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Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Afternoon Tea At The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Breathtaking views set an incredible backdrop for afternoon tea at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. An adventure we could hope everyone gets to experience at least once in their lives. Known as the “Castle in the Rockies”, it first opened in 1888 and soon became one of the top 3 luxury hotels in North America.

Front Row Seats to Rocky Mountain Views

In such an idyllic setting, expectations are high, and having afternoon tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a delightful and luxurious experience. I was elated to have the opportunity to visit earlier this Spring.

Once seated, with front row seats to the incredible Rocky Mountains, we choose our teas from a selection of refined teas from around the world. I choose a Dream Dove Silver Needle from the Reserve Lot 35 tea blends. It is a white tea with light butter highlights combined with hints of honey and white flowers. A gentle introduction to our experience, this tea did not disappoint and has now been crowned a favorite in my book. Although this tea is not one included in the price of Afternoon Tea, the nominal $8 extra for a top-tier selection was well worth the extra cost.

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Dream Dove Silver Needle Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Savories Course

The experience of taking afternoon tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is an opportunity to stretch your palette out of its comfort zone and try new and exciting flavor combinations.

The multi-level presentoir held interesting and saporous discoveries at every turn. The first level included Icelandic Dill Gravlax, Lambastic Farms Braised Lamb, and Man’s Egg Salad as well as Thyme for Beets, Free Run Maple Hill Chicken Salad, and Tomato Fennel Bacon Jam and Quiche.

The Man Farm Egg Salad was one of my favorite sandwiches from this assortment of offerings. It was a combination of egg salad, chive, and radish on a brioche bun. Dill is normally a flavor I do not adore but the taste of dill was very faint and worked in the favor of the Icelandic Dill Gravlax sandwich. The Lambastic Farms Braised Lamb was tender and expertly combined mint pesto and curried mango chutney on a multigrain bun.

I struggled out of the gate with the thyme for beets. A combination of roasted beets and thyme mousse with choux and toasted pine nuts. I found the mousse bland and the texture uninteresting. The Free Run Maple Hill Chicken Salad was a refreshing combination of grapes and almonds with a blend of chicken, pickled red onion, and dijonnaise on tomato bread. A wonderful twist on an old favorite. Keeping things interesting, our next choice in our savory line-up was the blending of smoke white cheddar and tomato fennel bacon jam on a multigrain bread pinwheel. Rounding out this level, we were pleased to finish with goat cheese, leek, and garden herb quiche. The goat cheese was the crowning flavor that brought the first course to a wonderful close.

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
A full array of savory and sweet treats from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel’s Afternoon Tea

Scones to die for

If you have ever had the pleasure of taking afternoon tea at one of the Fairmont establishments, then you will have had scones that are to die for. After having scones in many different tea rooms across Canada, these scones are top of the list. We had both plain and raisin, one as delightful as the other especially combined with the orange marmalade and clotted cream (yes we can hear the English cringe at the thought of serving orange marmalade outside of breakfast). The scones were fluffy and baked to perfection. If you would like to read about our other experiences with the Fairmont chain, you can read Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel and Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont.

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Divine Desserts

The top level of our tiered tray at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Afternoon Tea included Pistachio Pinwheel, Espresso-infused Cheesecake, and Matcha Cake. The Pistachio Pinwheel had pleasant sweet notes. Putting aside my typical reservations about pistachio, this pinwheel was delightful. The combination of pistachio cake, white chocolate pistachio ganache, and candied pistachios might seem like a bit of a nutty overload but let me reassure you that the pastry chefs of the Fairmont excel at their craft.

The Espresso-infused cheesecake with the carmelized sugar crust was surprisingly gentle in taste but the tart shell, made out of chocolate, was too hard for my taste.

Matcha desserts often have a strong taste, where the matcha can easily be identified leading to a sometimes overpowering bitter taste. Not the case in this instance, the raspberry jam and yuzu custard made for a wonderful treat that was fresh and light in taste.

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The Raspberry jam and yuzu custard matcha cake

Rounding Out With Sweetness

At the very top, we found a Chocolate Biscuit Cake and Caramel Praline Eclairs. I’ll admit by this point in eating my way to the top of this tower, I began to get quite full. It’s always surprising how much small portions of these sandwiches and desserts can fill you up. Many of these dishes are rich in flavor like the chocolate biscuit cake which combined dark chocolate ganache, tea biscuits, and gold dust. It was as regal as it sounds. The Caramel Praline Eclairs were fluffy and creamy, with subtle notes of caramel.

My Final Thoughts on Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a notable spot for afternoon tea. I have little hope that any afternoon teas I attend in the future will be able to compete with this enchanting experience, easily added to the “must-do” list of tea rooms and experiences for tea lovers and foodies. The ambiance and views alone are worth the visit. Although, afternoon tea here is a pricier excursion than most tea rooms, the elevated experience, well-thought-out and generous menu with numerous selections to please even the most selective attendees, and quality make it well worth it. I highly recommend this experience to anyone who has the good fortune of visiting Banff. The cost of the meal is $82 CAD per person with additional optional add-ons like top-tier tea selections and alcoholic beverages.

We base our reviews on the following criteria:

  • ATMOSPHERE
  • TEA/FOOD SELECTION, QUALITY, AND TASTE
  • PRICE
  • SERVICE
  • CLEANLINESS

RATING: 10/10

Reservations are a must as it gets very busy. You can reserve through OPEN TABLE here. You can also phone directly at (403) 762-2211. You can visit their website: Banff Springs Afternoon Tea To learn more about Banff, Alberta, visit www.banff.ca

If you want to learn more about afternoon tea, read our article here about the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea or our article on Summertime Tea Parties here.

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