I’m pretty sure the last time I attended a tea party, I was four-years-old and my distinguished guests included a teddy bear and a Barbie doll. So when I was invited to Afternoon Tea at Calgary’s Fairmont Hotel, I was rather intrigued but had no idea what to expect.
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Our group of six ladies was celebrating a bachelorette party, so we got all dolled up in cute dresses and heels before arriving for tea around 2 p.m. We were ushered into the elegant Oak Room which was already full—who knew afternoon tea was such a popular thing?!
After seating us, our charming server approached the table with a box full of tea, then proceeded to list them all off one by one. Maybe not a huge deal had it been stuffed with the standard Earl Grey, green tea offerings…but this was different. Instead, we were enticed by the likes of Kyoto Cherry Rose, Safari Masala Chai and Vanilla Orchid as well as an anti-oxidant blend. It made it impossible to choose just one! Fortunately you’re allowed to try as many as you like, and we were even sent home with a few extra bags.
Doing our best to imitate etiquette expert Emily Post, we tried to act like classy ladies as we prepared our tea pots, stirring in little jars of honey and rock candy-like sugar sticks. But the real test came when the food arrived—and man was there ever a lot of it! We started off with a delicious fresh fruit cocktail housed in a martini glass, soaked in Grand Marnier. Then, three towering silver trays stacked with plates full of food appeared, leaving us to wonder how six women were supposed to polish it all off!
We stared hungrily at it all, as our server romanced us with the menu. Oven-fresh vanilla scones with house made jam and cream. Sliced roast beef with horseradish crème fraiche (my favourite!). Smoked salmon pin wheels with dill cream cheese and capers. Deviled eggs.
And then there was dessert. The sweet concoctions included éclairs, macaroons, fruit tartlets and almond sponge cake. It was a crazy sugar rush that we just couldn’t stop!
Forgetting that whole lady-like thing, we stuffed our faces, occasionally pausing to breathe or exclaim “this is soooo good!” It goes without saying that despite our efforts, nine plates of food for six girls is just too much and we weren’t able to finish it all off. Luckily we were able to pack up what we didn’t finish, meaning there were some happy husbands when we got back home.
Afternoon tea was an absolute treat, and is my new go-to suggestion for bridal showers, bachelorettes, baby showers, birthdays—or just your average Saturday afternoon!
Cost: Around $35 per person. Champagne is available at an extra cost.
When: Monday through Saturday afternoons, and select Sundays.
Dress code: Smart casual (I recommend pearls!)
How to book: Reservations are required at least one day in advance.
Where: Afternoon tea is offered at numerous Fairmont Hotels & Resorts locations.
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