Tea for Two (times 2)

Shout out to Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford for bringing to the world the delightful tradition of Afternoon Tea. I’ve taken part in the popular pastime twice recently, and thought I’d share with you my experiences.

First we’ll visit the Fairmont Hotel at Vancouver Airport (YVR) with its dramatic and sparkly entrance.

The restaurant faces several of the airport’s gates, making it fun to watch the comings and goings of travellers while sipping your tea.

The decor is minimalist, with the most basic of floral arrangements I’ve ever seen in my life.

I love the texture of the water glasses and contemplated stealing one and entering a criminal life on the run. Isn’t it gorgeous?

To start, we were served a warm canape of crispy Parmesan polenta with tomato jam. It was a nice surprise, but I don’t know that there’s a delicate way to eat out of those massive spoons.

Then our tiered tray arrived, as did the will to be calm and not start inhaling everything at once. One must show restraint during tea, you see.

Pear & Ginger Scone | Sweet Butter Scone (homemade fruit preserves, Devonshire cream)
Local Mushroom (truffle, havarti, rosemary french toast) | Hot Smoked Salmon (salmon caviar, dark rye, charred scallion creme fraiche) | Curried Coronation Chicken (caramelized fig, pear and ginger chutney, brioche) | Beef Carpaccio (balsamic, quince preserve, grilled focaccia)
Pumpkin Cheesecake (cranberry gel) | Apple Mousse Tatin (caramel apple) | Dark Chocolate Cupcake (Satsuma orange) | Carrot Cake (cream cheese ganache)

And because I was with a friend to celebrate her birthday, they also served a lovely Pear Creme Brûlée. With two spoons, thankfully.

It was my first time having afternoon tea at this particular Fairmont Hotel, and I did enjoy myself. You can regularly find a deal on Groupon, so look for that to save considerably if you intend to go yourself.

Okay, now we’re heading across town to Neverland Tea Salon in Kitsilano. Very different to the modern clean lines of the Fairmont, Neverland is an eclectic mix of fun and whimsy with Royal Albert China, hanging tea cups, chandeliers and damask.

The tiered tray arrived just in time, as I was hungry after having skipped breakfast to be gluttonous without guilt.

Citrus Scone (with Devonshire cream and house-made strawberry jam)
Thai Red Curry Egg Salad (mango chutney, red pepper, red onion, cucumber) | Mushroom Truffle Duxelle (served warm on a croissant with Port Salut cheese) | Cucumber (lemon-herb Mascarpone, arugula) | Hot Capicola (served warm on ciabatta with arugula pesto, fontina cheese, roasted cauliflower) |Tarragon Chicken Salad (candied walnuts, salt roasted pears, pickled grapes)
Caramel Mascarpone & Chocolate Entremet | Coconut Tart (fresh mango salad) | Raspberry & Pistachio Mousse Dome | Cheesecake (cranberry, orange)

Neverland is fun, and a perfect setting for catching up with your girlfriends.

I am an unapologetic Afternoon Tea snob, though. So while I enjoyed the fancy and creative food offerings at each venue, I much prefer the basic egg or cucumber sandwich. And afternoon tea isn’t complete without a lemon curd tart. I could kill for some good lemon curd.

Do you enjoy afternoon tea? Where are some of your favourite places to enjoy it?

– Marla

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We’re Marla and Stephanie, two friends separated by a 12 hour drive but not much else. We love to travel. We also love food.

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