There’s no decadence quite like enjoying a high tea service. Sipping from a selection of loose leaf while sampling sweets and finger sandwiches is an English tradition that has found its footing in British Columbia. First introduced in the 1840s, the art of afternoon tea has been perfect3ed in city of Victoria has perfected, with ample options for indulging this time-honored tradition – but with a West Coast flair.
Here are five such places perfect for enjoying the spirit and flavor of high tea in Victoria.
This historic hotel has been overlooking the Inner Harbor in Victoria for over a century, and today brings in almost 100,000 visitors a year. But it isn’t just overnight guests coming to see the famed lodging: the Lobby Lounge tea service is a destination in its own right. Set to the backdrop of live classical piano and elegant decor, the tea service at the Fairmont Empress is internationally renowned, including among royalty and celebrities. Tea includes “The Empress blend,” a selection of seasonal, quality teas, created exclusively for Fairmont Empress by the Metropolitan Tea Company. When it comes to food, everything from savory and sweet dishes are on the menu, including smoked Pacific Sockeye salmon and jasmine tea tarts. For an added local experience, try a cocktail with the Victoria-made Empress Gin and watch the color change before your eyes.
A treasure trove of tea is located inside the Dining Room Restaurant at Butchart Gardens, Victoria’s world famous flower-filled destination. They offer an afternoon tea service featuring an arrangement of delicacies alongside nine loose tea options, including scones, sausage rolls, and various other savory treats. Sweet options include trifles, carrot cake, and tortes, among other options. There are also vegan and vegetarian options available, as well as services catering to children.
Another beautiful garden option for afternoon tea is inside the Abkhazi Garden, where the Teahouse serves up seasonal cuisine made from local ingredients and produce pulled directly from the garden. seasonal menus showcasing the region and garden-grown produce. Guests can indulge with petite latke with creme fraiche and spring onion, organic tarragon egg salad on marbled rye, fresh scones, and more. Tapping into the tea theme, the final course is Earl Grey, elderflower, and rouse mousse, strawberry pink peppercorn truffle, lavender Madeleine and pink lemonade slice. This afternoon tea service includes a choice of Silk Road loose tea, from one of Victoria’s top tea shops.
In the charming Oak Bay area of Victoria, three sizes of afternoon tea sets await at White Heather Tea Room. Their signature set – the Big Muckle – consists of four courses with 13 morsels (amuse-bouche, fresh scones, finger hor d’oeuvres, tea sandwiches, and more). The Not-So-Wee Tea has three courses and 11 bites, while the Wee Tea offers three courses and eight bites.
This traditional tea house is located in the historic Pendray Inn, which showcases stunning views of Victoria’s Inner Harbor. They serve a traditional afternoon tea including savory dishes like smoked salmon and capers, and Maple Leaf chicken with spinach on a ricotta roll. Sweet dishes include fresh baked white chocolate, lavender scones, and more. In addition to the TWG teas that accompany the service, a West Coast tea, vegan tea, and a children’s tea are all available.