Tea Experience: Tracycakes Bakery Cafe

Tracycakes Bakery Cafe
Murrayville, Langley, BC
Signature High Tea – $25 each

I recently had the opportunity to have the Signature High Tea at Tracycakes Bakery Cafe, located in Murrayville, Langley. There is also another location of Tracycakes, which is located in Abbotsford, BC. Tracycakes is located in a quaint little building at 5 corners, which is a 5-way intersection with a roundabout in Langley, BC. The intersection is historic, with some of the buildings lovingly kept up for over 130 years.

Inside of Tracycakes, there’s cute table settings on each of the marble topped tables, with chalk artwork throughout. Copies of newsarticles about Tracycakes adorn the walls, with a long, comfy benchseat along one wall. There’s meal options, along with the Signature High Tea, on the menu – and you can also order food to-go. The dishes for our table settings were white and stood out nicely against the white and grey marble table top.

My friend and I both ordered the Signature High Tea, which came with a top of tea for each of us – she had the Cream of Earl Grey while I had the Earl Grey Lavender. Both of which are black teas and quite traditional for afternoon tea. There was also sugar bowls on the table with silver tongs, and a miniature pitcher of milk. The lavender aroma from the Earl Grey Lavender stood out quite nicely.

And then there was the food! There were two tiers -sandwiches and savouries on the bottom with the pastries and sweets on the top.

For the sandwiches, we each received a quarter-sandwich of egg salad, cucumber, tomato & basil, and turkey & cranberry. What I found interesting was that the egg salad had white bread on one side and whole wheat on the other, although it didn’t really affect the taste too much. My favourite of the four sandwich offerings was the tomato and basil because the basil was just so flavourful.

With the savouries was also a savoury palmier, which consisted of basil and cheese. This was really nice, had a nice crisp to it with a nice salty quality to it, thanks to the cheese.

And now… the sweets! Starting with the confectioner sugar dusted scone, the scone was loaded with poppyseed and cranberry. The cranberries themselves were a touch tart, but it balanced well with the sweetness of the confectioners sugar. To pair with the scone, Tracycakes included devonshire cream, raspberry jam, and lemon curd. I opted to pair my scone with devonshire cream and raspberry jam since I decided the lemon curd may be a bit much with the cranberries in the scone.

We each got a brownie square, which I found to be very sweet with the icing on top. For someone who loves sugar, I was just not feeling it that morning. There was also a variety of cupcakes. One of them was vanilla and coconut, while another was vanilla and lavender. My friend had the lavender cupcake but said she couldn’t really taste the lavender. I found the coconut one to be very rich in flavour for both the frosting and the cake itself, it was really tasty and I would go back for a cupcake.

There was a small triangle cookie, which I believe to have been a sugar cookie. Also had icing on top, very sweet – but had a great buttery flavour to it and was flakey, so I definitely enjoyed that cookie and it was one of my favourites of the sweets tier.

Throughout both tiers, we had some fresh fruit (primarily sliced strawberries, with a couple of blueberries), which was nice considering it can be hard to find nice fresh fruit with the current season. I really liked Tracycakes’ creative use of egg cups as containers to hold the lemon curd and one of the cupcakes, it just really added another level of whimsy to it.

Tracycakes wasn’t too busy when my friend and I first arrived, but the cafe was quite bustling with activity by the time we had left – with plenty of reserved signs on tables for people wanting their own high tea on a Wednesday. I really enjoyed the variety in food that was offered with the Signature High Tea, and found that the flavours were overall enjoyable. I really did like my tea selection (Earl Grey Lavender), and found that it worked well with a little bit of sugar and milk – although the lavender flavour and aroma was quite strong without any additives as well. For the price, I definitely think that Tracycakes puts on a good Signature High Tea and would go again. It seemed like quite a child-friendly location – there were a few tables that had babies and young children – so it’s an option for those who maybe don’t want to take their kids to a location with a lot of vintage tea cups everywhere.

Tea Experience: Bay Moorings

Bay Moorings Restaurant
Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver
High Tea $35 each

Bay Moorings Restaurant is located in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. For those who’ve ever gotten onto the ferry at that location, Bay Moorings Restaurant is literally across the street from the ferry terminal – so if you’re a foot passenger, it’s a stop you could make before getting on with your adventures. The views from their patio are amazing – you get the water with the marina, and then you can see the picturesque BC mountains.

Honestly, the view is gorgeous.

The High Tea at Bay Moorings features tea from Mighty Leaf. I picked the Organic Spring Jasmine (green tea) while my sister opted for the Organic African Nectar (rooibos). We received our teas in cute personal-sized teapots, the teas themselves were in tea bag form. Organic Spring Jasmine has a lovely jasmine aroma to it. This green tea steeped to a pleasant golden orange colour and had a great floral flavour to it. I did have my teapot refilled once, and the flavour was still quite strong, which made the tea enjoyable.

