Darlene Foster's Blog

Tea for Two

Posted on: April 20, 2011

I had long since given up hope of being invited to tea at Buckingham Palace but recently I had an opportunity to do the next best thing – enjoy tea at The Empress Hotel in Victoria BC. The majestic Fairmont Empress Hotel, a landmark in Victoria, has been serving its renowned afternoon tea for over one hundred years to royalty, famous and not so well known individuals. I belong to the later.

Boarding a BC Ferry with a friend, we travelled from the lower mainland to Victoria, took a bus into the centre of town and arrived in time to partake of the legendary tea. It did not disappoint.

Before entering the prestigious building we were greeted by a bronze sculpture of Victoria’s most cherished citizen, artist Emily Carr. Upon being seated in the elegant tea room, we were presented with fresh strawberries in a sherbet glass topped with whipped crème, while deciding on the perfect pot of tea. After much deliberation we chose Kea Lani Orange Pineapple, a refreshing aromatic herbal blend.

Soon after, a three-tiered china server arrived at our table with a variety of delicacies artfully displayed. We had difficulty deciding where to start. The selection of dainty sandwiches was amazing; cream cheese with crated carrots and ginger, smoked salmon pinwheels, mushroom pate crostini, egg salad croissants and mango curry chicken.

The pièce de résistance was the freshly baked scones with Devon cream and strawberry jam. This is a taste you tend to dream of later. The top plate held exquisite desserts, such as pink, brown and vanilla Battenberg squares, rose petal shortbreads, lemon curd and berry tarts, and my favourite – green tea cheesecakes trimmed in dark Belgium chocolate. We tried everything. As we relaxed over our tea, with a stunning view of the harbour and Queen Alexandra looking down from the mantel, we felt like royalty, or at least, like friends of royalty. We were certainly treated royally.

A commemorative box of Empress Tea was presented to each of us to take home as a reminder of our fabulous experience. It proved to be a lovely outing and an unforgettable treat.

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux


8 Responses to "Tea for Two"

That looks like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to visit BC. I just wanted to let you know that you won the contest on my blog for a signed copy of The Brevity of Roses. Please send the address you would like to have it shipped to to my email candice_kennington(at)comcast(dot)net. Congratulations!

I am so thrilled to have won the book and will send you my address. Thanks so much! I do hope you get to visit BC someday soon as you would love it. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

Life’s little pleasures.

Looks like you had a wonderful time, Darlene. I love the photos. You must have felt like royalty. 🙂

Tea at the Empress (or the more modest, English Bay Tea Room) and a stroll around that part of Victoria is one of my favourite indulgences.

I do love Victoria and it is only a ferry ride away but don’t make it there very often. So it was a treat. I was lucky to have won a gift certificate to Tea at the Empress, otherwise I would not have had the chance to experience it. Next time I may try the English Bay Tea Room. Thanks for the suggestion Jacquie!

My friend and I had an excellent royal wedding tea at the James Bay Tea Room which was a lot cheaper than the Empress. But I have had tea at the Empress another time. Always a fun thing to do when you’re in Victoria.

Thanks Ruth. I will try the James Bay Tea Room another time as well. The Empress tea for two was my door prize from last year’s BCATW symposium so it was a great opportunity to check it out!

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