Category Archives: Afternoon Tea

Potters Christmas Shop and A Spot of Tea at Honeybee

An Adventure to Surrey for Holiday Shopping and Afternoon Tea

Celebrations of any sort were big at my house, and Christmas was no exception. Our house was fully decorated with a good measure of garlands, ribbon and the occasional poinsetta, and each year my sister and I would get an ornament on the night before Christmas, adding yet another decoration to the tree.  My mother has an eye for creating a festive space, and my parents home is always a welcoming space, at any time of year.

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In Ontario, where we lived until I was eight, we actually lived just down the street from a Christmas shop, so perhaps it just got into my veins at an early age, this Christmas spirit I have. So when I was asked to drop by a store entirely devoted to Christmas, I jumped at the chance and hence arrived at Potters Christmas Store in Surrey.

Potters Christmas Shop

My favourite decoration!

The owner, Ed Holden, met us when we arrived and gave us a bit of a guided tour, after which we were left on our own to peruse the aisles. It’s a good thing I had to keep an eye on the time as I could have spent a good deal of both my day and my holiday budget there.

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There were tree lights of every kind, from skulls to hello kitty, and ornaments for every possible obssession from bacon to golf. There were santa hats and turkey hats, and elves on the shelves, floors and celings.

Potters Christmas Shop

We found a Christmas tree with snow spewing out of the top, snow globes, nutcrackers galore, and hot chocolate in every flavour you could think of; everywhere you turn at Potters something catches your eye. I left with numberous ornaments, a barbeque brush, marinating sauces, and chocolate spreads but did manage to at least leave the silly hats for others.

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After working up quite the appetite we ventured on to The Honeybee Centre, where they’re serving up a festive holiday tea. The shop carries all sorts of things bee related and the cafe has a high tea available year round.

Honeybee Centre

For December  there’s a special Holiday High Tea which includes holiday flavours in the cupcake, macarons, and cheesecake, shortbread cookies, cranberry orange scones and, on the savoury side, a brie and roasted chicken panini, artichoke baguette, and a turkey and cranberry roll, all served with a choice of a variety of teas, or a peppermint honey mocha or egg nog latte should you with. There’s plenty on the plate for those suffering from post holiday-shopping starvation.

Potters Christmas Shop

If you’re up for a little adventure,  pack up a couple friends and plan on a good half day for a little Surrey-based adventure. Make sure there’s room in the car for your packages though, because I guarantee you won’t leave without at least a few decorations and stocking stuffers; you are bound to find something that you just can’t resist. Potters is open until Christmas Eve.

Chinese New Year Tea Service The Urban Tea Merchant

3 more days only! Experience the Year of the Goat with an elegant Asian inspired three-tiered platter of tea infused delights.  Offered until February 28th.

This may just be our favourite one yet!

Urban Tea Merchant

Chinese New Year Tea Service $48 per person

THE URBAN TEA MERCHANT

TWG Tea* from our extensive tea list
Veuve Clicquot Champagne add $30 LaMarca Prosecco add $12

Urban Tea Merchant

SAVOURIES 1837 Black Tea Crusted Ahi Tuna, Wasabi Mayonnaise Jade of Africa Scented Pork Belly, Eau Noir Crisp, Fennel Slaw, Apple Lobster Torchon, Tokyo Singapore Scallop Mousse Seared Sakura! Sakura! Tea Duck Breast, Marinated Cherries Weekend in Singapore Tea Stained Quails Egg, Soba Noodles, Lap Chong Sausage, Beef Broth

Urban Tea Merchant

SWEETS 1837 Black Tea Cake, White Chocolate Fruit Tart, lemon curd Magic Moment Tea Chocolate Mousse Cake Tuxedo Strawberries

Moon Festival Tea Service The Urban Tea Merchant

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The Chinese Moon Festival is on Monday, September 8 this year and until then The Urban Tea Merchant is serving up their Moon Festival Tea Service. Always a fan of afternoon tea at The Urban Tea Merchant, I was excited to mix it up a bit with the addition of Moon Cakes and a few extra Asian-influenced items on the platter.

