The Bloke and I share a special afternoon as we partake of a time honoured Victoria tradition – the fabulous Fairmont Empress high tea.
Those who know me will be aware of my total addiction to tea.
I don’t function in the mornings without it and need to maintain a definite blood/tea ratio throughout the day to sustain optimal running order. Naturally, this means that afternoon tea is a much loved ritual for me, when I get the opportunity.
So, when Expedia.ca asked me to share one of my favourite afternoon tea experiences, the memories of the fabulous Fairmont Empress High Tea I enjoyed in Victoria, Vancouver Island, were the first to spring to mind.
Established in 1980, The Fairmont Empress hotel is probably the most gracious hotel in the city of Victoria. In a commanding position overlooking the inner harbour and originally built as a terminus hotel for Canadian Pacific’s steamship line, the hotel is an iconic emblem of the city and is now designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.
The Empress has hosted royalty, celebrities and the famous from all walks of life over the years. For over a century one of their signature experiences, for the noted and the not so noted, is their splendid high tea, which is also well known as one of the most romantic date destinations in Victoria.
From the moment The Bloke and I were ushered to our window seat in the delightful Lobby Lounge, with it’s towering columns, sophisticated styling and harbor views, I knew this was going to be a special experience. In this coffee-obsessed world tea drinkers like myself often feel like second-class citizens – but that is far from the case here.
Once seated we were presented with a handsome case containing 21 loose-leaf teas from which to make our selection. The tea list includes exclusive Fairmont Empress high tea blends, distinctive green teas and a very rare Lapsang Souchong blend. All of the teas are ethically sourced and certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership – an organization working to create and support a sustainable tea industry.
Once our tea choices had been noted we were offered a glass of bubbly and shortly after that the heavenly afternoon tea was served.
The three-tiered cake stand held a selection of savoury sandwiches and tarts on the bottom, the signature Empress scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam made with fresh lavender from the rooftop garden herb garden in the middle and pastries, tarts and cake on the top. The sweet selection includes the Empress cake, a divine, customised chocolate creation, dusted in gold and with an exceptional mirror glaze.
For the next hour or so we sat back, sipping perfectly brewed tea while enjoying the view of the harbor, and indulged in a time-honoured ritual that is guaranteed to slow the pace of your day and calm the modern, fevered soul.
Eventually we had to prise ourselves out of our comfortable seats to walk off the indulgences of the afternoon before heading out to dinner. On the way out I managed to coerce one of the charming and helpful staff into letting me into the glorious Palm Court. With it’s marble floors and Tiffany-style glass ceiling, this room epitomizes the old-style class and sophistication that is the Fairmont Empress.
Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of the Fairmont Empress.
This post was written in collaboration with Expedia.ca[mc4wp_form id="16750"]