I had the honour and pleasure of attending the Queen’s 90th birthday Royal Afternoon Tea Celebration at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is a large upscale hotel in Toronto with historical significance. It was opened in 1929 and formerly called the Royal York Hotel. It resides at 100 Front Street West across from Union Station and walking distance to the CN Tower and Toronto Harbourfront. It is the hotel of choice when the Royal Family visits Toronto, with Prince Harry staying at the Fairmont most recently.
As it was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday recently, a number of Toronto bloggers and influencers were invited to celebrate her public birthday with a Royal Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont and also to try the brand new menu of the Afternoon Tea. We were lucky enough to be able to enjoy this traditional afternoon tea right inside the Royal Suite where the Queen herself stays to dine.
The event started at noon on a beautiful sunny Wednesday in Toronto and ladies were advised to dress in elegant royal dresses and fascinators and gentlemen were to dress in suits.
When I arrived on the 16th floor of the beautiful Fairmont Royal York hotel, I entered the Royal Suite and was charmed with some elegant classical music fit for the queen. The entire Royal Suite was dressed up and each place setting at the dining table featured a three-tier curate stand with tea cups and selection of preserves on the table.
I was impressed and excited about the afternoon set to behold us. Everyone was dressed in their most beautiful royal attires and ready for an afternoon of tea!
There were pictures of the Queen set out on a table with some macarons and the Chocolate Biscuit Cake set out as well.
Very shortly, we took our seats at the table. The ladies at the Fairmont Royal York Marketing had arranged seating arrangements already with names at the table for us.
Starting from the bottom, the beautiful three-tier curate stand featured traditional cranberry scones with Devonshire cream, traditional finger sandwiches, and a selection of pastries at the top. Everything was set out perfectly and with attention to detail. As we were given a welcome of the event and introduced each other at the table, many cameras and phones were snapping to immortalize the event and food.
Brian Weston was our host for the afternoon and even Executive Chef Robert Mills stopped by to say hello.
First, we picked our teas from the Fairmont Tea Selection. It was a fine selection of premium Fairmont loose leaf teas and included some Bespoke Blends, an exclusive collection of teas blended by their in-house tea sommelier. As such, I decided to try one of their Bespoke Blends and requested for the “Librarian Libation” Whiskey Chai.
After the teapot was brought out — what beautiful china! — I waited about 3 minutes for the tea to seep as instructed before trying a sip. “Librarian Libation” Whiskey Chai was a full bodied black tea enhanced with layered notes of whiskey, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa. I am a big fan of black tea and I loved the full bodied taste of this. The cocoa and cinnamon weren’t very strong in this and I adored the slight hint of the whiskey.
I was once taught that to enjoy afternoon tea, we start with the plate from the bottom and work our way up to the top where the desserts were. Thus, I tried the traditional cranberry scones with Devonshire cream with their selection of honey and preserves.
The Fairmont Royal York has their very own beehives which make honey for their restaurants with fresh herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Approximately 350,000 honey bees provide several hundred pounds of honey each year!
I really liked the cranberry scones, of which the recipe dates back to the days when the hotel first opened. It was very fluffy, soft, yet dense and delicious. The Devonshire cream was to die for; it was extremely light and finely whipped. It was delicious with the cranberry scones. I also smeared strawberry jam on to the scone which was a delight! In addition, I had to try their very own honey made from their bees on the rooftop — it was marvelous! The honey so rich and velvety-smooth.
Next up, I tried the traditional finger sandwiches. There were five different types and each one looked elegantly put together and definitely fit for the Queen.
First, I tried the Chicken Celery Salad on a Sundried Tomato Brioche with Caramelized Pecans. The chicken celery salad was wrapped inside the sundried tomato brioche and was a great start to the traditional finger sandwiches.
The Organic Cucumber with Pink Peppercorn Cream Cheese was amazing! It was expertly put together with the layers of cucumber overlapping one another and the pink peppercorn cream cheese evenly smoothed on a piece of bread. It was very refreshing!
The Open Face Grilled Seasonal Vegetables on Pretzel Bread with Hummus was very good! It was colourful and the vegetables were very fresh.
I absolutely loved the Smoked Aurora Turkey Breast on Brioche with Cranberry Aioli and Arugula! This was a surprise to me because its presentation was simple with the smoked Aurora turkey breast tucked between the brioche. You could only see the pink of the cranberry aioli from the outside. When I bit into it, I loved the slight smoked flavour of the turkey breast and the hint of sweet cranberry aioli and arugula. I wish I had more of this!
I saved the best for last as I absolutely love anything with smoked salmon. The Smoked Salmon Mini Bagel with a Citrus Aioli was incredibly cute and compact! It was a mini bagel with the smoked salmon sandwiches in between and a dollop of citrus aioli on its top. It was adorable! I really enjoyed this one as well.
Lastly, I enjoyed the selection of pastries on the top tier. Even at this point, many of the guests were feeling full as it was definitely a lot of food for one person! Luckily for myself, I have a large appetite especially for the last course — dessert! 🙂
We were given four selection of pastries. I started off with the Mini Meringue Tartlet. This was a beauty and perfectly crafted together. I took a bite of it and was amazed with the softness of the meringue. It was like eating a cloud! It was perfect.
As many commented on, the Chantilly Swan with Fresh Berries was too beautiful to break and eat! It was a pastry made with whipped cream and adorn into a swan with berries on its back. The pastry was crisp yet light; similar to the cream. It was delicious as it looked!
The Mini Dark Chocolate Truffle Torte was a very rich dark chocolate cake. I love rich dark chocolate and this definitely was dense, moist, rich, and smooth.
The Mini Guava Chocolate Cup was delicate and also adorable. It was a chocolate cup filled with guava mousse with fresh fruits on top. The guava mousse tasted phenomenal and so fresh while the crisp of the chocolate cup crackled in my mouth.
The finale tasting included a slice of the Chocolate Biscuit Cake, a smaller version of the same recipe cake that was from Prince William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011. What an absolute pleasure and delight this was to be able to try their wedding cake as if we were there! The cake was dense and filled with chocolate mousse and cake in between its layers. It was just as rich as the Dark Chocolate Truffle Torte but I found this one even more enjoyable than the torte. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sure have great taste! 😉
At the conclusion of our amazing Afternoon Tea inside the Royal Suite, we gathered for a group photo before heading to the exclusive elevator to tour the historic Fairmont Hotel.
Brian Weston did an amazing and thorough job at showing us all the highlights of the hotel, including the Imperial Room, a nightclub that attracted many famous artists back in the day, the gigantic football-sized kitchen, convention rooms, and York Station bar, the smallest bar in Toronto. It was a pleasure to view the magnificence of the hotel — it was actually my first time there too. The Fairmont holds such beauty, history, elegance, and charm. I would love to host an event there someday in the future, perhaps a wedding in one of its gorgeous convention rooms! 😛
Alas, the historic hotel tour concluded at 2:30 p.m., just 30 minutes shy of the slated event time. We took one more group photo in front of the clock tower that the Queen herself gave to the hotel and then gave our farewells.
I want to thank Anita, Sonya, and Jessica of Royal York Hotel Marketing for inviting me to this prestigious and amazing Afternoon Tea celebration at the Fairmont Royal York. It was an absolute delight to not only celebrate the 90th birthday of the Queen but to try out the new Afternoon Tea menu at Fairmont. I will surely recommend my own friends and family to enjoy a delicious afternoon of tea and pastries here in the future!
FTC Disclaimer: Although RYH Marketing invited me to a complimentary tasting to showcase their Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Royal York, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the company.