They’ve had to expand the seating into the shop in addition to the tea salon since the tea shop is often busy, but I like the ambiance of the salon, so parked myself there. Apparently the Moon Festival is one for families as well as being a romantic one. As neither were available I sipped solo and was therefore not quite in the tradition.

I could faintly remember trying a Moon Cake before, but didn’t think too much of it. They are typically made with a rather bland red bean paste that seems to appeal to those who grew up with it. My early years were dominated with Vegemite and baked beans, and these cultural experiences were not included in my childhood culinary education.

The Moon Cakes are made by TWG and shipped out especially to The Urban Tea Merchant. There are four kinds that are all infused with teas. I preferred the Red Lantern with mixed nuts and smooth lotus paste infused with a jasmine and exotic fruit tea. The cakes are rather like a gourmet fig newton in flavour and texture. They serve slices of all four so you can sample the range before picking up some gifts.

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Red Lantern Tea is a combination of red tea and white tea, and has flavours of jasmine and exotic fruits and fruits and sweet spices. I recommend it as it’s only available at this time of year.

Moonfest at Urban Tea Merchant

Along with the cakes there are some savouries and fruit, which make it perfect for an alternative to lunch or an afternoon snack.

There’s a delightful miso-maple glazed sable fish in butter lettuce, “Dignitary’s Tea” chicken cone, chilled prawn ceviche, torchon de Fois Gras and tropical fruit.

The tea is only on until the festival is over, so I suggest acting quickly. Don’t forget your mooncakes to go for gifts; you can buy them in lots of one, two and four.  I shall try to sample a few more around town this year.

 

Sakura Tea With Urban Tea Merchant

IMG_3176While the blossoms are almost gone from the trees of Vancouver, there’s still time to celebrate Sakura at the Urban Tea Merchant with their seasonal Sakura Tea Afternoon Tea service available until April 30, 2014.  The tea merchant is tucked into a courtyard on Alberni Street with views of the colourful blossoms and sports a tea room classed up with the addition of white tablecloths and a tea pot fountain.

Start with the Seasonal Teas, the Sakura! Sakura! tea described as “an ode to spring, a fragrant TWG blend evoking Kyoto’s most celebrated season. A scattering of cherry blossoms and green tea yields a most aromatic and elegant fragrance.”  The White Spring Tea is also available for a brief time in the spring; this white tea has lively floral notes. The Tea Party Tea is another favourite  it’s a black tea inflected with notes of candied sweetness and the Paris to Singapore is pairs well with the tea service, a green tea enhanced with fragrant cherry blossoms and red fruits. IMG_3178

Chef Michael Riley is now behind the kitchen creations offered at the Urban Tea Merchant and there’s been a few changes in the menu since I sampled it in 2012. The tea is $38 per person with an extra $30 for Veuve Clicquot Champagne and another $15 if you’d like to add some Northern Divine Caviar to the tray. We’ll certainly be returning for Urban Tea Merchant’s new complete Caviar Service shortly.

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For the Sakura Tea Service there’s a plentiful selection of savoury and sweet items, all arriving at once smartly placed on a glass tray in a pleasing arrangement.

miso-maple glazed sable fish in butter lettuce
“Dignitary’s Tea” chicken cone
smoked salmon ribbon with ponzu jelly
“Red Chai” beef carpaccio with horseradish foam
“Singapore Breakfast Tea” seared tuna tataki
TWG Tea macaron
“Sakura! Sakura!” dessert sushi
“Matcha Nara” madeleine
“Rum Tea” pecan tart

Once again the miso maple sable fish reigns supreme, but the new tuna tataki gives it a run for it’s money. The dessert sushi was less of a hit, being a bit dry, but the pecan tart is a fine example of this delicious sweet. The service here is always spot on and you’ll be hard pressed not to leave with a few teas, tea macarons or some tea jellies for home tea parties.

