Boiling point

Afternoon tea at The Huckleberry is a nice way to simmer down

Josh Gross

Just one thing I want to know: how come I have to be Mr. Pink?” my co-worker Caitlin Rockett asked on our way to The Huckleberry in old town Louisville.

But we weren’t headed there to pull a Reservoir Dogs; we were going to have a tea party.

Any good Boulder County bruncher should know The Huckleberry. Its small-town charm and bevy of baked goods are just what the heart-doctor ordered you to avoid. But for all the quaintness of its converted house location and café menu, there’s a touch of old world aristocracy mixed in. The Huckleberry offers a specially made afternoon tea course served all fancy-like, provided you give them 24-hours notice and pony up the princely sum of $18.95 per person. Discovering it on the menu is how my co-workers and I ended up skipping out of the office to have a delightful afternoon away from the bleeps and bloops of the office and the “20 Pictures of Cats Eating Donuts That Will Immediately Bring on World Peace” headlines of the Internet. Originally we had planned Kentucky Derby hats and white suits for a photo op, but the forces of laundry conspired against us.

Things weren’t quite ready when we arrived, but after several minutes we were led to a semi-private walled off area in the middle of the restaurant, where we were quickly given a dipping tray of marmalade, lemon curd and Devonshire Cream.

“That stuff is amazing,” the server said, pointing at the Devonshire Cream.

For the afternoon tea, The Huckleberry prepares a three-tiered platter of delights, including cucumber sandwiches, puff pastries, chocolate-covered strawberries, mini-scones and more.

Also, obviously, tea. The Huckleberry has several dozen teas to choose from, most being topshelf blends, and each coming in their own pot with a removable basket so the tea doesn’t oversteep and become bitter.

We were also given raw sugar cubes and honey.

The sandwiches that comprised the bottom level of the tea-tower, were good, light snacks, but nothing special.

The pastries and sweets were another matter altogether.

A savory puff had a wonderfully flaky texture, and the scones were every bit as fantastic dipped in the Devonshire Cream as our server had alleged.

But the cake was taken by a flourless torte — dense chocolate balls of it. Rich and sweet, and oddly well balanced with the subtleties of the various teas.

But as tasty as the spread was, the real bonus actually had very little to do with the food. It would have been easy enough to scarf down the chow and scribble something about “subtle blackberry notes.” But taking an afternoon casually, and enjoying the excess of the presentation was, as corny as it may sound, the rare opportunity to slow the fudge down, parlay with your team and drink some mufuggin’ tea.

That alone is worth the high sticker price. And maybe even being called Mr. Pink.