modern technology and the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, and for you to be treated like royalty, if only for a short time,” said Aurisicchio.
Chef Michelle Cohane, a native of South Africa, brings back her favorite curry blend when she visits home, and this is the secret ingredient in the Coronation Chicken, the house specialty. Other sandwiches include various paninis, melts, and egg or tuna salad (gluten-free options). There is always a special soup on the menu, and Michelle plans to serve a chestnut soup during the Christmas season. The other holiday specials will include potted shrimp braised in butter, prawns with a Marie Rose sauce, and trifles. Tempt the guys to tag along so they can savor the bangers and mash, pork pies, and warm sausage rolls.
My friend and I were thrilled to get some of our Christmas shopping done between the many courses of our tea. We bought a lamp shaped like a tea pot, a beaded Victorian purse (to hang on the wall), and coconut hand soap, crafted by a local couple – both chemistry teachers at the nearby high school.
Aurisicchio's mother is also involved in the family-run business. "My mom makes the hats (which guests are encouraged to wear), and my sister and I are both florists, so we do all the flowers,” said Aurisicchio. We had the pleasure of meeting mom who was there to fold the rose-colored napkins into flowers and place them inside of the teacups.
Florrie Kaye’s is not only a delightful tea room and gift shop, but it also has a heart of gold. The tea room recently hosted Father Anthony Sorgie in a benefit to help rebuild the Benedictine Monastery and Basilica in Norcia, Italy following earthquake damage. There are plans for the tea room to host some cooking classes and proceeds will help Catholic Charities offer homes to people in need. A local nursery school held a special tea and story time to raise money to donate to a local medical charity on behalf of Florrie Kaye’s. Chef Cohane is involved with the Ronald McDonald House at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, and she donates baked goods. There are precious, hand-knit tea cozies for sale in the gift shop, and all proceeds go to Community Cares in Mahopac.
Alex Richardson, a longtime friend of the Aurisicchio family and our server, has her own favorite charity that the tea room supports. Alex bakes adorable sugar cookies in the shape of teapots, teacups, and snowflakes to benefit a local child suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The organic cookies are made with agave nectar, lemon peel, cinnamon and cardamom. We bought every cookie she had! During December, Alex will be selling cookies decorated like stained glass Christmas ornaments.