Babingtons, an English Tea Room right by the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, has thrived since 1893 and even today is considered a must stop in tourist guidebooks. It was started by two young English ladies, Isabel Cargill and Anna Maria Babington, who opened a tea and reading room with their life savings of 100 pounds.
Babingtons has been open for over 125 years and even remained so during WWI & WWII, closing only briefly on Liberation Day as staff couldn’t reach the tea room because of the chaos in the streets. While Babingtons has temporarily shut its physical doors, for now, they are still open via their online shop and can ship. Readers can browse products at https://www.babingtons.com/it/categories/25474-t. Babingtons is alive and well online and looks forward to re-opening as soon as possible.”
At the top of three steps leading from the front room to the second room, Miss Babington or Miss Cargill would sit behind the counter, with their little dog at their feet. From this position, they could keep an eye on both rooms while being close enough to the kitchen to ensure that the infusion of the tea and the baking were being carried out correctly. They insisted that it be British in every way from the food to the décor. Keep in mind, at that time, the only place you could purchase tea was in a pharmacy. They had everything shipped over from Britain and remained true to keeping it authentic. Family decedents still run Badingtons to this day. What is the secret to their success? Could it be the prime location, or the famous English Breakfast, or the enticing Afternoon Tea?
As always, hotcakes, cakes, and pastries are all made on the premises. Hot buttered scones, muffins, tea cakes, and toast were and are the main items on the menu, also plum cake, sponge cakes, and chocolate cakes.’ Some of the recipes came from Mrs. Beeton’s celebrated 1861 Book of Household Management, still in print in the present day.
Whatever the case maybe they are still developing new products and thriving in 2020,
125 years and still going strong. They also do their sourcing and blending to satisfy their customers’ tastes.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s to consider yourself a well-educated English gentleman, you had to invest in traveling to Europe, and Rome was a must-see on that list of romantic adventures. Nineteenth-century guidebooks talk of a Hotel de Londres, a Hotel d’Angleterre, a Hotel des Iles Britanniques, and a Hotel Brighton. Later a Hotel Vittoria was opened, to pay homage to the Queen. With their position in the Via Due Macelli, Anna Maria and Isabel were in the heart of the so-called ‘British Ghetto.’
If you ever go to Rome, you will not have trouble finding foods that will tempt even the most finicky of eaters. Babingtons Tea Rooms offers such a great variety of British temptations and then tops them off with a great pot of tea. Babingtons is staying current by developing a new herbal tea line with the packaging from renowned London designer Marcello Minale. The monochrome tins show the famous travertine plaque that has adorned Babington’s Palazzo on the Spanish Steps for 125 years.