Cristina Re (of sunshine and happiness) all things sophisticated and lady like.
It is not everyday that we get to treat ourselves on indulgences. We simply do not have the time or the money. But at Cristina Re on Langridge Street, on the cusp of the increasingly popular and hipster Gertrude Street in Collingwood, it is easy to take a little time out of life to simply enjoy.
The “When a girl does” high tea at Cristina Re runs daily, varying six different experiences ranging from $49 – $70 per person. The store was established largely as a paper design store where customers can go and create their birthday or wedding invitations. The store has expanded to include high tea, during, after or independent of your paper creating activities. The sittings run for two hours.
Starting with savoury – fingers of cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on wholemeal bread, salmon and Dill on white and the most amazing chicken and mayonnaise multigrain sandwich fingers accompany mini quiches and a side salad. There are far too many to eat but why waste them. A suggestion would be to save some for later in the sitting to break up the sweetness of the remaining courses.
Next we move onto the middle tier of the three-tier curate stand; fluffy scones with raspberry jam and double cream. The scones are a substantial size and are wonderfully fresh which is hard to find in Devonshire tea stores and cafes. I opted to slather my scone in jam and a little cream but the savoury damper taste of the scones were just right and enhanced the texture of lightness with every bite.
Finally, after two hours and forty-five minutes of digesting, it had come to our attention that we still had one final tier to accomplish. The staff are more than happy to provide sweet little white paper ‘doggy bags’ to take home the most delectable array of cupcakes, macaroons and Belgian chocolates. With a range of varying flavours, there is no way to determine what you might receive. We had passionfruit, lemon and vanilla flavoured cupcakes to share along with double chocolate, salted caramel, chocolate peppermint and passionfruit macaroons and a selection of chocolates.
The drinks menu is not as vast as the food but a range of cocktails are available and can be ordered in addition to your tea fair. Moet is served by the glass or the bottle and is inclusive of some of the afternoon tea specials, but not all. For all of the packages, two drinks per person are included in the price, offering coffee, a range of pot teas, juice and soft drinks. My espresso was very well balanced and our pot of forbidden fruit tea infused with blackberries, hibiscus and lemongrass quite literally grew pink with age.
Walking into Cristina Re is like stepping back in time and becoming a Middle American housewife where hobbies included, craft activities for the house, cooking and preparing your appearance for your husband. In some way it is frightfully scary that such a pink explosion of ladylikeness, a “ladies only” store can still exist but on some level this stereotype so many women work hard forget needs embracing for the goodness of food, alcohol and really good scones (even if the flowers are fake).