Sometimes we decide our destinations based on food. Okay, a lot of the time. Let’s be honest! You’d do the same if you saw this in your Lonely Planet guide:
“The real reason travelers visit Gaiman is to down pastries at one of several good Welsh teahouses. Most open at 3pm and offer unlimited tea and handmade sweets for US$6.50.”
Honey, we’re taking a detour.
Gaiman is a tiny town about 10 miles from Trelew, which is where we were originally headed today. At one point, it was the largest Welsh settlement outside of Wales. It feels largely abandoned now, but that might be due in part to the abnormally wide and empty streets. Or the fact that most everything was closed.
Except this tea house! Any idea how to pronounce Ty Te Caerdydd?
We followed the signs (many signs – I wish all of Latin America was this well-labeled) from the center of town onto some winding dirt roads, past a lumber yard, and finally came upon this elaborately manicured paradise tucked into the trees. It even had a moat.
It was so fancy that I suddenly felt underdressed in my two-week old clothes. Well, now that I put it like that, I guess I should feel underdressed everywhere, but it’s cold at the bottom of the world and I’ve been layering nearly every item of clothing I brought to keep warm. I don’t have anything else warm to change into. Arizonans are not prepared for icy weather!
Back to the tea! A woman opened the door for us as we walked up to the porch, past the “Princess Diana ate here once, so you SHOULD feel underdressed, you hobo!” sign. She visited in 1995 and had a raspberry tart.
We picked a table next to a trickling fountain. Our hostess informed us that there was only one set menu, then went off to get our food. Unfortunately, it was more than $6.50. Fortunately, we were too awestruck and excited to care. Proper tea! Like the proper Brits!
(At this point in writing, I began to seriously wonder how Englishmen and Welshmen feel about one another, and who’s more proper than who, tea etiquette, and all the other little nuances of proper tea-taking. I understand tea is a Very Important Subject over there.)
I cannot comment on the true properness of our afternoon tea, but in my own humble opinion, it was Glorious!
There were so many tarts and cakes and breads-with-jam that we sat there for over an hour and couldn’t finish them all. Daniel bit into a scone covered in butter and just sat there smiling and chewing for a good minute or two. There was lemon merengue pie, a peaches-n-cream type cake, something with dulce de leche in it, the raspberry tart that Princess Diana ate, and my personal favorite: a cream… uh… a raisin custard… creme brûlée… thing… alright, I have no idea what it was, but it was good!
The tea itself was light and buttery and reminded me of a cross between Ceylon and Oolong. Daniel and I had about five cups each and finished off the teapot.
When we couldn’t eat anymore, we sat there until we could try to eat some more. I got another slice of bread and preserves down before we really called it quits and considered ourselves properly stuffed.
I don’t know how Princess Diana only had one raspberry tart.
Posted from Gaiman, Chubut Province, Argentina.