“Tea, tea, a wonderful drink,
the more you have,
the more you drink,
the more you think,
the better you write,
so let’s drink tea,
all day and night”
– Daniel Dalton
If a relaxing and healing halotherapy session inside the Healing Salt Cave® at Windsor Arms Hotel Spa
was not enough to make my heart sing and body thanking me for finally disconnecting and giving it a natural salt treatment, only one thing was missing to make my day at perfect, it was Afternoon Tea.
Now you may or may not know this but one of my other passions in life, besides spa-ing, is to drink hot drinks. I am a self-confessed coffee lover but I must admit that I equally love a great cup of fresh steeped tea (loose or in a bag). From earl gray, chaï to oolong and matcha tea all the way to rooibos, I love them all!
I learned quite a lot about tea culture and tradition when I went to Hong Kong and tea is served any time of day and it sure calms you down even in the sweltering heat. A dear friend, who lives there, brought me to a tea store and I was like a kid at Christmas, staring at the wall full of tea varieties from all over China. Can you believe that I even had to buy an extra suitcase to put in all the tea boxes I bought and took with me back to South Korea where I was living at the time? Well I did!
Even in the land of the morning calm, I read and heard that there was an area south of the country, most specifically Boseong, where green tea is cultivated. As you know I can’t stay still and my adventurous soul wins ALL THE TIME. Therefore I set out to find it and it sure was quite the ride! Plane, train, local (and not so frequent) bus to reach the tea fields!
I gained more appreciation and have lots of respect for the people who reap the harvest, take it to the processing plant and ship it around the world. I have never looked at it the same way since then.
From the leaf to the pot, then ultimately to my steaming cup. I am always in wonder and quite grateful for having been able to learn about the entire process and journey!
Now back to Tea Time at Windsor Arms Hotel. Did you know that traditional Afternoon Tea has been served since 1927?
Not only guests have been going and indulging in such an elegant décor of the French-style lobby of Tea Room, with its plush and comfy seats, they have also been able to enjoy it in private in the Purple Room or the Russian Red Tea Room. It is a sensorial and visual experience which is a pure delight.
The impressive selection of loose leaf teas as well as tea cocktails are found in a menu, how great does that sound?
Tip for food options: A Gluten Free menu is available as well as vegetarian and allergy-free options provided that a 24 hour notice is given to the staff.
There are different categories or types of tea and are accompanied by a short description of the origin, taste and preparation.
If you need any help, the friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you by answering any questions you may have or if you are looking for suggestions or recommendations, they will be pleased to answer!
Since I was at the spa, I asked if it was possible for me to have tea outside on the terrace since the sun finally came out and it was just a glorious day and needed to take advantage of. After all it was my pre-birthday present, so why not? :)
I just mentioned that I am a green tea lover, thus I was debating between the Indian Darjeeling Green, Kenyan Green and Japanese Kukicha! The choice was hard that I needed an extra minute. Finally the description of the Kenyan Green won me over that I ordered it and was literally transported me to the African Nation as I immediately started to imagine what it would be like to actually wander around the fields, admire the spectacular scenery of the Great Rift Valley Highlands!
Can I be completely honest with you? I can’t even remember last time I was sincerely excited for traditional Tea that is. Well, I must admit that I have gone to some popular tea shops in my city even Chinese Tea specialty shops but nothing compares to what I was about to experience.
While my order was being prepared, I stepped out on the terrace to admire the city skyline which frankly is just amazing from any angle.
Then I chose to sit at the table on the left with a parasol
I was simply taking all the beauty in and was enjoying the moment while feeling at peace, and relaxed.
It took around 20 minutes for the order to arrive and let me tell you that yes, love at first sight exists and I’ve proof of that :)
Spa manager Kelly and a server from the Tea Room downstairs surprised me with a 3 tier stand with delicious treats and one of the most beautiful tea pots I have ever seen! (on top of that it was blue flowers, my favorite in the world. I promise it’s true, ask my family as I drive them absolutely nuts buying everything in blue!)
As per tradition, tea is accompanied by light yet delicious food such as:
- Fresh Scones with Devon cream and preserves (berry and strawberry)
- Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallot Tart
- Fresh Sandwiches:
- Potato Blinis with Smoked Salmon Rosette
- Pinwheel Egg Salad
- Vegetarian with Sundried Tomato Paste and Dill Cream Cheese
- Croque Monsieur
Have a sweet tooth? Love chocolate as much if not more than I do? :)
How about some
- Petits Fours
Are you hungry yet or perhaps drooling?
It wouldn’t be complete without hot, steaming tea of course. I present you Kenyan Green Tea.
I couldn’t wait any longer and proceeded to pour carefully the precious brew and filled my first cup by straining it first.
My first impression?
It was light and very refreshing! It was like a hug in a cup or a soothing balm for the soul if you ask me. I was taking sips, one at a time and enjoying every single one of them while admiring the city in all its glory!
What I had to eat first from that tempting food stand?
Well, let me tell you that the scones were calling me and I am so glad I started there.
Freshly baked, the lemon scone was decadent. Light, fluffy, citrusy; almost melt in your mouth! I cut it in half and spread some berry preserve on one half and Devon cream on the other. Yum-o! Delish, nom nom!
Then I had the ham and cheese sandwich (Croque monsieur) and I was already full by the time I finished it (along with my 3rd cup of tea).
Now those who know me are aware that I never reject chocolate, EVER! So I decided to end my stay (and experience) on a sweet note.
Those petits fours were so rich, delicious and had just the right amount of sugar. It made me smile from East to West. My heart and belly were very happy indeed! I couldn’t have ended the day in a better way.
If you ever want to spend quality time while enjoying an excellent, high quality and exclusive cup of tea, treat yourself!
My advice is to bring a friend or family member; it is best when enjoyed in great company and why not dress up for the occasion? I sure wish I’d brought a fancy hat and gloves, just like they did in the old days!
Pass on the tradition to the next generation and enjoy it TODAY!
Tea is served daily at 12:30 p.m. / 1 p.m. / 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The Tea Room can be reserved for small gatherings such as business meetings or corporate functions, bridal and baby showers, family reunions or get-togethers with your best friends. All Tea Rooms are available for full or partial bookings, inquire to find out more.
Please call them for additional details at:
Windsor Arms Hotel
18 St. Thomas Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Many thanks to the spa staff for allowing me to have this unforgettable experience and I will return with friends and special guests in the near future!
Once again I invite you to follow them on their social media accounts
Now over to you!
Do you like tea?
If so, which type is your favorite?
When was last time you took some time off to enjoy afternoon tea?
If you haven’t, would you love to?
Don’t be shy and share your stories, better yet pictures or links to your favorite tea houses.
Until next time
Tashi Delek, all the best,