Are you missing the rituals of your favorite luxury hotel?
The St. Regis San Francisco, is sharing two of its celebrated and longstanding daily rituals – the Afternoon Tea Ritual and the Evening Ritual – at home while guests wait for a return to travel. Open since November 2005, The St. Regis is known for introducing a new dimension of luxury, uncompromising service, and timeless elegance to the city of San Francisco. Located in a 40-story landmark building, the 260-room St. Regis Hotel boasts everything from legendary butler service, “anticipatory” guest care, impeccable staff training, signature spa, luxurious amenities, and meticulous design.
“Rituals are an integral part of the property and the St. Regis brand,” said Jacqueline Volkart, general manager of The St. Regis San Francisco. “They are steeped in tradition and experiencing them in person feels magical. We hope these tips bring a little of that charm home to our guests during a time when many cannot travel. We hope it inspires our guests to return to the Best Address as soon as restrictions are lifted.”
The Afternoon Tea Ritual
Known as the Art of Tea, this ritual is typically offered in the Lobby Lounge by reservation only. The St. Regis San Francisco’s modern interpretation of the experience includes seasonal bites crafted by Chef Joseph Tiano using locally sourced ingredients. The presentation is served on an elegant tower, paired with aromatic teas from around the world.
“Our afternoon tea experience is perfect for those needing a break during the workday or wish to celebrate during the weekend,” said Volkart. “It’s a rejuvenating, calming ritual.”
Chef Tiano recommends pairing Orange Rooibos tea with Maple Glazed Pumpkin Pecan Bread (recipe below). Prior to serving, the host should set out accouterments including cloth napkins, tray, silver spoons, and fine china teacups. Tea and bread should be served with sweeteners and milk.
Maple Glazed Pumpkin Pecan Bread
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
8 oz pumpkin puree
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup pecans chopped
Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease and flour muffin tins with pan spray.
Combine the sugar, eggs, and oil in a large bowl. Combine well with a whisk or electric mixer. Stir in pumpkin puree. Combine flour and spices and gradually add to the pumpkin mix. Add the chopped pecans. Spoon the mixture halfway up the mold. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean and let cool. Plate the bread on a rack and spoon maple glaze over the top.
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl to ensure no lumps. Mix in the remainder of ingredients.
The Evening Ritual
Champagne Sabering dates back to the early 20th century when Mrs. Astor, the matriarch of the St. Regis brand, gathered friends and family for a Champagne toast to mark the transition from day to evening.
“The Champagne Sabering is the perfect way to celebrate the end of a long workday,” said Volkart. “It is traditionally performed at sunset.”
The St. Regis San Francisco uses a saber to perform the ritual, but any sharp knife will work. Champagne or an alternative should be chilled 24 hours prior to the ceremony to lower pressure and vibration. In preparation, candles should be lit and soft music played. Begin the ritual by showcasing the Champagne in an ice bucket and on a cart that includes a saber and glassware. Hold the bottleneck at a 20-degree angle with the sword cast down on the neck of the bottle. Carefully pointing the bottle up, slide the blade of the saber along the body of the bottle toward the neck. The force of the blade as it hits the tip of the bottle’s neck will break the glass. Once the bottle has been sabered, allow a small flow of champagne to wash away any loose shards of glass that may have adhered to the neck. Check the first glass of champagne for any stray shards.
Chef Tiano recommends pairing the Champagne with Blinis & Caviar. His caviar recommendations include American Paddlefish, American Hackleback Sturgeon, Red Salmon Eggs, or Osetra. Chef Tiano’s special Blini recipe follows below. Recommended accompaniments include Crème Fraiche or sour cream and chives.
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 egg (separated)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons butter
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, salt and yeast. Mix well and pour in milk. Mix until smooth, cover the bowl and let the batter rise until doubled (around one hour). Stir cooled melted butter and egg yolk into the batter. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white to a stiff peak and fold into the batter. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. In a medium nonstick pan on medium heat, drop the batter in quarter-size drops and cook for one minute. Turn and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and continue with the remainder of batter, keep on a plate with a cover.
“We very much look forward to welcoming our guests back to our Lobby Lounge to experience these rituals with us soon,” said Volkart. “Until then, we hope they are enjoyed with loved ones in the comfort of home.”
For more information about The St. Regis San Francisco and its many offerings, please visit https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sfoxr-the-st-regis-san-francisco/