There she is in all her glory, the winning Jubilee pudding, offered up in a single serving portion as part of the Jubilee-themed afternoon tea service at The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
We’re not royalists, but we do like a good afternoon tea, and as food history nerds, we were itching to get a taste of the winning dessert, without having to make it ourselves, because, well… trifle. Ultimately, it’s soggy cake, right? But also, as Canada barely offered a nod to this milestone, who the heck else could we convince to eat soggy cake with us? So we certainly weren’t making a whole massive trifle for the two of us.
Le Meridien King Edward
37 King Street East
Afternoon tea for two with all taxes and tip: $65
Afternoon tea often gets categorized as something fussy and old-fashioned. Perhaps it’s the dainty china, or the teeny pastries or even the sandwiches with the crusts cut off. It also has a reputation as being very girly, its origins firmly ensconced in British tradition dating back to 1661 when Catherine of Braganza brought the custom with her from Portugal when she married Charles II.
In modern usage, many places serving afternoon tea have taken to calling it “high tea”, a custom that makes tea aficionados screech with horror. For my part, I make a point of avoiding places that claim to serve “high” tea yet roll out tiered trays of scones and pastries – if you don’t, as a restaurant, even know what meal you’re serving, that doesn’t leave me with any faith that you’ll be able to do it well.
While I generally have a reputation with almost everyone who knows me as being a loudmouth tchoula (Spanish slang for “ballsy broad”), I’ve also got a bit of a fussy girlie side that occasionally requires doses of pink, bouquets of flowers and formal dainty things like afternoon tea.
I hadn’t been to tea at the Fairmont Royal York in almost a decade, back when it was in a little open tearoom in the west end of the hotel just outside the magnificent ballroom. The space was light and pretty, designed to evoke a Victorian garden, with trellises of flowers, a high ceiling and a little railing around the space that I always wished was a picket fence.