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Applewood Country Gifts & Teahouse

Okay, if there was ever I place that I wanted to try while not really looking forward to it, Applewood Country Gifts & Teahouse would be it. I have nothing against the place; in fact, I have never stepped foot into it. However, scones, biscuits, tea and gossip are not really my thing. If you can remember, the only ever post about High Tea was posted by Viv. I had no part in it. However, Miss Y decided to get a group of ladies together for some crumpets (well, not really, but that sounded appropriate). I was on the invited list as well. I mulled it over for a few days and figured that this was probably my only chance to try the place out. It's a whole lot better than going solo and disturbingly taking photos of finger sandwiches in the corner. To my delight, I was not the only male in the group of 8, so I had a support system of sorts.

Upon entering the place, I can see where the "Country Gifts" part of the name comes from. With a variety of knick knacks at the front, there are certainly a selection of quaint gifts. Upon further inspection, there are display cases full of fudge, baked goods and tea. Miss Y had made a reservation and there was a long table waiting for us. With a country charm, the place definitely felt homey and inviting, even for me. As some people were planning to order from the regular menu, I only had sights for the High Tea. At first, it looked as if my male counterpart was the only willing participant. Egads! Fortunately, 2 more joined in, including Miss Y. For once, she had something that the establishment was known for. For those who are not familiar with High Tea, it is an English tradition of having tea with finger food such as little sandwiches, pastries, sweets and dainties. Add in a few scoops banter and a pinch of gossip to complete the experience. In fact, they have a wall of really cute hats, if someone wanted to go all out. I, for one, did not even consider that idea.

For $20.00 per person, the High Tea here is one of the most reasonably-priced in the GVRD. So for starters, I got my tea. I picked the featured one being the Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose. It was pretty fragrant and definitely soothing. I made sure to stick out my pinky whilst sipping. Our first course consisted of a 2-tiered serving platter with Egg Salad tea sandwiches and what looked like Cucumber & Cream Cheese on a slice of baguette. On the bottom tier, there were Mini-Sausage Rolls and something similar to a Gougère (but more eggy) stuffed with salmon. Everything was pretty decent with the sausage roll standing out. It was flaky while not being too oily. Up next was a plate of Mini-Scones served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and raspberry jam. The scones were actually quite light (which is usually the opposite of what most scones are like) and that made them easy to eat. I particularly liked the lemon curd. It was tangy and had nice bits of zest.

Finally, we got our last course which was also served on a 2-tiered platter. On the top were Mini-Chocolate Cupcakes with pink frosting and Shortbread Cookies. I personally dislike frosting, so I only at the cake and it was fluffy and not too sweet. I loved the shortbread cookies, they were buttery and crumbly. On the bottom tier, there was a Cream Cheese Brownie and some cake that just seemed like white cake with frosting. I ignored the cake and enjoyed the brownie. It was quite dense; but I like the addition of cream cheese because there is nothing better than adding cream cheese to anything. Of course you might be wondering if I was full from the High Tea... Well, I wasn't; but that really isn't the point. High Tea is, as the name suggests, served during tea time in the afternoon. It is more of snack than anything else. Sure, it remains somewhat pricey for what you get; yet that is not really an issue if that is the experience you are looking for. Besides, most other places charge a lot more. For me, I'm not much of a High Tea person. However, I would gladly do it again just for the heck of it.

The Good:
- Inexpensive High Tea (compared to other places)
- Friendly service
- Very homey place

The Bad:
- Not as refined as other places of the same ilk

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