I just had the loveliest afternoon tea! I have heard that no visit to Victoria is complete without a visit to the Fairmont Empress Hotel for their famed Afternoon Tea. The experience doesn’t come cheap at $50 per person… but for me, it was enchanting.
High tea is just a luxurious experience and truly takes you back in time. Especially at the glorious old Fairmont Express Hotel. When you enter into the tea room, the beautifully restored old furniture and the lovely fine china plates and tea cups really set the stage. Not to mention the live piano playing beautifully setting the ambience.
When I arrived, my solo dining did not go unnoticed (in a great way). The hostess made sure I was sitting at a window table looking straight out into the harbour across the street, so I could people and harbour-watch throughout my tea. She also gave me a copy of a beautiful history book on the Fairmont hotel, with lovely photos to flip through.
The service was equally enchanting. My server Marilyn had a lovely speaking voice and always called me “Ms. Jack” as she was asking questions or explaining the menu. She just made it feel fancy! She began by bringing me strawberries and cream while I perused the menu to pick my choice of tea. I chose the hotel Empress Blend with milk. That’s how I always like my tea – very english – I picked that up from my grandparents and parents, who have been drinking tea after every dinner for as long as I can remember. I think that’s part of why this high tea concept feels so special to me.
Afternoon tea has a set food menu that comes in a lovely old-fashioned three-tier plate contraption (I know that isn’t the proper term!). The bottom tier has finger sandwiches – a smoked salmon pinwheel with dill cream cheese, ham with dijonnaise, egg salad croissant, cucumber and ginger marscapone and my personal favourite the moroccan spiced chicken on marble rye.
The middle tier is a lovely raison scone with strawberry jam and cream. And the top tier is a mix of cakes and chocolates – grand marnier chocolate cake, chocolate tea cup, vanilla bean shortbread, salted caramel coffee delice and a lemon curd tartlett. No, I did not finish everything.. but I came pretty close!
Part of the joy of the afternoon, was to slowly sip my tea and nibble on the specialties in front of me, as I watched life going by outside (serenaded by the lovely pianist throughout).
I thought of the last time I was at high tea in Scotland with my mother (a very special memory for both of us). I thought of my late Grandmother and what a kick she would get out of me being there. I thought of all my family and all of my blessings. It was an hour of gratitude and loveliness … and you can’t put a price tag on that! Completely worth the $50 to me.