Xi Shi Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea

IMG_2233Chinese New Year may have come and gone, but until March 13, 2014 you can still enjoy afternoon tea at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver’s Xi Shi Lounge.

We love the modern lounge of Xi Shi and their Blue Willow China set; hanging out there on a rainy afternoon just feels right. The hotel has switched up the room a bit for the month to give it with some nods to Chinese culture and there’s even live classical piano on the weekends.

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We started with the special Jasmine Blossoming Tea, which is $5 extra, although there are many delightful options from the regular tea menu. However, watching the magical manner in which the blossoming tea blooms is worth the splurge and you can enjoy many many cups from the same pot.

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On the savoury tray of the afternoon tea platter the usual sandwiches had been replaced with BBQ Pork Brioche Buns  filled with tasty pork and a crunchy cabbage, a Curried Tofu Wrap and Crispy Duck Spring Rolls filled with duck, radish and carrot. The lovely Smoked Salmon Bagels were still present as well.

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The scones are some of our favourites in the city and we’ve been known to pack some to go. This time these flaky, moist and buttery delights came in orange and regular this time around with the usual strawberry and marmalade preserves, and Devonshire cream.

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Atop the tray was a Green Tea Opera Cake, a Coconut Rice Cake, which is more like a jelly and very delish, Egg Tarts and on the side Black Sesame Dumplings in Ginger Syrup.  We took some of these to go as the tray is filling even if you do sit and enjoy the experience over an hour or two, which is the only way to do it!

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The tea available daily from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for $38 with the Signature Jasmine Blossoming Tea available for an extra $5 until March 13, 2014.

Take a Break from Shopping with The Urban Tea Merchant

IMG_1140Who doesn’t love afternoon a good long afternoon tea break ?  It is the perfect pause from holiday shopping; a chance to relax, check over your list and re-energized. Now on at The Urban Tea Merchant is their very special Holiday Afternoon Tea Service.  Cosy into their comfortable chairs at white tablecloth-set tables and choose your favourite tea or treat yourself to Champagne of Tea-infused Prosecco; if in doubt they have a tea sommelier to assist you.

The tea tray will arrive and you’ll want to linger over the vast array of carefully crafted tea-infused goodies, both sweet and savoury.

mimosa

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We started with the Sweet France Tea Mimosa and delved into the savouries, favouring the tuna tartare with quail eggs and the chicken Lapsang Souchong chicken cone.

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The baked scones are delightfully flakey and come with the necessary Devonshire Cream and tea-infused jelly and the salted caramel pudding was devine.  We came hungry and left with some sweets for later.  Excellent way to take a moment away for yourself.  Bonus if you bring a romantic partner as there’s something quite sexy about afternoon tea together.

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There’s a ton of excellent gift ideas for all budgets in the store itself, so be sure to take time to browse through the displays.

48 per person with Veuve Clicquot Champagne add 30 Tea-infused Prosecco add 12 Sweet France Tea Mimosa add 10

Savouries
“Kukicha” braised beef
“Lapsang Souchong” chicken cone
“1837 Black Tea” marinated beets, goat gouda
“Race Day” tuna tartare, quail eggs
“Magic Flute” roast turkey breast, fig jam
smoked salmon ribbon with ponzu jelly
Sweets
“Miraculous Mandarin” salted caramel pudding
“Red Christmas & Spice Route” fruit paté
“Magic Christmas” butter cookie
“Camelot” pumpkin tart
fresh baked scone with devon crème & tea-infused jelly

SALONTEA

Salontea Canada

I have a thing for the ritual of afternoon tea.  Something about taking a break and snacking on mini this and thats alongside a good pot or two of tea just does it for me.  It’s an especially good time to catch up on friends happenings, spill a little gossip and all this comes without a hangover.  This spring when Tracy Stern SALONTEA  opened South Granville, I and other tea lovers had another spot to enjoy the process at 3010 Granville Street.

Sarah Ambrose is the woman behind this boutique.  She saw SALONTEA President, Tracy Stern on Bravo Television and was drawn to the story of the tea and tea parties. She contacted Stern, they formed a partnership and she now distributes the extensive selection of teas, accessories and tea beauty care throughout Canada as well as running the tea boutique.

