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 Your usual cup of tea just got an upgrade. Enjoy a lovely spread of scones, cookies and sandwiches at Miss Minerva's.
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Date published: 1/17/2013


All concerns regarding etiquette turned out to be a tempest in a teapot once we'd been warmly greeted at Miss Minerva's, which Tea Map.com recently ranked No. 2 out of 63 tearooms in the Old Dominion. (Hey, I didn't even know there was a competition!)

The first order of business was the ceremonial sniffing of tea samples, so we might make informed choices. My wife picked "Florence," a black tea with complex notes of chocolate and hazelnut, while I went with the nicely balanced Kashmiri chai and MIL selected the fruity, cloying White Persian Melon, which she couldn't stop raving about.

We each ordered the Full English Tea, which included tea sandwiches, savories, scones and desserts served on a three-tiered platter, along with the pots of tea and a couple of items whose names--clotted cream and jam--were more suggestive of medical conditions than condiments.

Having been assured by our server we'd be breaking no rules by mixing-and-matching between the various tiers, we dug indiscriminately into the creamy chicken and egg salads, smoky bacon-and-cheddar pinwheels, mango salsa crostini, artichoke-stuffed tomatoes, and of course the pumpkin scones, Mexican wedding cookies and, my personal favorite, the chocolate-coconut bars.

Everything was so delectable, delightful and de-lovely that I could easily imagine Miss Minerva's--were it to add some pub grub to its menu and suspend a few flat-screens from the ceiling--becoming my new favorite hangout.

Not one to pass up a shopping opportunity, MIL bought a bag of White Persian Melon loose tea before saying goodbye to Miss Minerva's and hello to GNC, from which she returned all smiles. "I got the last one!" she said hugging the coffee-bean extract to her chest. It had been a splendid day, she said, one she wouldn't trade for anything. Not for all the tea in Persia.

Kurt Rabin: 540/374-5000
Email: krabin@freelancestar.com

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What: Miss Minerva's Tea Room & Gifts

Address: 167 E. Davis St., Culpeper

Info: 540/829-9700 for reservations; missminervas .com Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday


Full tea: $20

Lite tea: $14

Tween tea: $13

Wee tea: $11

The Scoop: Good service, good food, on-street parking, kid-friendly and even guy-friendly! Payment: Major credit cards accepted.