Hats and High Tea: Tattle Tell’s Tea Room opens in Natchez

Published 10:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Beaumont House, built in 1830, will host what is likely Natchez’s first tea room in years.

“Tattle Tell’s Tea Room” was all the rage in Oleta Forse’s home in Texas, just outside of Houston.

“We were named one of the Top 10 Tea Rooms in Texas,” she said, adding, “Try saying that five times fast.”

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Forse said she “fell in love with Natchez” 35 years ago on a visit and now calls it home.

“One of the things I love about it here is that everyone is so nice and kind,” she said.

Shortly after moving to the Beaumont House in June, she opened it as a Bed and Breakfast and joined the Natchez Bed and Breakfast Association and Pilgrimage Garden Club.

When word of her Texas tea room spread through the organizations and to Forse’s other friends in the community, she was urged by them to start one again in Natchez.

Last week on Nov. 2 was the official opening of Tattle Tell’s Teas, and the first opening of Forse’s “high teas.” This includes a special selection of plated hors d’oeuvres from high-end recipes she has gathered, such as Victoria tart with lemon curd, an award-winning chicken salad from an 1800s recipe, cucumber sandwiches, blueberry scones with honey butter and an egg salad recipe from the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans along with some of Forse’s own recipes.

She doesn’t put it all together alone. “The Boss” of the kitchen is Linda Jones, a Natchez native who has been a professional cook for 40-plus years, Forse said.

Meanwhile, Forse’s close friend Ed Haley answers when guests ring the “southern-bell” — a bell in the shape of a woman in a hoopskirt — at their table to refill their tea cups.

Each table is set with a diverse collection of tea sets and plates “from all over,” Forse said. She added some were gathered in her own travels. Others, like the “Old Country Rose” tea set with elegant floral patterns printed on the pieces, had been handed down through generations in Forse’s family, she said.

One of the highlights of Tattle Tell’s is the hats, Forse said. Guests are welcome to bring their favorite hat or choose from dozens of vintage hats in Forse’s collection, many of which are embellished with mesh, feathers beads or flowers in varying sizes and colors to fit her guests’ unique style.

“With both little girls and with women, when the hat goes on and they see themselves in the mirror, a transformation happens. It’s like a mask slips off and they are able to be themselves,” she said.

Forse said Tattle Tell’s Tea Room is currently open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and it a great way to celebrate a birthday or socialize with friends.

Since opening, Forse said things have gone well as she has hosted several out-of-town guests and a few friends from the Garden Club. Forse has plans to later open up a dress up tea party for little girls, possibly after the holidays, she said.

Tickets to Tattle Tell’s Tea Room are $29 each and can be reserved online at thebeaumonthousenatchez.com or by calling Forse directly at 832-317-7171.