Peaceful and sophisticated are not words one would generally use to describe a typical day at the airport. Fairmont YVR, however, has revolutionized the way we perceive the airport experience, providing travellers and locals alike the opportunity to indulge in one of England’s most cherished traditions: High Tea.
From the Fairmont Empress in Victoria to the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda, Fairmont has a long standing reputation for afternoon tea, and the tea service at the Fairmont YVR offers a more modern interpretation of this tradition with its silver tea presses, elegant white crockery, and brand new high tea menu.
For someone such as myself who is quite familiar with the high tea concept, I was pleasantly surprised that the presentation and effort did not stop at the beautiful tableware and surrounding decor. Each item on the three-tier tea stand was carefully thought out and executed with intricacy by executive chef Kuran Suri and pastry chef Lorna Le.
There was an ample variety of tea options – ranging anywhere from Egyptian Chamomile to Fairmont YVR’s own “Airport Jetsetter Tea,” a low caffeine blend specifically designed to aid in jetlag recovery. I opted for the Safari Masala Chai, a robust and full flavored black tea with full notes of cardamom, ginger, and clove that was both zesty and stimulating.
The bottom of the three tiers was dedicated to an assortment of chic tea sandwiches: Smoked Turkey, Curried Egg Salad, Smoked BC Salmon and Rare Roasted Striploin. The Smoked Turkey stuffed with candied pecans on cranberry filone (a classic Italian bread with a texture and crumb similar to the French baguette) was my favorite sandwich of the afternoon. The highly comforting, Smoked BC Salmon Sandwich with dill cream cheese, grated horseradish, and cucumber carpaccio on dark rye soon followed after.
The middle tier consisted of warm Orange & Cranberry Scones, which could be topped with lip smacking Devonshire cream and house made strawberry jam. Buttery and flavorful with a tender crumb and light touch – it’s no wonder these signature scones are raved about by so many.
The top tier, which was the highlight of my afternoon tea, was generously filled with Matcha Cheese Cake, Fresh Peach Clafoutis (a baked French dessert of fresh fruit, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter), Opera Slice Cake (almond chocolate cake with coffee cream), and Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Tarts. The Matcha Cheesecake with its incredibly creamy texture and subtle hints of green tea was devoured instantly.
Through these pastries I could see not only the skill, but also the passion of Fairmont’s pastry chef, Lorna Le. Take for example her Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Tart, finished with a pinch of gold flakes, and her Opera Slice Cake thoughtfully decorated with a white chocolate butterfly. Most heart warming, however, was the smallgirlbigplate-decorated banner, which was all too pretty to eat.
With the option of a gluten free menu (see picture above), those with gluten intolerances can also take part in the lavish experience of high tea. And for those of you on a budget who don’t want to miss the opportunity to indulge, there is currently a SocialShopper deal that offers high tea for two for $49+ 2 hours of free parking at the YVR airport. So on a beautiful summers day in Vancouver, why not take a moment to relax in the most traditional of indulgences at the Fairmont Hotel YVR. Whether you’re a traveler or a local Vancouverite, I’m sure all of us could use an elegant respite like this.