Saturday, March 09, 2013

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald - Afternoon Tea


As far as I know, there are only 2 places that offer traditional afternoon tea (aka high tea) in Edmonton. The Harvest Room in Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is one of them. The Royal Tea and Tour ($39/person) takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm and consists of a relaxing hour of tea sipping followed by a tour of the hotel. The food items change seasonally and during my visit in December, we had the Nutcracker Tea and the pleasure of seeing this impressive gingerbread castle display.


The dining room is simple and elegant in an old-fashioned way.


This window decorated with suspended metal kitchenware offers a glimpse into the bustling kitchen.


I was surprised that the tea came in the form of teabags. All of the Fairmont hotels in Vancouver use loose leaf tea, so I was a bit apprehensive at first. Admittedly the teabags couldn't compare with loose leaf tea and the flavour was pretty much gone after the first brew, but it wasn't too bad and I got to try a few different blends.


The palate cleanser was a fresh fruit salad martini with cranberry coulis. The fruit cubes were extra juicy from being drenched in the coulis.


The scones came next with Devonshire cream, butter and berry compote. Both the plain and apricot orange scones were fluffy and delicious, but the apricot orange offered a bit more zest with its citrus rind.


The traditional three-tiered tower arrived shortly after. Interestingly the savoury tier was in the middle, and both the top and bottom tiers were filled with sweets.


bottom tier: mincemeat tarts, macarons
I really enjoyed these little treats, especially compared to the other dessert tier which wasn't very impressive. The macarons had pretty good texture and the mincemeat tarts were filled with juicy stewed apple bits.


middle tier: lobster and caramelized fennel on endive, local and organic truffled egg salad on brioche, grilled asparagus with mushroom pate on multigrain, shaved venison loin with berry compote on French baguette crostini
I think this afternoon tea is the most "luxurious" I've had. Most other places feature finger sandwiches such as cucumber and smoked salmon, but these savoury tidbits are a grade above the rest with ingredients like lobster and venison.


top tier: shortbread cookies, creme brulee spoons
The shortbread was crumbly and not very buttery. In fact, it was more like a crispy sugar cookie. The creme brulee was even worse. There was no crunchy layer of burnt sugar; the whole thing was just an odd-tasting paste that I wouldn't even call a custard. But since I was already full from the other two tiers, I didn't really mind foregoing this tier.


After finishing the food and a couple pots of tea, our server came around and asked us to meet at the entrance in a few minutes if we wanted to join the tour. We visited the presidential suite and a few of the banquet rooms and learned about the history of the hotel. It was an informative and interesting tour and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn't done it before.

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1 comments:

Bonnie Webb on July 30, 2015 11:41 am said...

I have Celiac Disease and i was presented with a range of GF options. GROSS! the GF short bread was hard and inedible, the scones pretty much fell apart when trying to put even a bit of the cream or jam on them. They seriously need to learn about GF baking, i'll volunteer to teach them about the flours and mixture of them. I find that people who don't have to eat GF don't give a crap about consistency or texture of baked goods. A good baker can make GF taste and look like wheat flour, if they want to.

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