Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Afternoon Tea at the Banff Springs

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The tradition of afternoon tea began in the mid 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope, would have small meals in late afternoon with tea. Lunch was normally served at noon but dinner was not served until later in the evening at 8 or 9 o'clock. The period between the two meals would leave the Duchess with a "sinking feeling" as she felt the meal at noon was inadequate. She began to have a small meal with tea in the later afternoon and would invite her friends to join her. Their meal consisted of small sandwiches, cakes and sweet pastries and of course tea. This tradition has carried on to this day where you can find afternoon tea at high end hotels or even small bed and breakfasts.

Although afternoon tea is sometimes called high tea, they are in fact two different things. High tea is more of an early dinner which is also known as meat tea. Traditionally high tea is served with meat, fish, eggs, bread and cakes along with tea and is then followed by a lighter meal in the later evening. It is probably used to describe afternoon tea since it sounds more elite but high tea is actually what the common people would eat.

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The Fairmont Banff Springs serves a very traditional afternoon tea. Afternoon tea at the Banff Springs is exceptionally special as you get a view like no other. Their tea room is located in the Rundle Lounge which looks out to the Bow Valley river with the great Rocky Mountains in the background.

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The meal begins with your selection of teas, the Banff Springs has 12 to offer. They have a variety of tea from black tea to herbal or organic tea. We had the Banff Springs Blend which was a beautiful rich black tea that had a hint of fruity flavour and the Vanilla Orchid which had the flavour of vanilla and a splash of pomegranate.

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As you wait for you tea to steep, you are served fresh seasonal fruit to cleanse the palate.

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We were then served our tier of delectable pastries, sweets and dainty sandwiches. The sandwiches we had were English cucumber, smoked salmon, egg salad and spicy ham with cream cheese. We also had a Victorian scone on the side with devonshire cream and strawberry jam.

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Afternoon tea can be a very costly afternoon, $30-$50 a person. So if you do decide to go for afternoon tea, the Banff Springs will make it worth your while as you get an exceptional view while you enjoy your tea.

Reservations are recommended and can be booked by calling dining reservations line at (403) 762-6860
Fairmont Banff Springs
405 Spray Avenue
Banff, Alberta

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