On August 18th, at the Shangri La Hotel in Vancouver, 80 guests versed in the tea-loving culture of China treated themselves to a different type of tea service: English Afternoon Tea. And, because it was hosted by Taste of Life Magazine, this was not your usual English afternoon tea. A model walked, a dancer danced, and an English lady passed through on her way to high tea from the year 1890.
First, to awaken guests’ palates, waiters served a French Earl Grey from TWG Tea, courtesy of the Urban Tea Merchant. This blend steamed with citrus and French blue cornflowers in addition to the usual bergamot, sending smiles around the room.
Ping Chou of Adonia Tea House presented her collection of fine bone china. Each piece is an antique, she told guests, from auctions and antique stores. “But you’d be surprised how the best collectible china pops up for sale somewhere you least expect it to,” she said. “Those surprising little finds are my favourites.”
After scones, finger sandwiches, and cakes were served on three-tier trays and the afternoon’s green tea—Silver Moon from TWG—was poured, guests experienced a surprise of their own. The emcee brought up the topic of a famous British song that goes “No matter what the score, When the clock strikes four, Everything stops for tea,” when all of a sudden the song started playing and TOL’s editor, Brett Price, started dancing. Her dress sparkled and her moves expressed the excitement British people feel at tea time, giving the event a real party atmosphere.
Then, just before the modern fashion show, Price appeared again dressed the way ladies did 120 years ago when they promenaded around London. The costume was beautiful but the highlights of the afternoon were the outfits assembled by Judith & Charles apparel and FREYWille jewellery. Excited murmurs were heard and cameras clicked as the model walked by in timeless looks that would turn heads anywhere.
Everyone who attended Taste of Life Magazine’s English Afternoon Tea was dressed perfectly for the occasion in tailored suits or summery dresses and gorgeous accessories. Some had the pleasure of ‘walking the runway’ themselves to collect lucky draw prizes: Tickets to Shen Yun Performing Arts, gift certificates to Judith and Charles, Shangri La Hotel, FREYWille, Adonia Tea House and a gift from the Urban Tea Merchant. When the last drop was drunk, after the last bite of scone, guests trickled down to the lobby and out, amiable and thoughtful after all that tonifying tea.