The food came in two tiers with the desserts on top and savouries on the bottom. For the savouries, there were four items each. There was a ham & cheese sandwich, a smoked salmon wrap, a pate and caviar open-face sandwich, and a ginger duck confit. I found the ham & cheese cheese sandwich and pate & caviar sandwich to be a little bit lackluster with nothing to exciting about each of them. The smoked salmon wrap itself wasn’t very picture-worthy, but the flavour was delicious. It had a lot of sauce and dill inside of the wrap though, and I think it might have been better with a bit less sauce inside of the wrap. The winner was the duck confit, followed by the smoked salmon wrap. The duck confit had a lovely ginger flavour, the fat was rendered beautifully, and the meat was moist and well-cooked.

Duck confit.

The desserts featured French macaron, tiramisu, panna cotta, and a slice of coconut cream cake. We each received a different flavour macaron – I ate the green pistachio one while my sister had the lemon. The macaron was nicely made with the crisp outer cookie shell. I’m not a fan of coffee, but the tiramisu had a great custard layer and the cake layer did taste a lot like coffee (unfortunately for me). The panna cotta was delicious – I’ve made panna cotta before so I know it can be a bit of pain to keep the smooth texture, this one was delicious and I would definitely have it again. Lastly, the coconut cream cake had a great cream between the layers. I found the cake itself to be on the dry side (or maybe it’s just me thinking that there should just be a lot more cream!). I’m generally a fan of cakes that have more cream/frosting/icing on it, so that might be where I’m coming from. My favourite desserts were definitely the macaron and the panna cotta.

Above: tiramisu. Below: panna cotta.

For those who aren’t in West Vancouver, Bay Moorings might be a bit of a drive. Luckily it was mostly highway driving for me to get there, and traffic wasn’t too bad when I was going to and from Horseshoe Bay. It was a beautiful day that my sister and I opted to go to Bay Moorings to check out their high tea. Good tea with good views. I’d go back for the smoked salmon wrap, duck confit, and that panna cotta.

Coconut cream cake.

Tea Experience: Honeybee Centre

Honeybee Centre
Surrey, BC
Fry’s Corner Beestro
Afternoon Tea $20 for Adults, $12 for Children

I went to the Honeybee Centre a few weeks ago with a friend for their afternoon tea. I think the last time I ventured into the Honeybee Centre was probably for some sort of field trip in elementary school to learn about bees and pollination. If you’ve never been to the Honeybee Centre, there are tours offered for school and seniors groups, a shop to buy all things honey, and their Beestro – where you can have afternoon tea or a more practical meal.

Each table included a honey bear for all your honey sweetening needs – I quite liked that touch. The servers were friendly and enthusiastic whenever they stopped by the table. While I was there for tea, there was a very large (read: 3 large tables worth of people) party that was loud and did manage to take up a lot of the servers’ attention, as one might expected. There’s also an outdoor patio if you want to eat outside.

I usually opt for a black tea with afternoon tea, but because it was such a hot day when we visited, I wasn’t really feeling it. For my tea choice, I had Nana’s Fruit Garden, which is described as a “bright, flavourful fruit tea with berries, apples, and hibiscus” while my friend had the Blossom Organic Green Tea. Our teas came in French presses. Nana’s Fruit Garden steeps to a deep red. It has a lovely fruity sweetness to it, I could taste both apples and berries in it, and it had a touch of tartness from the hibiscus. Nothing a little bit of honey couldn’t fix!

 

The afternoon tea goodies were placed on a two-tier stand. The bottom tier contained all the sandwiches. There was the chicken, brie and red pepper jelly panini (2 pieces per person), egg salad roll, and the artichoke ciabatta. I wasn’t blown away by the egg salad roll or artichoke ciabatta, but I loved the chicken, brie, and red pepper jelly sandwich. It was a delicious flavour combination.

Chicken, brie, and red pepper jelly panini.

The honeycomb scone was paired with a devonshire cream, which also had honey in the small bowl. The devonshire cream wasn’t as thick as I’ve experienced it before in other places, but it was tasty. The scone was really tasty, it definitely had a nice sweetness to it.

Honeybee cupcake.

The sweets included French macaron (we received a strawberry macaron and what tasted like vanilla bean), honeybee cupcake, and salted honey tart. The salted honey tart had an alright tart shell, but the salted honey filling was divine. I’m not sure what they put in there besides salt and honey, but it made my mouth so happy to be here. The cupcake was moist with a sweet frosting on top, and it had a great honey flavour. My friend and I wound up getting a knife to cut the macarons in half so we could each experience both flavours. My favourite was the strawberry, it had a very nice brightness to the berry flavour.

French macarons.

After the tea, we took some photos of the blossom trees, and shopped the gift shop – I picked up some honey and bee pollen (to help with my seasonal allergies!). There’s some beautiful blossom trees right out front, and I saw a lot of honey bees flying around!

I had a really fun time with afternoon tea at the Beestro at the Honeybee Centre. The service was great and I really enjoyed the food. I think next time I go, I’d opt for a more traditional black tea with the afternoon tea service. It’s a fun location, definitely kid friendly if you opt to take any children with you. There’s honey facts everywhere, so you might even learn a little something.