Preview of New Royal High Tea & Tour at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

Royal High Tea & Tour menu and tea at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Edmonton
I've always enjoyed having high tea. I'm reminded of the Chinese Ha Mm Cha (afternoon tea) that I had when I was growing up in Toronto. When I think of the British High tea, what appeals to me is that you get to dress up as it's usually a more formal event, there are finger sandwiches and small bite-sized desserts. 

There are only a few places in Edmonton to have British-style high tea. Among them, The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has served afternoon high tea in the Harvest Room. The Fairmont currently has two different types of high tea: a weekday high tea and a high tea with a tour of the hotel on the weekends (called the Royal Tea and Tour). On previous occasions when I had High Tea served in the Fairmont Harvest Room it concluded with a historic tour of the hotel; including the Queen Elizabeth II suite. This suite is the same suite that the Queen stays at when she visits Edmonton. I was recently invited to preview the Royal High Tea served in the Queen Elizabeth II suite. A tea cup in the place setting in the high tea at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

The setting inside the suite is more intimate compared to the Harvest Room as the entire suite only has room for less than 20 people, and it feels more like a private and exclusive experience. With the weekend royal high tea, you only could spend a few minutes touring the Queen Elizabeth II suite. The experience of the tea is much more of a hosted service in a private setting with a tea sommelier, Carlos Hernandez.

Over the past few years, the Fairmont has been spending more time focusing the tea aspect of their High Tea; including sending Carlos to Toronto to become a Tea Sommelier. During this tea time, instead of immediately having table service, Carlos spent time describing the tradition and history of high tea. He also guided us through a tea tasting of several loose teas that are available to the Fairmont Macdonald. We tasted the Hibiscus, Buckingham Palace, Seneca Kakagawa Japan, and the Lapsang Souchong teas. The Hibiscus was a bright tea with a slight pucker, the Buckingham Palace is an Earl Grey tea with light floral notes due to the Jasmine flowers, the Seneca is a Japanese Essential tea which is light and green tea based and the Lapsang has a smoky flavour. 

Four glasses of different teas for the tea tasting at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald inside the Queen Elizabeth II Suite
(Left to Right): Hibiscus, Buckingham Palace, Seneca Kakagawa Japan, Lapsang Souchong 
After the tea tasting, we were served a gorgeous Amuse Bouche comprised of an Okanagan Cherry Sorbet with Niagara Ice Wine Pearls. The sorbet served as a palate cleanser and helped us get ready for the rest of the high tea. I loved the touch of the ice wine pearls. 
A martini glass with a scoop of Okanagan Cherry Sorbet topped with translucent pearls of Niagara Ice Wine
Following the amuse bouche were freshly baked - still warm scones served with Devonshire cream and mixed berry compote. 
Devonshire cream and mixed berry compote

A tray of Fresh scones at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
A beautiful tea, selected by Carlos himself, was served alongside the food - the Jasmine Butterfly. This is a green tea that is scented with jasmine petals. We learned that the name came from the fact that the tea leaves are hand shaped to resemble small butterflies. Carlos not only mentioned that the tea was created for the opening of Pucini's Madame Butterfly opera but that it was also an exclusive tea for Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.
Dried Jasmine Butterfly rolled tea leaves.
It was extremely difficult to not continue to eat the buttery scones. Thankfully, we were able to stop ourselves, otherwise we wouldn't be able to even start on the 3 tier tray filled with finger sandwiches and desserts that arrived next. Sandwiches included an egg salad on brioche, montreal smoked salmon profiterole, cucumber dill, farm fresh chicken with grape and almond on a mini navette, Quebec sugar pie madeleine, nanaimo bar cheesecake, and a coffee crisp eclair. It was great to see local suppliers like Gold Forest Grains being mentioned right on the menu as well as Canadian ingredients.
3 tier high tea - desserts on the top 2 tiers and sandwiches on the bottom

4 types of savoury high tea sandwiches and bites at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

Assorted bite sized desserts on a tray at the high tea the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

more desserts on a tray at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
I had a chance to talk to Chef Mridul Bhatt, the new executive chef who just arrived in Edmonton 3 weeks ago. Chef Bhatt indicated that he was planning on making improvements to the high tea menu, likely following a theme with tea pairings, or having items inspired by the seasons. This is exciting as it would be good to have a different menu to accompany the ambiance. It is clear that the Fairmont is fine-turning the menu and the accompanying experience within this new High Tea offering. While I really enjoyed the unique and exclusive experience, I will be continuing to enjoy my high tea in the Harvest Room at the moment.
Chef Mridul Bhatt at the Fairmonth Hotel Macdonald during the high tea

place setting of the high tea at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

I love how the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is constantly trying new things including their Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Dinner buffet and the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Food Blogger Dinner where we not only dined but helped prepare the meal.

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
Royal Tea & Tour


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