• Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress

    June 26, 2009

    Enjoying afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress may have been the highlight of my entire Victoria vacation! We almost didn’t have tea because it’s a tad on the expensive side, but I’m so glad that Mal and I decide to indulge in one of Victoria’s grandest traditions.

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    For almost a century, the majestic lobby of this landmark hotel has played host to England’s most beloved ritual – the taking of Afternoon Tea.

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    Afternoon Tea is served in the elegant Tea Lobby, which overlooks Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbor. The atmosphere is relaxing and not as “stuffy” as I expected.

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    The service was spectacular, too. Our server was upbeat, friendly, attentive, and very accommodating. He even gave us some tea to take home with us!

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    Mal and I lucked-out with a lovely table with cushy chairs right by the window overlooking the front lawn and harbor.

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    Before we even ordered our tea, fresh strawberries topped with Chantilly cream were served to our table. The Chantilly cream was light and subtly sweet. It was a nice compliment to the sliced strawberries.

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    The menu listed a number of freshly brewed tea options. Mal chose Earl Grey while I chose the Empress Blend.

    The Empress blend is a selection of seasonal, quality teas, created exclusively for The Fairmont Empress by the Metropolitan Tea Company. With components from Assam (thick malty and full bodied), Kenya (floral-like flavor and a golden coppery infusion), South India (superb fruity and sprightly flavor), Ceylon (airy, almost piquant flavor), and China (burgundy depth with light oaky notes), it is truly one of the finest blends in the world.

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    I enjoyed the Empress Blend quite a lot. It had tons of full-bodied flavor.

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    I also loved all of the goodies that were served along with the tea. I tried at least a bite of everything.

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    Pastries:

    • Battenburg-Vanilla and Chocolate Sponge Checkerboard wrapped in marzipan
    • Chocolate Cake-Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Butter cream, topped with Ganache
    • Lemon Tart- Lemon Curd with Berry Garnish
    • Shortbread- Earl Grey Tea
    • Marble Chocolate Tulip- a cherry hidden under milk and white
    • Chocolate in a Chocolate Tulip Cup

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    Scones:

    • Freshly baked raisin scones served with heavy cream and strawberry preserves

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    Sandwiches:

    • Smoked Salmon Pinwheel
    • Mango and Curried Chicken
    • Carrot and Ginger (cream cheese)
    • Cucumber with light Horseradish Mayonnaise
    • Multigrain Crostini topped with mixed Mushroom Pate, drizzled with Truffle Oil (open-faced)

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    Everything was incredibly delicious! My favorites were the Vanilla and Chocolate Sponge Checkerboard wrapped in marzipan, the Carrot and Ginger cream cheese sandwich, and the Crostini topped with mixed Mushroom Pate, drizzled with Truffle Oil. I was in heaven with each of these selections!

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    From my very first glimpse of the Tea Lobby to my final sip of Empress Blend tea, my experience was truly authentic and memorable. Afternoon Tea is an absolute “must do” for anyone who visits Victoria! Loved it!

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    { 26 comments… read them below or add one }

    Emily (Healthy Fit Mama) June 25, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Oh my gosh – all of those goodies look amazing! What a fun time!

    Reply

    Meghan@traveleatlove June 25, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Looks amazing! You should try the holiday tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel. It’s similar and comes with a glass of Veuve Cliquot :)

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    Meg C. June 25, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    WOW! That looks fab. all those treats! so cool that you got to do lots of foodie stuff on your trip.

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    Marianne June 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I think I’m going to have to convince someone to take me to tea before I move back to the mainland in August. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for so long, and never been to afternoon tea.

    PS – if you are looking for more tea fun in Victoria, I highly recommend checking out Silk Road in Chinatown, if you haven’t found your way there already :)

    Reply

    TorontoGirloutWest June 25, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I second Marianne’s suggestion. Take home some Silk Road tea.

    Or you can also go to Murchies and take some from there. They’re both located on Government Street.

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    janetha June 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    how appropriate, that today is national strawberry parfait day! looks like you are having an amazing time!

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    Jocelyn June 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    oh my goodess..that is..HEAVEN..right there..
    I really need to check this place out when I travel out there next!!

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    Bridget June 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I LOVE going for high tea!! That one looks particularly delicious! I want that checkerboard cake! You guys should try some places in Boston for tea sometime :)

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    Emily S June 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    My mom and I had tea there for my 22nd birthday. Months later we were still nursing those complementary Empress Tea cannisters! Thinking I’d make it last the whole day, I’d brew up a tea bag and make 3 good sized cups…then proceed to down the whole batch within an hour. I’m so happy you enjoyed it Tina – it’s a very special place to me too :)

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    MB June 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I want to go. That stuff looks amazing. I’d definitely need to get the fully caffeinated tea otherwise I’m sure I would put myself into a sugar coma there.

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    Christina June 25, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    omg, everywhere you went this vacation looks so good and has so much charm and originality. Great choices!

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    Erin June 25, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    OMG, this looks fantastic!! There’s a cute tearoom near my old school that I thought had fabulous tea, but your experience put it to shame. I so want to have tea where you went!
    I think traditional tea services are just so fun and that looks beyond incredible! Thanks for sharing.

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    Melissa June 25, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Oh wow Tina, that place looks AMAZING!! I would love going there!!

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    Tay June 25, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Oh my word that all looks FANTABULOUS!! I am so jealous, I want to try it all!

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    joan June 25, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    It looks so beautiful and so fun!

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    Caroline June 26, 2009 at 12:16 am

    That food is pure artwork!

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    Ashley June 26, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I love a tradition tea party!! Everything looks absolutely DELIGHTFUL!! I’m so glad you’re having a great time in Canada :)

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    jenna June 26, 2009 at 8:19 am

    thank you so much for this review!! it all looks so good!! the atmosphere looks awesome!

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    Jaime (Embracing Balance) June 26, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Isn’t the Empress just gorgeous?! Such an amazing trip back in time. I lived in Victoria and never made it there for the afternoon tea (I guess it’s hard to think of touristy in your own home town!) but I’ve always thought it would be fun and delicious. Maybe now I’ll plan to do it the next time I’m home!

    Did you and Mal check out the Bengal Lounge while you were there? The room is worth at least a peek in the evening.

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    Whitney June 26, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Afternoon tea! How delightful!

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    Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now June 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    WOW all those pictures are gorgeous! That must have been such a fun time.

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    Sarah June 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    That place looks fantastic! Love the strawberries ;-)

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    Kath June 26, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    How fun!! I love high teas :)

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    Lara (Thinspired) June 27, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Love this! Battenburg is my favorite English teatime treat :)

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    SoldOut June 28, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I see so much attention to small details

    Reply

    Tea July 6, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Very useful article carrot and green teas are healthy food and antioxidants.

    Reply

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