Two For Tea and Becoming an “Expert”

I’ve been to two different tea events in the past week. Both very different in scope and both of which left me with a curious little bug in my brain.

The first tea was an afternoon tea and lecture on the health benefits of tea at Toronto’s Casa Loma. Having never been to Casa Loma after living in Toronto going on twenty years, I figured it was high time to do so and tea in the gorgeous marble conservatory was as good an excuse as any. Casa Loma is, indeed, a big freakin’ castle, and was as marvellous as it had been made out to be. It would have been more pleasant had there been considerably fewer tourists, however, because nothing takes the charm out of tea in the lush conservatory of a castle than a bunch of people in ugly shorts and sneakers and ball caps peering through the glass doors taking your photo.

The meal itself was your standard afternoon tea fare – scones, pastries, fruit and sandwiches. Passable, but not outstanding on any level: California strawberries when local ones are still in season, too many super-sweet pastries that got left behind, clotted cream passed around in the jar (!!!) instead of in a dish (am I at someone’s house??), and, as is always the case, not enough vegetarian sandwiches, because inevitably, the meat-eaters will ignore the roast beef and turkey and scoff *all* of the egg salad before you even knew there were any there.

The actual tea for drinking threw us all for a bit of a loop. It seems that Lipton was a sponsor in some capacity because all that was on offer was different varieties of Lipton tea – in bags. There were prize baskets from Lipton given out at the end, and I suspect that the guest speaker was a shill for Lipton as well, so frequently did she tout their products.

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