Close To Home: Swan House Tea Room
Posted on February 14, 2023 Posted by Athena Scalzi 27 Comments
Today, I visited somewhere I have been wanting to go for months, and I am so excited to finally be writing a piece over the Swan Room Tea House in Findlay, Ohio!
The Swan Room Tea House is located right in the heart of Findlay, just off the main street. It’s a Bracketed Italianate style home, with high ceilings, an elegant foyer, and the perfect amount of charm for your Proper Tea. They offer Proper Tea by reservation on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as lunch Tuesday through Thursday.
I went for their Proper Tea, but I decided to go on Valentine’s Day to try their special menu they curated for the holiday.
Upon arriving at our table, we saw it was already set with our teacups, saucers, plate, silverware, and fresh cut flowers alongside a menu of all the different teas.
At first I thought it was going to be hard to choose between them all, but as soon as I saw the Vanilla Chai with milk and honey, I knew I had to go for that one.
The server poured the first cup for us and left the pot at our table. It smelled like brown sugar maple oatmeal, but tasted like normal chai! Warm spices, the perfect amount of sweetness, and that hint of vanilla made for some seriously delicious tea. So much so that I ended up drinking several cups of it, and had to stop myself because I knew I was going to fill up on it before the food came if I wasn’t careful.
The first thing we were served with our first pot of tea was a chocolate chip scone:
It was served with preserves, Devonshire cream, and lemon curd.
I tried the cream on half of my scone, and the preserves on the other half. It was really tasty! Scones aren’t my favorite pastry because they always tend to be dry, but these were quite good, and especially when paired with the tea it wasn’t a problem.
There were two choices for the soup course, lobster bisque and spinach tortellini. I ordered the bisque, but got to try a bite of the spinach tortellini one, as well.
I had expected the spinach tortellini to be broth based, but I like cream based soups better anyways, so this was a pleasant surprise. While it was good, I preferred the lobster bisque, which was rich, creamy, and had a few sizeable chunks of lobster in it that weren’t overcooked at all!
After the soup, we ordered our second pot of tea, which was the Lemon Soufflé:
The Lemon Soufflé was a much lighter tea than the chai had been, since the chai had included milk and honey, and served as a refreshing palate cleanser with its mild lemony flavor. It was an ideal tea to pair with the main event:
We decided to start at the bottom and work our way up so we could finish with the signature Swan House crème puff.
On the bottom, we had quiche, prosciutto and pepperoni wrapped mozzarella, and coconut shrimp:
The quiche was warm, super herby, and wonderfully fluffy. I quite enjoyed the pepperoni and mozzarella, but I’m a much bigger fan of prosciutto than pepperoni, so that one won in my book. I also happen to love coconut shrimp, so I thought it was a great inclusion! It also had a yummy Thai chili glaze that was flavorful without being too spicy.
Onto the second tier, there was a meatball, a spinach puff, and a brie and preserves Phyllo bite:
My favorite thing about this tier was the contrast of textures. You have the perfectly moist meatball, the ultra crispy Phyllo and jammy preserves, and the golden brown, light and fluffy spinach puff bite. I could’ve a hundred more of each of these little things, they were so good!
The top tier consisted of strawberries in a fig balsamic, alongside the Swan House crème puff:
First off, can we just appreciate that beautiful little floral bowl?! That is the cutest bowl ever! I want one so bad!
Anyways, the strawberries were ripe and juicy, and the fig balsamic was no where near overpowering. Meanwhile, the crème puff, which was almost too adorable to eat, was light and airy, while the cream itself was sweet and decadent, making for the perfect bite.
As if those sweets weren’t an optimal thing to finish with, we were then given our choice of dessert! We opted for the waffle sundae, which was a Belgian waffle, topped with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream.
Oh my goodness, this thing was seriously delish. The vanilla ice cream was almost custardy in flavor and texture, with an extra decadent and rich creaminess to it. It was truly the perfect finish to this wonderful tea time!
Once we were done, we checked out the gift shop, which had an array of teapots and teacups, as well as children’s books about tea time, and lots of mugs with tea infusers! It was super cute, and the Valentine’s Day event came with a $5 off coupon to the gift shop. We were also gifted a Godiva heart shaped chocolate to take with us.
I also got a cup of tea to go, the Pear Green, which was just so nice and light and honestly an awesome thing to sip on on the drive home.
I couldn’t believe how much you got for thirty bucks a person! Plus tax and 20% gratuity was included in that price. It is a seriously great value. I ended up tipping more than what was included because everyone was so nice.
