FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Bites before Christmas

Gift family and friends with food or food experiences.

•The Fairmont YVR now offers afternoon tea. A celebrated Fairmont tradition, they now invite you to “steep” with them. Traditional afternoon tea includes exclusively blended Fairmont hand-picked teas paired with petit sandwiches (such as aged cheddar & apple with fresh basil), tasty pastries, house-made scones and fresh strawberries with Devonshire cream.  The setting of course is part of the experience—views of the mountains and runway activity.

Those seeking a twist on tradition can compliment afternoon tea experience with one of their signature tea-based cocktails, such as Beefy Tea—Beefeater Gin sweetened with vanilla cognac and shaken with Earl Grey tea.  They also offer Junior’s Tea.  Junior’s Tea includes finger sandwiches (peanut butter and jam, of course), chocolate dipped airplane cookie (adults like these too), vanilla cream puff, and a chocolate cupcake.

Tea served from 2 to 4:30 (Although I’ve heard that they’ll accommodate traveling guests and serve it any time of day). Cost: $36 per person. For more info, call 604-248 3281

•While I’m on the topic of tea, Raintree Wellness Spa owner Barb Bell is now a tea master. She and tea master Bill Lee have created unique culinary tea workshops pairing artisan China Flair teas with cheese from Les Amis de Fromage, charcuterie from Oyama, patisserie (such as waffles and white chocolate with lavender drizzle) from Sweet Spot Bakery, tea and spirits, white tea and tapas.

Each of the workshops has limited seating, is interactive, delicious, informative, and full of surprises and discovery. Contact Barb to gift a space at the table in the new year (each two-hour workshop $30). Wrap up the gift certificate with one of the premium teas (Monkey Picked Oolong) and a Brewmaster (tea pot brewer that is used in the workshops). Raintree Wellness Spa is at #125-13020 No. 2 Rd. Info:; 604-274 4426

•And what sweetens tea best–a drop of honey. You know I’m a fan of master beekeeper Brian Campbell and I’m pleased to say that he is now bottling and selling Blessed Bee Honey from Steveston. Find his honey at Galloway’s Specialty Foods for $14.99. And for an experience, give someone the gift of learning from Brian – suited up and working with the bees and their hives. Info:; 778-554-6421.

•How about indulging a loved one with a dinner at home created by a chef cooking in your kitchen? Caterer and chef Ann Kirsebom creates memorable food. So much so that her clients asked her to sell them her sauces (such as Tequi-Lime) which she now bottles and sells at retail stores. Her newest creation? BC Lions Bbq Sauce. Call 604-946-5463 for info.

•Or do what a friend of mine did a few days ago. Lynn was having lunch at Two Chefs and a Table. I was too, with a friend. Lynn left before we did and when we asked for the bill our server told us it had been paid by Lynn with a “Merry Christmas”. What a lovely surprise. That’s the spirit of Christmas. Thanks Lynn.

Arlene Kroeker writes about food every Thursday in The Richmond Review.

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