I always knew I enjoyed tea (I thank all those weekend dim sum brunch meals growing up for that!), but I never thought I’d love it and engage with it as much as I do now. I drink tea every morning when I come into work (it’s such a delight rotating between my current 5 loose leaf packets from Steeped & Infused), I keep up with seasonal flavours, I read tea books, I love marrying cupcakes with a cup of hot tea, and I am absolutely amoured by tea time and afternoon teas! The atmosphere, the food, the beautiful accessories, porcelain and china; the dining experience it affords is in a league of it own. My dream would be to attend every imaginable afternoon tea in the land – I would be so happy! I think my obsession with tea is definitely nearing its peak and I really don’t see it waning any time soon.
So I indulged my warm and fuzzy feelings for afternoon tea with a special Sunday afternoon tea at Le Dolci’s sweet studio! Soft music floating in the background, adorable tea cups, saucers, and dishes, and over 5 different types of decadent desserts among other delectable eats – afternoon tea at Le Dolci is as sweet as it gets! I was so, so excited when I found out Lisa and the team would be doing afternoon tea sessions at their new studio on Dundas West back in August. I knew the experience would be really fun, different, and yummy, but I also knew that this was something really personal and special to Lisa. After living and working in the UK for a decade, the tea bug is bound to bite you one way or another if you haven’t been bitten already! Lisa, Miya, and I used to drink tea together all the time when I was interning at the studio and we’d always Ooo and ahh over sweet accessories we would find. Aside from cupcakes and sweets, tea was a common love and it just made everything that much more mellow and relaxed when we took that time to savour it and enjoy it.
I was so excited to see what Lisa would have in store for this tea session. Afternoon teas, held on Sundays (keep in mind that afternoon teas aren’t held every Sunday at this point though, they just happen to fall on Sundays when they are made available on the class schedule as opposed to Fridays or Saturdays for instance) from 12pm – 2pm, are non-instructional sessions that are open to anyone and everyone with a love for sweets and tea! Non-instructional simply means that the afternoon tea is purely a “come in and stuff your face while having a lot of fun!” type of session. There’s no workshop or seminar, no demo or crafting of anything ; it’s just pure enjoyment of food and drink.
Teas are priced at $35/person and spaces must be booked in advance, either by phone or through their website via the class schedule. Now, I had a brain fart when I first booked my spot because I mixed myself up and thought the entire tea took 2 hours, but the 12pm-2pm tea time is completely flexible! So long as you’ve booked your spot you’re welcome to start your tea at 12:30pm, 1pm, whatever floats your boat (within reason – obviously if you show up at a quarter to two, that’s not going to fly!) and subsequently, you can finish up any time within those 2 hours. You simply need to book your spot in advance so Lisa and her team can plan out their tea menu and know exactly how much food to make so nothing goes to waste and so they can make sure everything is ready to go the morning of for the freshest baked goods and eats.
Beautiful sunlight streamed through the studio’s front display window and the big, long, stainless steel worktable was decked out in a white tablecloth with tea cups and saucers, milk and sugar, and small dishes to enjoy our nibbles! The dishes and accessories were so darn gorgeous. Enjoying the food on such pretty tableware was half the fun! Some of these dishes were special antiques and works of art from the UK (that dish featured in the first photo? Hand-painted!), while others were just nifty pick-ups around town. The crazy tea accessory lover in me was lapping all this up like an eager puppy!
Okay, so what does afternoon tea at Le Dolci entail? Hot loose leaf tea from Tealish (4 flavours on hand including Sweetie Pie, Earl Grey Classic, Sencha Organic green tea, and Peppermint!), 4 different kinds of tea sandwiches on multi-grain bread with the crusts cut off (but of course!), and literally enough sweets and baked goods to last you an entire week – no joke! The awesome thing about the tea specifically is that you can try different kinds! Lisa will brew a pot of whatever flavour you want at first, but if you decide that you want to try a different one middway through, she can brew another one. Granted, I wouldn’t start asking for all 4 flavours, but it’s fine if you want to sip on another one later on in the tea.
Another thing I really loved was the sheer volume of food! All afternoon teas are based on a per person count, but holy bejeebus, after my boyfriend and I polished off our sandwich plate with 8 portions, Lisa came by and plopped another plate of 4 in front of us! That’s 6 sandwiches in total, 3 per person (each portion is half a sandwich). I don’t know about you, but I have never eaten 3 sandwiches plus sweets plus a bajillion cups of tea. I knew there would be leftovers (gut intuition) so I came prepared and brought tupperware. It came in handy! That day, we were given an assortment of roast beef with mustard, smoked salmon, ham, and a fantastic egg salad with crunchy green onions! You all know I love smoked salmon to pieces, but I have to say, I loved the ham and egg salad ones a lot too! So simple yet so good.
And the sweets. Oh, the sweets. Full-size frosted cupcakes (vanilla with coffee frosting and chocolate with vanilla frosting), mini cupcakes (vanilla and coffee), biscotti, little scones (cheddar and dried fruit ones), brownie squares, lemon coconut squares, macarons (coconut and strawberry), and lamingtons, an Australian and New Zealand dessert made of sponge cake and coated in chocolate and rolled in shredded coconut! Did you get all that?! It was such a great varied assortment and there were so many different things to try! I loved the variety and if I had to choose, my favourites would have to be the lemon coconut squares, the cupcakes with coffee frosting, and the macarons!
It was a really fun, sweet afternoon tea and I’m so happy Lisa decided to have it as part of her fun foodie line-up. I genuinely enjoyed all the food we were given and it’s just nice being in the studio surrounded by yummy smells and great people. I am no doubt coming back for more – the leftovers are just the icing on the cake!
Le Dolci brand new studio is located at 1006 Dundas Street West, right at the corner of Dundas West and Montrose Ave. The studio is across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park and are open for business 6 days a week. Operating hours are from 10am-6pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 12pm-5pm on Sundays.