September 16, 2010

A Real Princess Tea!

My Mom helped us end the summer by joining us the week of Labor Day. We decided to book the Clipper and make it a three generation girls' trip to Victoria!

The highlight of our trip was high tea at The Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Here you can see on the second page what the girls treats looked like... menu!
Afternoon Tea is served in the elegant Tea Lobby, which overlooks Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

Before the tea, fresh strawberries topped with Chantilly cream were served to our table. Shelby licked the bowl clean, and Anna Lee devoured every drop of cream she could manage without the slightest strawberry seed touching her lips.

Mom and 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.

My Mom caught the look on Shelby's face when the goodies arrived...thank goodness. Is this pure delight, or what?!

Anna Lee was a perfect lady, and we used fancy words just like Nancy would have while we enjoyed our tea and snacks.

So, the history behind taking afternoon tea, according to the Empress:
The relaxing and enjoyable tradition of Taking Afternoon Tea has been an unremitting love affair at The Fairmont Empress, since it’s opening in 1908.

In eighteenth century England, tea mania swept the country. Tea was sipped by all level of society, becoming the beverage of choice for breakfast and after the main meal of the day. Prior to the introduction of tea in Britain, the English had two main meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast consisted of ale, bread and beef, while dinner was a substantial meal at the end of the day.

Anna Maria, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, (1788-1861) experienced a “sinking feeling” in the late afternoon. Embracing the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for additional bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course tea. The summer ritual proved so popular; the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to friends to come for “tea and walking of the fields.”

The practice of inviting friends to “take tea in the afternoon,” was soon adopted by other hostesses. A customary pattern of service emerged.

The Empress Tea china was originally presented to King George V in 1914 upon the opening of the Booth factory in Stoke, England. The china was first used by The Empress in 1939 for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The pattern is now produced by Royal Doulton exclusively for The Fairmont Empress, and is available for purchase in The Fairmont Store, adjacent to The Tea Lobby.

Here are the delicious goodies my Mom and I enjoyed:


•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


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


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

Although the experience costs a pretty penny, it was truly authentic and memorable. They were so wonderful to Anna Lee and Shelby, and because of that the girls were on their best Princess behavior. Afternoon Tea is an absolute “must do” for anyone who visits Victoria! I know we loved it, all three generations of us!