A (tea) Break from Tradition: Afternoon Tea in Toronto
Written By: Linda Gaylard, Certified Tea Sommelier- The Tea Stylist
After all these years, afternoon tea remains a popular pastime to socialize with friends and family. As someone who works in the tea industry, I find myself avoiding predictable, overpriced three tiered stands of crustless sandwiches and petit fours in favour of something new; a break from tradition. My preference is to seek out unique and interesting eateries around the city where I can create my own afternoon tea simply by ordering off an appetizer or dessert menu.
Top Three Locations for Tea in Toronto:
01 Kim Moon Bakery: 438 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Kim Moon revives memories of my recent trip to Hong Kong. Kim Moon is not a peaceful experience –it’s very busy and noisy, but you’ll notice the camaraderie among old friends who sit for hours visiting, drinking tea and eating pastries together. Located in the heart of Chinatown, there are plenty of shops to explore after you’ve had tea.
Tea Choice: Hong Kong-Style tea. A strong black blend specially prepared with evaporated milk and sugar.
Savoury: Dim Sum (shrimp dumplings or an eggplant roll)
Sweet: Mango Pudding
Recipes Fit for Tea:
- A Spoonful of Photography: Toasted Rye, Browned Butter and Black Tea Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Ratatouille et Compagnie: Matcha and White Chocolate Sables
- Blend With Spices: Fenugreek Leaves Fritters
- Mel’s Creative Corner: Hazelnut Coffee Crescent Cookies
- Kiran Tarun: Cocoa Madeleines
- Brooklyn-Portland: Green Tea Blackberry Roulade Cake
- Anncoo Journal: Longan-Oolong Tea Cakes
- Pastry Affair: Chocolate Almond Biscotti
02 A la Carte Bistro at the Gardiner Museum 111 Queen’s Park (across from the ROM), Toronto
The bistro is located in the most light-filled space of this modernist structure. It is a lovely place to sit and read or enjoy the view out its tall windows. The fare is delicious and artfully plated. Guests can access the bistro without paying admission to the Gardiner museum; however you will be missing out on the best collection of ceramic art in Canada so it would be smart to plan a gallery visit too.
Tea Choice: English Breakfast tea (Oh dear! A tea bag. Their loose leaf tea menu is coming soon)
Savoury: A creamy chicken liver terrine with condiments
Sweet: Pear tart with berries
03 Madeleines Cherry Pie and Ice Cream: 1087 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Madeleines moved to this stretch of Bathurst Street eight years ago before the area transitioned to a mix of boutiques and cafes. This quaint neighbourhood hangout reminds me of a European Konditorei – slightly hodge podge in its design esthetic, but cozy enough to want to stay and sample their homemade pies, pastries, squares and cookies. I had my tea in their French-style backyard patio under a market umbrella.
Tea Choice: Imperial Breakfast, a loose leaf blend of Ceylon, Assam and Keemun (they have a decent tea menu)
Savoury: Egg white quiche with sundried tomatoes and mushrooms
Sweet: Ginger ice cream with a lemon apricot shortbread cookie
Illustrations: Claire Heffer