Although I am a dedicated coffee-drinker, I must admit I have been attending tea parties for a very long time. It all started when my sister received a blue and white china tea set for Christmas. We spent many hours sipping Kool-Aid from the delicate cups, always careful to crook our pinkie fingers and discuss the weather in a very genteel manner.
Unfortunately I don’t go to nearly as many tea parties as I used to but when I do, they are pretty spectacular.
For example, in 1990 I attended a tea party at Buckingham Palace. I had managed to get an invitation for myself and my husband to attend the Queen’s Garden Party and was quite thrilled to be picked out from the crowd of 6000 guests to be presented to the queen. After my private meeting with her majesty I sipped tea and nibbled cucumber sandwiches while strolling through the palace’s private gardens.
My early tea party experience served me well as I crooked my finger and discussed the weather with other guests who assumed that I must have done something very important to warrant an audience with the Queen. Sadly not – I was just fortunate enough to strike up a conversation with the right person. Goes to show the value of networking!
And of course I have had Tea at the Empress – a Victoria BC tradition that dates back more than 100 years. The delicate teacups and silver tea trays immediately transported me to an era I have only witnessed through books and movies. A highlight for many visitors to Victoria.
Most recently, I attended High Tea at Butchart Gardens. You can’t go wrong with a stroll in one of the world’s most famous gardens, a tour of the historic Butchart residence and High Tea. Finger crooking is not required but somehow seems like the right thing to do. Be sure to take time to read some of the old letters on display in the Butchart home.
Depending upon the season Butchart Gardens serves either Afternoon Tea or High Tea and yes, there is a difference. Afternoon Tea is served in spring and summer with High Tea served in colder weather. The big difference is additional hot savory items to the High Tea Tray that require the use of a knife and fork.
Check with the Accent Inn in Victoria BC for a package that includes admission to the gardens.
So whether you prefer imaginary tea, high tea or afternoon tea, I highly recommend that you attend a tea party in the near future. It’s good for the soul. Just check the internet for a list of restaurants that serve afternoon tea in the city where you live or plan to visit.
If you’re in Victoria on Feb 9th, you may want to check out the Victoria Tea Festival. And don’t worry – if coffee is your cup of tea, they have that too!
Karen England is the Regional Sales Manager for Accent Inns based out of Victoria BC.