All in all, I had an amazing experience at the Swan House Tea Room, and would highly recommend going. I would truly love to go back again. Between the super kind service, the yummy food, and adorable gift shop, I had a really splendid time. Be sure to check them out on Instagram or Facebook.
Which treat looks the best to you? Which tea would you try? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!
I love white teas so i’d go for the White Chocolate Love first but then the Royal Wedding.. as it looks interestingly enough to smooth out the bitter black tea.
Obligatory traditional joke, to be ritually told at the beginning of every High Tea:
Q: Why do Anarchists only drink herbal tea?
A: Because Proper Tea is theft.
Haha, @Vian :)
Athena, this sounds seriously YUM. Even though I just finished a full dinner, my mouth is watering as I read your descriptions. Who knew vicarious high tea could be so fun – thanks for writing about your lovely experience.
Cool! This sounds (and looks) like a really cool meal. And jeez that’s a lot of mileage for thirty bucks.
Interesting to see Thai coconut shrimp show up on a tea house menu. Guess this is a “modern” place. :) (I love Thai coconut shrimp.)
I would go for the lemon souffle or another tea with no cream and not too many spices. I like my cream in my soups, and my tea tannic. :)
But the big question is: how do you pronounce “foyer”?
Delightful. It makes my moth water to read about your feast.
both teas seemed like pure magic, all the food seemed like wonderful varieties and gifts of varieties, Athena, Glad you got to have the experiences
Your tea selections sound delightful; I might have gone for the Caramel Creme Brulee.
There was a restaurant like this in German Village close to Ohio State. Sadly, that was too long ago for it to have persisted.
I love these tours of local or reasonably local restaurants that you take us on. I have been to high tea in Chicago, where of course it costs more than twice as much, and the menu was not as varied and delicious as yours was. Certainly there were no meatballs on the menu!
Big ups to the Swan House for refraining from calling this “high tea,” which tea houses in the US tend to do when they mean “fancy.” (In the UK where/when I grew up, high tea doesn’t indicate fancy at all, it’s “meat tea,” an actual meal incorporating tea that might be a bit earlier than usual suppertime.)
It’s lovely that they incorporated proteiny bits because that is an actual nod to high tea, and a nice change from the all-sweet or all-sandwich options usual in an afternoon tea.
I was intrigued. But my eye immediately went to the bit that said “$32 per person includes tax & gratuity”.
Coming from New Zealand where tipping is not the norm & list prices include all taxes by default, I am uncomfortable with USA tipping culture. So if I were to see something like this, I am more likely to give it a try.
You keep referring to “we” – did you take someone for Valentine’s Day or is that Royal “We”?
It all sounds lovely, and I love vanilla chai and green tea myself. Most of the foods absolutely sound worth trying, and I’m with you on the lobster bisque – it sounds divine.
Do you want to talk more about this? My impression was that “high tea” and “low tea” weren’t references to classiness (as you say), but about table height: high tea is served at high tables that you stand next to and is a short snack, and low tea is served at low tables you sit at and is more of a meal.
I’m a US-ian in New York and ran in to this terminology at dress-up “Victorian tea” parties and stuff like that; never been to England. I’m wondering if this interpretation is just something we made up, and maybe got it backwards?
High tea is not about the table height, but the chair height. Afternoon tea would be served while sitting on low comfortable chairs; high tea would be served to people sitting at high-backed dining chairs.
Afternoon tea is the snack (possibly a very fancy snack); high tea is possibly the main meal of the day (or possibly the main meal was at lunchtime)
British people are very confusing about meal names because they vary a lot by dialect and also by what kind of food is served.
Breakfast is the only name that really doesn’t vary.
Elevenses is very much optional, and would be a snack (cup of tea and a cake, perhaps).
Then there’s a midday meal, usually called lunch, but sometimes (especially if it’s a cooked meal and even more so when it’s the main meal of the day), dinner.
Afternoon tea at about 4pm is again a snack (sandwiches, cakes, tea). For most British people, this is a rare treat, not something you do daily.
(High) tea is a main meal usually straight after work. This can be a full cooked meal, or can be a lighter meal if they took the main meal at midday. If you eat a little later, you are more likely to call it “dinner” – and this is definitely a main cooked meal.
Supper is either a late-night snack, or is the main meal instead of high tea/dinner. It generally indicates eating relatively late.