The tea house has more than a dozen estate blended teas and customers can enjoy daily tea service alongside baked goods sweets, salads and sandwiches.  Also available at the boutique: signed-copies of Tracy Stern’s popular book, ‘Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties with Recipes for Every Occasion, from Fabulous Showers to Intimate Gatherings’.

Vancouver SALONTEA hours are 10am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 5pm weekends & holidays.

The room is bright and airy, filled with brilliant orange and pink and balanced out with a good slap of white.  I sampled a number of items they put together for me.

Salontea Canada

Scone selection (changes seasonally)- house made cheddar cheese, raspberry and white chocolate or raisin scones served are all served with with Devon Cream and jam

Salontea Canada

 

Salontea Canada

Sandwiches include:

Vegetarian on Multi Grain – lettuce, Swiss cheese, avocado, tomato, cucumber, red onion and salt and pepper with light mayonnaise as a base

Ham and Swiss on Multi Grain – thin sliced black forest ham layered with slices of Swiss cheese served with a grainy mustard spread, lettuce, tomato and cucumber

Steveston Blend on Croissant – Grilled chicken, artichoke, chopped gherkins, red onion and tangy, grainy mustard vinaigrette

 Salmon Salad Wrap – Sockeye salmon, green onion, freshly chopped dill, thin sliced red onion, light mayonnaise, lemon zest and lemon juice

Curry Chicken Salad on Croissant – grilled chicken, green onion, freshly grated ginger, red onion, light mayonnaise, curry spices and fresh cilantro

Salontea Canada

Salads on the menu:

Quinoa Greek Salad – the perfect, healthy take on a classic Greek dish

Coconut Mango Chick Pea Salad – an Ambrose family favourite that is surprisingly filling, fresh and tasty!

Sarah’s Spring Mix – spinach, goat cheese, almond slivers, seasonal fruit slices tossed in our house vinaigrette

Salontea Canada

Great selection of teas served up in modern glasses.
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Lots of sweets including:Mini Cupcakes (assorted flavours)Macarons by Kitchening With Carly (assorted fresh seasonal flavours and monthly special tea-infused Macarons exclusive to SALONTEA made using loose tea)Cheesecake bites (change daily) Delicious bite-size morsels of cheesecake goodnessLemon Bars – lemon bars topped with fresh seasonal berries

Brownies – chocolate caramel brownies to satisfy your sweet tooth ($3.50 each)

Mini Mousse (currently featuring a mango and white chocolate mousse with fresh mint and raspberries in an individual cup)

Salontea also hosts tea parties and has special Tea Party-only menu ideas 

  • Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with fresh dill and cream cheese
  • Pickled Ginger, Cucumber and watercress, sour cream
  • Mini curried chicken croissants
  • Mini ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches on ciabatta
A perfect place to stop in and take a break from shopping, unwind, catch up with some friends and grab a lunch or have your own little tea party.

Afternoon Tea at Fleuri Restaurant at The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver

Afternoon Tea is something I adore.  It means catching up with friends and enjoy a pot of tea, savories and sweets.  Who doesn’t enjoy little tea sandwiches, cupcakes or variations of depending on who is hosting the tea and what the theme is; there are endless possibilities.

After The Sutton Place Grande Hotels Group bought The Meridian Hotel (now the Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver), the management implemented new events to increase local traffic to the dining areas, and afternoon tea at the Fleuri Restaurant was born.  The tea is served daily from 2:30pm until 5:00pm, except Sundays, when it’s served from 3:00pm until 5:00pm.

The custom of drinking tea originated in England when Catherine of Bragança married Charles II in 1661 and brought the practice of drinking tea in the afternoon with her from Portugal. While living in Woburn Abbey, Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford is credited as the first person to have transformed afternoon tea in England into a late-afternoon meal rather than simple refreshment.  I thank them both.

