While tea rooms are thought to be a thing of the past, there has been a revival of this elite, and upper class tradition. Traditionally, high tea was actually a ritual of the working class, otherwise referred to as “meat tea.” What we today refer to as high tea, was actually low tea.
If you are thinking of an taking afternoon to relive the ritual of the late 18th century British aristocracy, there are some lovely tea rooms in Montreal for you and your friends to enjoy.
Photo Credit: Flickr.com, astridmaria, cc
A history of “high tea”
When we think of high tea, we are actually thinking of what the British aristocracy would refer to as Low Tea or Afternoon Tea, a between-lunch-and-dinner snack served between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. (dinner was served around 8 p.m.). This afternoon tea time included vast array of delicious biscuits, scones, finger sandwiches and or course tea. At the time, tea was an expensive commodity, due to the cost of importation from China and the difficulties the British faced in securing imports. Speculation suggests that it was called Low Tea because at afternoon tea time, the aristocracy would sit on low parlor chairs around a table about the height of today’s coffee table.
High Tea (or meat tea) was actually the working class’ version of afternoon tea. It was served around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. and was usually their dinner. The meal consisted of bread, cheese, veggies, and if they could afford it, meat. Tea, due to cost, was seldom consumed by the working class, and was considered a special treat.
Tea Rooms in Montreal:
Le Maître Chocolatier : Open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. specifically offers “high tea” to it’s patrons. They style of its interior decor mimics a French tea room. The menu ranges from a simple afternoon tea for $10 per person, to the most expensive $32 offer, which comes with an array of homemade pastries, scones with jam and cream, and finger sandwiches, amongst other snacks. It’s the most authentic high tea experience.
The Ritz Carlton Montreal: With a delicious array of snacks that mimic the Edwardian era’s high tea, the Ritz offers a $32 per person afternoon tea ($42 per person if you would like to wash it done with a glass of champagne) in their beautifully renovated and calming Palm Court.
Birks Cafe (Maison Birks): For $26.50, enjoy an afternoon tea experience much like those above. It opens at 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, and at 3 p.m. on weekends.
We at Settle-in.com hope you have a great time exploring tea rooms in Montreal!
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