Afternoon tea may be a tradition we’ve borrowed from across the pond, but it’s something we certainly love to do in Canada. For decades the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has been one of the loveliest places to sit for an elegant tea service, and now they have a carefully curated themed afternoon tea program in place, with a fresh theme every few weeks.
Zeroing in on July 1, and Canada’s big 150th birthday, it’s no surprise that the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s current afternoon tea is Canadian-themed, but this tea will surprise and delight you.
The team at the Hotel Vancouver have set up the private dining area of Notch 8 restaurant with very cool vintage Canadian travel decor, from colourful classic CP rail travel posters to the beautiful china and other treasures culled from their on-site hotel archives, including a very special Canadian flag unearthed from with the hotel’s walls.
Tea service is nothing without its tea, and the Fairmont uses their own custom blends made just for the hotel chain. Afternoon tea aficionados may already love the Empress blend, made for the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, while those looking to go the full Canadian may enjoy their special Maple Maple.
For the Canada 150 tea, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has designed a menu that essentially allows you to travel Canada coast to coast in every single bite, with a nod to the many beautiful Fairmont properties in each of those locations.
While tea can be a dainty affair, it’s maybe thanks to the heartier fare Canada is known for that this tea is quite substantial, and offers up flavours (and quantities) to appease any appetite. This isn’t your grandma’s tea!
You’ll still want to mind your manners, mind you, since this is an elegant affair, but you won’t leave hungry, thanks to the ample food, which begins with a starter of a cup of maple panna cotta and an actual (mini) boat-load of scones served with Saskatoon berry compote and birch syrup chantilly cream.
Your tiered “tower” of nibbles has everything from a petite Wagyu beef corndog (a nod to the Calgary Stampede) to a tiny Tourtiere. There’s a peameal bacon sandwich on a buttery brioche bun, and here you’ll skip the cucumber and cream cheese which is swapped out for a Montreal Smoked Meat triangle, on dark rye bread. Journey to the Maritimes with a rich and creamy lobster roll, and crab and shrimp on toast.
Where are the sweets? Don’t worry, they come in on their own board, and the array is sure to dazzle, from the chocolate dipped Nanaimo Bars to the tiny fruit tarts. There are also beaver tails, butter tarts, and even cups of mini donuts served with your own tubes of chocolate and caramel sauce if you want to do some drizzling.
Because the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver serves guests will all manner of dietary needs, if you’d prefer a vegetarian or gluten-free Canada 150 tea, they can adapt their menu with advance notice, so be sure to let them know when you make your reservation.
Canada only turns 150 once, and a delicious celebration like this special Afternoon Tea won’t go on forever. The Canada 150 Afternoon Tea runs though September 3, with daily sittings at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.
When: Now through September 3; daily sittings at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm
Where: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Cost: $59 (Children 12 and under are $29.50); for reservations call 604-662-1900 or email [email protected]