Afternoon Tea at the Royal York
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Sometimes life gets so busy, you feel like your head is spinning and even if you could add a couple extra hours in each day, you still wouldn’t be able to finish everything on your to-do list. This was one of those weeks. It just seemed that Adam and I were both running around like crazy with work; all while the laundry and dishes at home kept piling up higher and higher. I have to admit, it was temping to cancel our weekly date to get caught up on household chores, but we started this project to spend more quality time with each other and this week we needed it more than ever. The dishes and laundry could wait another day.
To completely counter our hectic work week, we decided to spend Sunday afternoon at much slower pace, and made an afternoon tea date at the prestigious Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.
According to the Royal York, Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is often credited with the invention of afternoon tea in the 1800’s. Traditionally dinner was not served until 8:30 or 9:00pm and the Duchess often became hungry in the afternoon. She began ordering a small meal of bread, butter, cakes, tarts, and biscuits to be brought secretly to her boudoir. When she was exposed, she was not ridiculed as she had feared, but her habit caught on and the concept of a small meal of niceties and tea became popular and eventually known as “afternoon tea”.*
As a complete Jane Austenite, I love everything to do with 19th century England. This date was perfect. We dressed up and (at least I) got to pretend we were stepping back in time to a place that seemed much simpler.
The Royal York is one of the loveliest places to enjoy afternoon tea in Toronto. The hotel is where Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth stays when she is in Toronto. The Liberty bar is the perfect setting; with mismatched flowered china, beautiful bouquets and towers stacked with sandwiches filled with smoked salmon, turkey, cucumber, and champagne goat cheese; along with strawberry tarts, and of course, scones, cream and jam. I felt like royalty! This was just the type of date we needed after a long week.
If you have never treated yourself to afternoon tea, I would highly recommend it!
- Afternoon tea is usually served at five-star hotels and posh cafes. Prices can get quite expensive so do your research before you go.
- Don’t feel like spending the money to go out for afternoon tea? Check out these afternoon tea recipes to create your own 19th century experience at home.
- Turn off your cell phone and pretend you are from a time when work couldn’t get a hold of your 24/7. Enjoy!
* Outside of the UK most people refer to afternoon tea as high tea, which technically, is incorrect. Beginning in the 1800’s afternoon tea was typically served between 2-5pm and consisted of loose tea, finger sandwiches, clotted cream and scones, and pastries. High Tea was typically consumed between 5-7pm and consisted of hot dishes such as shepards pie or fish and chips, followed by cakes, bread, butter and jam. Traditionally high tea was eaten by middle to upper class children (whose parents would have a more formal dinner later in the evening) and labourers and miners when they came home from work.
Photos taken from the Royal York website.
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