Of course I am talking about the delight of Afternoon Tea. I recently had the pleasure of hosting some out-of-town guests for tea at The Fairmont Empress and found the experience to be both luxurious and delicious. As one of our iconic Victoria experiences, tea at The Empress is a grand tradition. For well over a century they have been graciously serving Afternoon Tea in their elegant and historic tea lobby. Some of their tea servers have been there for more than 40 years. Every one of their 100,000 patrons each year are treated like royalty. I couldn’t help but feel a bit aristocratic as I sat in my beautiful wing back chair and tried to delicately sip tea from dainty china made specifically by Royal Doulton for The Empress. As the notes from baby grand piano floated over to us, I thought this is a very civilized way to spend an afternoon. When the stacked serving tray of delectables came, I was interested to see The Empress stamp on the sandwiches served, from a very West Coast salmon to a Bengal Lounge-inspired curry. The finger sandwiches, scones and sweets were mouth-watering and more than our party of three could finish. Luckily, we took most of the sweets home with us and by 12 a.m. all had been devoured. I learned a few things while I was there such as the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea, two terms that are often confused. I was mortified to learn the difference as I had already posted on my Facebook that I was having High Tea at the Empress. Lesson learned! The true origins of High Tea can be traced to the U.K.’s working class, who used the term in lieu of dinner to describe their evening meal. The name was created because of the high table it was eaten on and the foods usually consisted of heartier dishes such as pot pies and sliced meats. With its own rules of etiquette, Afternoon Tea or Low Tea is much daintier and is traditionally served on low tables. Whatever you call it, tea at The Empress is an afternoon delight. It is something we can be proud to have here in Victoria as it is internationally known as one of the top notch tea experiences in the world. For reservations and information, call them at 250-389-2727 or click here to email. Bottoms up!