Where to Have a Festive Holiday Afternoon Tea in the Pacific Northwest
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Updated for the 2017 holiday season!
One of my all-time favorite food traditions is afternoon tea. What’s not to love? A leisurely few hours, spent enjoying a selection of sweet and savory bites, accompanied by a cozy pot of tea – divine!
But when it comes to taking tea during the holidays – that’s simply magical! Snuggling up with a steaming cup and tasting the sweet spices of the season, while surrounded by Christmas carols, sparkling lights, and snow falling outside – heavenly!
While afternoon tea is indeed a British tradition, the practice has spread throughout the world. Here in the corner of the globe where I live – the Pacific Northwest – divine afternoon tea services can be found throughout the metropolitan areas, and make a perfect respite from an afternoon of holiday shopping!
I’ve gathered a list of some of the best Christmas themed afternoon teas in the Pacific Northwest. The next time you find yourself in the area – whether for the holiday season or not – why not reserve yourself a table at one of these fine establishments and indulge in a luxurious afternoon tea?
Victoria, BC area
The Empress Hotel
When it comes to tea in the Pacific Northwest, Victoria, BC is at the top of the list. And in Victoria, THE place to have tea is at the Empress! (The Empress is actually where I had my first afternoon tea, many, many moons ago!)
Tea has been served in the lobby lounge of the Empress Hotel for over a century. For the holiday season, sip your tea listening to the sound of carolers, while munching seasonal savories and classic desserts.
The Butchart Gardens is a magical experience any time of year, but during the “Magic of Christmas” celebration in the month of December, it truly becomes a winter wonderland! The expansive gardens are filled with lights and songs, and the beautiful dining room features a seasonal afternoon tea complete with cranberry trifle, eggnog napoleons, peppermint chocolate meringues, and other tasty goodies.
Though not nearly as well known as the Empress or Butchart Gardens, the Venus Sophia Tea Room is making an excellent name for itself in the Victoria area. The quaint tea room is the perfect oasis to escape the bustle of holiday crowds in the city.
With fresh, handmade, seasonal treats featuring local ingredients, like cranberry mascarpone pinwheels, Christmas gift dark chocolate petit fours, and holly decorated royal icing ginger and spice cookies, all served with a pot of signature loose leaf tea, the Venus Sophia is a wonderful choice for afternoon tea during the holidays.
Escape the holiday crowds at the adorable Secret Garden Tea Company. With tasty bites like house roasted turkey and triple cream brie sandwiches with apple cranberry relish, cranberry scones with Devonshire cream, and bittersweet chocolate and candy cane mousse, the holiday high tea at the Secret Garden is the perfect way to celebrate the season!
Get away from the city and into the snow-covered foothills of the Cascade Mountains at Salish Lodge & Spa. The view of Snoqualmie Falls is reason enough for the drive. Take in the view, then settle in for a cozy afternoon tea loaded with an array of tea sandwiches, biscuits and scones, and sweets. Add a glass of Brut or a seasonal cocktail for an extra festive occasion and sip the afternoon away!
The Olympic Hotel offers a truly elegant experience. Twinkly chandeliers, beautiful surroundings, and of course, delicious holidays treats, like a chocolate chestnut roulade, candied fruit cake stollen, and hazelnut macarons define this Seattle Christmas afternoon tea experience.
Claiming to be the oldest independent tea room in America, the Queen Mary has been a Seattle institution for decades. Step out of the blustery Seattle weather into the quaint, Victorian style tea room, and enjoy a holiday afternoon tea complete with Christmasy goodies like iced gingerbread and chocolate peppermint brownies.
Hotel deLuxe, with its classic, Hollywood golden-age feel, specializes in afternoon tea with a grownup twist – craft cocktails featuring tea-infused spirits. For the holidays, they take it up a notch, with seasonal tea blends, a live pianist and, of course, Christmassy cocktails!
At The Heathman Hotel’s Headwater Restaurant, you’ll find something a little different – a Russian style tea experience. Enjoy this afternoon tea surrounded by lush decor and twinkling holiday lights.
The usual sweet and savory bites are replaced with Russian favorites like piroshki, blinis with house-cured caviar and sour cream, open-face rye sandwiches, Kiev torts with hazelnut meringue, and Ukranian poppyseed rolls.