Tea and wine share similar languages. In both, aficionados will speak of the oxidization and fermentation of the leaves and the grapes, tannins (a natural preservative that adds to the pungency of tea and the balance of wine) and notes like smoky, woody or fruity. It is befitting, then, that afternoon tea is also a cherished Niagara-on-the-Lake tradition.
Drawing Room of The Prince of Wales Hotel (6 Picton St., 1-888-669-5566)
The English garden themed decor of the elegant drawing room sets the refined tone. Attendants in traditional black-dress-and-white-apron uniforms serve tea with egg and watercress, smoked salmon, and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, plus fruit tarts, éclairs, cheese and, of course, scones. The Little Prince Tea accommodates guests age 12 and under who wish to partake in this centuries-old tradition. Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. daily. Price: From $32 per person.
The Buttery (19 Queen St., 1-905-468-2564)
Originally a rest stop for weary sailors after the War of 1812, The Buttery restaurant offers fare of a different sort today. Afternoon tea features your cuppa with egg salad or cucumber sandwiches, scones and homemade pastries. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: $11.95 per person.
The Charles Inn (209 Queen St., 1-866-556-8883)
This 1832-era historical landmark, one of the most distinguished buildings in the area, was refurbished in 2004 and retains many original details such as crystal chandeliers. Savour more than 30 flavours of teas with finger sandwiches and sweets such as brownies, squares and scones. Seating is limited, so call ahead or arrive early. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: $14 per person.
A wine-themed getaway to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Vine Time.
For expert advice on what to pair with your newly-purchased vintages, see Ask a Sommelier.
Web Exclusive! From a wine route to a beer route: check out The Art of the Brew.—Linda Luong