Afternoon tea - Montreal style

When you think about it, it is really quite brave of a hotel serving a new afternoon tea to invite me a long for a preview. I have been known to rant quite a bit about my tea in particular how weak Canadian tea seems to be. So off I went to the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal to sample their new Afternoon Tea à la Montréal. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.
Chef Alain Pignard with his afternoon tea.
It's a special two-week promotion starting Nov 12 which takes the classic British afternoon tea and uses all Quebec produce. Fall apples feature heavily (apple scone anyone?) I detected a certain nervousness as our waiter Patrick announced the special menu included an apple spice tea latte. Tea latte? The addition of hot milk to tea is usually enough to send me into a frenzy but the laid back atmosphere of the Montréalais restaurant and the huge pile of food on the three-tiered platters calmed me down. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather have Earl Grey," I was asked by Joanne, public relations director, who has obviously read my blog.
Filming with Alain in the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel
But I was game to try the full experience designed by executive chef Alain Pignard, who used to work at the Dorchester Hotel in London under Anton Mosimann. So who am I to argue. Sipping my apple latte I tucked into sandwiches made from Quebec duck prosciutto, arctic char and hay-flavoured ham. We giggled a bit about this one. Not sure that's an incentive to tuck in - the taste of hay. Of course it was all delicious - my favourite was the duck.
Joanne discusses tea with the waiters
Then on with the sweets - I was pleased to see real clotted cream and strawberry jam with the apple scone but no butter? I guess I like a lot of fat on my scones. Bravely I soldiered on through apple ice cider creme brulee ( could you squeeze any more pleasure into such a small bowl?), apple crumble cake, apple tart thingies and by the time it came to the macarons I was just about done in. How nice that they give you some for free to take home in addition to the ones on your platter. They are flavoured with green tea and Earl Grey. (Don't be frightened to get a box with anything you can't manage.)
Macaron heaven - you get these for free
As I filmed Alain, who talked me through the sandwiches, I ask if they are better than those in a British afternoon tea? No but the ham is better, he says. It's from Quebec.
I confess I couldn't resist smelling the Earl Grey in the many boxes of samples you can peruse. Good strong smell. I will be back. This special Quebec-flavoured Afternoon Tea is available 3-5.30pm Nov 12-30.
Here's my film all about what you can expect

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  1. Oh, poor, poor Anna! You have my deepest sympathy. I wonder that you can bear to stay in this wretched country! Colour me green.

  2. I'd just like to say that if anyone else wants to invite me for afternoon tea I am prepared to put in the time. That's just the sort of selfless individual I am.


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