Where I grew up, the local dialect was that “dinner” was a cooked meal and “lunch” or “tea” was a cold meal, so you could have two dinners in one day if that was how things worked out.
As a rule of thumb, the middle class tends to say “lunch” and “dinner”, the working class “dinner” and “tea”, the upper class may have lunch, tea (either a large afternoon tea or a light high tea) and supper (with supper as the main meal) or lunch and dinner (with dinner as the main meal).
Very traditionally, the meal at a wedding is a wedding breakfast (because the couple getting married would fast before their wedding and only break the fast after the ceremonies), but people mostly don’t call them that any more.
One thing I should add: among people for whom supper is a late-night snack, “come over for supper” is a euphemism. For people where it’s a normal meal, it’s a dinner party invite. This creates some very amusing misunderstandings.
Brit here, fascinated by American views on tea!
I would never call anything high tea – it’s not a phrase we use! It’s a term I knew existed, but not one we’d use over here. Low tea is definitely not a British thing and I’ve never heard of it before (unless it’s something very localised, in an area I don’t know). I’ve never heard of meat tea either.
Afternoon tea is usually about a pot/pots of tea with a selection of sandwiches (sometimes plus various cakes) and scones. It’s usually eaten at a dining table, but can be served anywhere – the type of seating is irrelevant! If you just have the tea and scones, it’s a cream tea.
Scones here are usually served with jam and clotted cream (not sure what the Devonshire cream is, but it doesn’t look like clotted cream), which is incredibly thick and difficult to spread when it’s cold. There is an age-old argument between Devon and Cornwall about whether you should put the cream or the jam on first – I put whichever is thickest on first to make life easier with spreading the second. You have to have both the cream and jam on the scones – it’s the best thing about it!
The list of teas is interesting – a lot of what’s listed there as black teas would possibly go in a fruit tea list over here – unless they haven’t listed the black tea element, and then I’d want to know whether it was assam/ceylon etc, as that would make a massive difference. In the UK you would usually get specific types of black tea as well, like assam and ceylon, as well as the house blend/English breakfast blend. English breakfast should be a blend of assam and ceylon.
I love the sound of the vanilla chai, but I’d also be fascinated about what the English Breakfast is like in the USA.
The cream puff and the waffle with ice cream top the list, I’m afraid. On the food side, the coconut shrimp looks great. We had many cream teas in our years traveling through England, with strawberries and real Devonshire cream, and their scones were definitely not as dry as the ones here usually are. Looks like a fun meal.
I have to twist my own arm to avoid saying I hate you, because what I’m really feeling is insane envy! :)
Your outing to Findlay’s Swan House Tea Room sounds absolutely wonderful. I’m hoping to arrange an outing before too long.
I very much enjoy a fancy tea service, and of the two nice tea rooms closest to me, one has not survived the pandemic shut downs, and the other is still undergoing (painfully slow due to “supply chain issues”) renovations that had just gotten started when the pandemic shut-down hit.
That sounds like an amazingly fun time! And that price is also perfectly reasonable, cheap as far as I’m concerned for an event like that.
I read this just after a meal and now I’m hungry again seeing these pics and reading your wonderful descriptions.
I can’t believe you were served all this at that price, that is an amazing bargain. If I lived in that area, I’d definitely want to try this out. Thanks for sharing this.
I’m delighted to see their china pattern is the same one I’ve been using for decades!
One reason US scones tend to be dry is that UK/Irish flour is generally softer than US flour. If you want to up your scone/biscuit game, find some Lily flour. It’s a soft flour from the US South, but you can mail order it. Don’t have Lily on hand very often, but I’ve had good luck with UK/Irish recipes that have an egg in them. “Rich scones” seems to be the term used there.
In West Coast and other states where recreational marijuana is legal, high tea is weed and tea served at 4:20 p.m.
I was just coming here to make the same joke as @Vian
So… much… sugar. Urk!
Maybe I could trade one of my bonbons for your quiche or something.
Thank you for all the wonderful pictures, Athena! I so enjoyed seeing all the dishes, and presentation of the food. It is good to know things tasted as good as they looked! I was intrigued by the variety of teas. I think I would enjoy the pear, and would have had the English Breakfast. I mostly drink black teas, and would have enjoyed seeing what their blend is.
Thank you readers, for comments on everything. I learned a great deal today about tea customs.
Saw title, thought “she doesn’t even like tea?” and then looked at the tea list.
Protip: next time you get a chance at scones and devon cream, put the cream and the jam on the scone. Probably the cream could even stand up to the lemon curd.