Tradition with Italian flair.
The story starts in Rome. in 1893 two young ladies from England came to visit. Isabel Cargill came from a good family. She was the daughter of Captain Cargill, founder of the city of Dunedin in New Zealand. Her companion was Anna Maria Babington, descendant of that Antony Babington who was hanged in 1586 for conspiring against Elizabeth I. The two adventurous travellers decided to open a tearoom and reading room to cater for the expat community.
The Babingtons tearoom was an immediate success as there were plenty of tea-drinking Brits who were in need of a cuppa when on the Grand Tour. Initially Babingtons was opened in Via Due Macelli but shortly after it was moved to Piazza di Spagna, in the so-called “English ghetto”, inside the prestigious eighteenth-century building adjacent to the Spanish Steps and near what is now the Keats and Shelley Memorial House.
The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 obviously affected the tearoom, although it managed to remain open for the duration. Babingtons declined, and declined still further with the Wall Street crisis and the death in Switzerland, in 1929, of Anna Maria. Isabel’s sister, Annie, took charge and made radical changes to the room.
More changes continued over the next couple of decades, but even during the Second World War Babingtons continued in business. After the hostilities the menu was changed; however, tea always remained the cornerstone of the company. Today Babingtons is managed by the fourth-generation descendants of Isabel.
We can all now enjoy iconic Babingtons teas without dusting off the passport. Earl Grey Imperial Tea is so very English. Karha Chai Tea panders to the everlasting love of India with its warming spice. Royal White Passion Tea includes White Pai Mu Tan tea, pineapple pieces, chamomile petals, peach, pear and almond. This would be perfect with an Asian-inspired afternoon tea; it is delicious. African Nights Herbal Tea continues our journey – the perfect evening cup.
Babingtons teas might be new to you, but they are hardly the new kid on the beverage block. They have a unique range of teas and coffees as well as classic tableware. It’s a veritable emporium of gifts in the best of taste.