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At Fleuri you’ll choose your tea from the selections from Tea Leaves loose tea selection.  Sandwiches are made to order and therefore incredibly fresh.  There’s plenty of them, this is a generous tea service, priced at $28.

Afternoon Tea at Sutton Place Hotel

Green Pea Shoots, Endive, Cucumber & Cream Cheese

Green Pea Shoots, Endive, Cucumber & Cream Cheese

Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Capers

Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Capers

Ham and Cheese Mini Croissant

Black Forest Ham & Brie with Mini Croissant – a buttery little number

Tuna atop Brioche

Raspberry Chicken Brioche

Strawberries in Sabayon

Strawberries in Sabayon

Orange Cupcake

Orange Cupcakes 

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Dome

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Dome

Smores Spoon

Smores Spoon

Blueberry Scones with Devonshire Cream

Blueberry Scones with Devonshire Cream and Assorted Preserves

Afternoon Tea at Sutton Place Hotel

The Urban Tea Merchant Sakura Westcoast Afternoon Tea Service

SakuraThe Cherry Blossoms are here and Vancouver is celebrating with its very own Cherry Blossom Festival from April 5-28.  Although not an official event of the festival, The Urban Tea Merchant has one of the most culinary tempting offerings in honour of the blossom, its Sakura Westcaost Afternoon Tea Service is an ideal way to spend part of an afternoon or early evening.  Until the end of April Chef Michael Batoux has created a unique menu featuring Japanese flavours with west coast ingredients such as smoked salmon, sable fish, veggie rice rolls and green tea-infused melon cubes.

The Urban Tea Merchant recently partnered with TWG Tea, a luxury tea brand offered exclusively at their tea shops. Along with traditional teas, TWG Tea infuses their tea with fruits, flowers and spices from around the world.  TWG Tea also offers tea pots candles and tea gift sets for everyday treats and gifts, so make sure you take time before or after tea to peruse the storefront.

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The Sakura! Sakura! tea is now available at The Urban Tea Merchant to celebrate the cherry blossoms.  It’s described as “an ode to spring, a fragrant TWG blend evoking Kyoto’s most celebrated season. A scattering of cherry blossoms and green tea yields a most aromatic and elegant fragrance.”

Urban Tea Merchant

The Tea Party Tea is another favourite for afternoon tea as it works well well with the tea cakes and sandwiches; it’s a black tea inflected with notes of candied sweetness.  Another of my favourites is the Paris to Singapore, green tea enhanced with fragrant cherry blossoms and red fruits – perfect for the season.

Urban Tea Merchant - Sakura Westcoast Tea Service

I am pretty much addicted to afternoon tea these days. I love the ritual of sipping tea and munching on small bites.  It relaxes me without my usual alcoholic fix and seems to energize me and prepare me for the remainder of the day.  Positive energy and tea seem to go hand and hand and this is an addiction that even my doctor approves of.  Urban Tea Merchant is definitely one of my very favourite tea spots in the city, and their Sakura Westcoast Tea sampling is a nice change from the tea sandwiches that are served with the other tea services they offer, although I will still be back for these tasty bites another time.

The Sakura Westcoast Tea Service is 30 per person and you can sample it while sitting in the salon looking out at the blossoms.  It includes:

Tea Sommelier’s choice of chilled white tea
Sweets tea-infused macaron, chevron strawberry, chocolate truffle & fresh exotic fruit

Urban Tea Merchant - Sakura Westcoast Tea Service

Open-faced smoked salmon & wasabi aioli with in-house ponzu jelly

Urban Tea Merchant - Sakura Westcoast Tea Service

Miso-maple glazed sable fish wrapped in butter lettuce

Urban Tea Merchant - Sakura Westcoast Tea Service
Spring rice roll with honey & balsamic, shiitake mushroom and crisp vegetables
Japanese fish crackers, crisp soba noodles with tangy seaweed salad and sesame crumble
Edible spring flowers, green tea-infused melon cubes

I came starving and was more than full after the tea.  Plenty of sweet and savoury treats.  Only until the end of April so get there before the blossoms and the tea are gone.