SLIDESHOW: High tea at Vancouver's Urban Tea Merchant
Tea for Miss Bennett
Pictured: Meera Bennett's search for Vancouver's best afternoon tea brought her to the Urban Tea Merchant for French-style tea service on a recent Sunday.
Sniff a few blends
The tea menu is so extensive that our server let us sniff a few blends before we decided on our four teas. The heady aroma of each variety was intoxicating, making it hard to narrow down our choices to just four. Pictured here: Erin and Krista consider their options.
Iced jasmine tea and fresh strawberries
The afternoon tea service began with refreshing flutes of iced jasmine tea and fresh strawberries in a red wine sauce. Deelish... if decadent, considering it was a month early for strawberry season.
Milky oolong, a happy mistake
Our lovely French server let us inhale the richly scented milky oolong, a tea grower's "mistake" that turned out to be delicious.
Naturally sweet and smooth milky oolong
The naturally sweet and smooth milky oolong was the priciest tea we ordered, but our server kept the leaves so we could indulge in a second pot.
High tea at a high price
Meera was happy with the milky oolong, which was served in its own glass cup and tasted of "natural caramel, vanilla, milk with softness of voluptuous cream." But with a higher price tag than the other teas, at $86 per 100 grams, she'll likely only be taking it by the teapot and not taking any home until she hits the lottery...
The promise of privilege
Erin liked the sound (and smell) of Privilege, a rooibos scented with lemon, mint, rose and calendula. (Way to throw some perky pinkie, Erin!)
Nibblies and bon-bons
After the teas were served and sampled, the server brought out the afternoon snacks, including open-faced sandwiches of pear and brie, smoked salmon and cream cheese, tomato and boccaccini, and the traditional cucumber. But Krista kept her eyes on the prize: the French-style desserts, some of which were flown in from Paris.
West Coast Afternoon Tea platter for two
The West Coast Afternoon Tea platter for two included an array of canapes and sweets, and could be ordered to suit our tables varied dietary needs. This platter is the half-vegan, half-vegetarian version including curried egg salad bites.
Krista's and Erin's feast included canapes topped with smoked salmon and dill, and tomato, basil and bocconcini.
1842, a green tea
Krista ordered 1842, a green tea with some of her favourite flavours: orange blossom, almond, lime and rose.
French macarons and petits fours
The delicate macarons and petits fours and refreshing fruit were a sweet French ending and a real treat for the eyes.
The Granville ladies at The Urban Tea Merchant
Happy, well-fed and totally relaxed. The Granville ladies are likely to return. Pictured: All of the loose-leaf teas we tasted, plus dozens more, are available for purchase in the Urban Tea Merchant's storefront.
French-style afternoon tea at The Urban Tea Merchant
On a recent Sunday afternoon, Granville bloggers Krista Eide and Meera Bennett along with digital editor Hilary Henegar and afternoon-tea aficionado Erin Frew visited the newly opened downtown Vancouver location of The Urban Tea Merchant, a locally owned tea shop-o-plenty serving tea in the French tradition.
Secret City guest blogger and long-time high tea lover Meera Bennett spends her Sundays in search of Vancouver's perfect afternoon tea joint.