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Time for afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel

- April 23rd, 2013
Time for afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto.  (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Time for afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto. (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Take some time to smell the roses this spring – the roses, that is, in the King Edward Hotel’s signature jasmine, Ceylon and rose petal tea blend.

This bright, floral brew is the centerpiece of the King Edward’s afternoon tea service. Originally served every afternoon in the Ladies Parlour of this historic hotel, the tea has been a Toronto tradition for 110 years, dating back to when the hotel opened in 1903. Don your fascinator or morning coat and step back in time while catching up with a friend over the King Edward’s exclusive signature tea blend or any of the 12 loose leaf tea flavours on offer, from organic green to lemon verbena to mountain berry.

SPRING TEA MENU

Under the direction of executive sous chef Elaine Wong, the flavours of the King Edward’s tea menu subtlety shift from season to season. The new spring tea menu reflects the fresh, seasonal flavours of spring while highlighting the traditional fare expected from an afternoon tea service, like finger sandwiches, scones and madeleine cakes.

Wong said the hotel focuses on incorporating as many seasonal ingredients as possible when reinventing the menu. An egg salad sandwich that featured watercress and radish on the winter tea menu is now a light egg salad injected with the zesty flavours of lemon and dill. Where the madeleine cake burst with candied ginger and spice in the winter months, it now boasts the bold flavours of chocolate and Earl Grey tea.

Choose from 12 loose leaf tea flavours during afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto.  (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Choose from 12 loose leaf tea flavours during afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto. (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

The most popular choice among visitors is the King’s Tea ($39), served in the exquisite, elegant marble lobby of the King Edward. This service includes your choice of tea, a selection of savoury finger sandwiches and an array of delicate sweets. The decadent lightly-curried coronation chicken with mango chutney is a favourite; a burst of mango perfectly balances each bite of the creamy chicken salad. Another must-try is the medium rare beef sandwich with Stilton butter and port jelly. Tender beef is complimented by sweet port jelly and tart, crunchy leaves of arugula.

Save room for the sweets. Try scones two ways: the rich, buttery plain scone with silky Devonshire cream and house-made tart lemon curd or the denser currant scone, comparable to the traditional British version. An oh-so-sweet sugar shack maple tartlet with bourbon plumped raisins, strawberry rhubarb Eton mess and a spiced carrot cake with white chocolate cream cheese also come on the whimsical tiered dessert platter.

For visitors who, like me, prefer savoury to sweet, the pastry-free Ploughman’s High Tea ($32) is a must. This service includes all the sandwiches from the classic King’s Tea menu, as well as pates, smoked salmon scones, Stilton cheese with wine jelly and Melton Mowbray pie.

Lightly curried coronation chicken with mango chutney and medium rare beef with stilton butter and port jelly sandwiches are on the menu for afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto.  (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Lightly curried coronation chicken with mango chutney and medium rare beef with stilton butter and port jelly sandwiches are on the menu for afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto. (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

The King Edward Hotel also offers champagne tea ($59), sparkling or sherry tea ($49) and children’s tea party ($20) services. The Jester’s Tea for children age 12 and under is a guaranteed hit, featuring double-decker grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken on a stick, cupcakes and a strawberries and cream scone.

110 YEARS

The King Edward is known as Toronto’s first luxury hotel and is home to some of the most opulent, turn-of-the-century architecture, décor and suites in the city. Over the course of its 110 years, celebrities like Mark Twain, Britney Spears, Elvis Presley and Ernest Hemingway have all called the King Edward a home-away-from-home. John Lennon and Yoko Ono also stayed at the hotel and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton became engaged during their King Edward stay.

To celebrate its 110th anniversary, the King Edward is offering a special $110 room rate on bookings of two nights or more through the end of the year. A special historical display will also be unveiled on May 3, followed by a tram tour in Old Town Toronto and afternoon tea service. Guests who attend will receive a 110th anniversary commemorative spoon.

Sweets


Sweets like chocolate and Earl Grey infused madeleines and spiced carrot and cardamom with white chocolate cream cheese are on the menu at afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto. (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Wong designed a unique menu for the 110th anniversary tea ($49), to be served only on May 3. This special tea will include a Pimm’s Royal Cup, rose petal Victorian sponge cake, lemon and wild blueberry posset, peppered beef sandwiches with watercress and horseradish, smoked salmon with potted shrimp and the iconic cucumber and cream cheese sandwich. Scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves are also on the menu.

TEA TIME IN CANADA

A number of hotels across Canada offer an afternoon tea service for guests and locals alike. If you can’t visit Toronto for the King Edward Hotel’s afternoon tea, stop by one of these hotels instead. Afternoon tea also makes the perfect surprise treat for mom this Mother’s Day!

Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff: Enjoy captivating views of Banff during afternoon tea at the Fairmont. Choose your tea from a selection of 12 loose leaf flavours, all accompanied by finger sandwiches, scones and sliced fruit. Afternoon tea is available Sunday to Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 12 to 3 p.m.

Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver: Sample tea flavours from around the world as you take part in either a Japanese or English tea service. Sutton Place’s afternoon tea also includes a selection of savoury sandwiches, cupcakes, macaroons and other French pastries. Tea service runs Monday to Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Fairmont Empress, Victoria: The world famous tea lobby at the Fairmont Empress has been home to an afternoon tea service that has served celebrities, royals and dignitaries in its 100 year run. Smoked salmon, cognac pork, lemon curd tartlets and rose petal shortbread are on the menu. Tea service occurs daily from 12 to 3:45 p.m.

Sweets like sugar shack maple tartlets with bourbon plumped raisins and candied pecans are on the menu at afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto.  (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Sweets like sugar shack maple tartlets with bourbon plumped raisins and candied pecans are on the menu at afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto. (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montreal: Indulge in a traditional English tea in the heart of French Canada. Chicken and watercress sandwiches, strawberry tarts and pistachio macaroons are complimented by your choice of tea. Afternoon tea is served Monday to Saturday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION

The King Edward Hotel is located at 37 King St. E. in Toronto. Afternoon tea is available Friday through Sunday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. See thekingedwardhotel.com for reservations and contact 416-863-4125 to book the anniversary “tea and tram ride” event.

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1 comment

  1. Mike Smith | April 24, 2013 at 8:55 am

    What about Fairmont Chateau Laurier ? It is worthy of being in this article too !

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