Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tea Time

During my guest's stay, we had quite a few meals out and lots of tea breaks at various tea emporiums around BC. As well as the usual Starbucks and JJ Beans dotted around the place, we also sampled tea at several other places as detailed below:

1) Murchies@Park Royal Mall
Not only is this a great shop for gifts but they do possibly the best tea latte I have ever had. I don't drink regular tea or coffee but instead usually have green tea or chai tea lattes (soy, of course). They didn't have chai latte but they had an intriguing Rooibos caramel latte that I opted for. Some tea lattes can be watery and some are more frothy. I love the froth and so this one got top marks as the frothy foam extended almost the whole depth of the cup and was so thick and yummy that the teabag was suspended in it. For quite some time afterwards, I could still taste the latte and couldn't stop exclaiming how good it was. We supplemented our drins with some carrot cake which was also very good, so moist and the icing was perfect. My aunt could not get over the size of the slices though and we ended up only eating one between the 3 of us and taking the 2nd piece home for a future tea break. I will absolutely, definitely get a latte every time I pass that store now. The perfect pick me up during a hard days shopping at the mall.

2) Urban Tea Merchant @ Park Royal ( The Village)
I had often walked past this place but never gone inside. They serve quite a fancy traditional style tea service with white linen on the tables and proper silverware..quite a departure from Starbucks! Our server presented us with a tea menu with about 3 pages of choice. I opted for a green tea chai and my mum and aunt each chose Rooibos and English Breakfast tea respectively.
It was fairly pricey at $5-6 per drink but my chai was almost bowl sized and very filling and mum and aunt's tea came with all the trimmings including teapots with thermal insulating coats and warmed milk. My aunt also ordered a scone with clotted cream and tea infused gelee (jam?) although they forgot to bring it and when we reminded them , they bought a ginger orange scone by mistake. My aunt ate it anyway and enjoyed it and the staff gave it to her for free due to the mixup.

3) Quails Gate Winery, Kelowna

We took a couple of days out to drive out to the Okanagan and spend some time at the lake and take in a couple of wineries. This winery is quite small but perfectly formed.Click here to visit the website. There was a lovely restaurant with a patio in full bloom with summer flowers and a sweeping view of the lake with the vines in the forefront as we sipped our tea.
The weather was cloudy with rain threatening but it was warm enough to sit outside for our mid afternoon tea break. We had already sampled some of the wines and both my aunt and I were unanimous in our appreciation for the Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay. I don't drink much Chardonnay these days, instead preferring Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc but I would make an exception for this. It was so buttery and tasty, it really did taste like...butta! I'm not sure how much you pay for this at the liquor store but we picked up a bottle for $30 and intended to drink it on the last night of my family's stay. Okay, I got off topic, back to the tea. Again, it was quite a formal tea service but such a relaxing atmosphere. had I not been the designated driver I could have quite easily whiled away my evening there drinking wine and putting my feet up taking in the scenery and inhaling the fragrance of the flowers surrounding the table. We all chose our teas from the menu and they were presented in french presses so they looked almost too perfect to drink. Perfect tea to go with the perfect linens, perfect white cups and perfect patio......I really want to go back there....soon!

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