Book/Food Club 10th Anniversary

30 Nov

Yes, we have been meeting, eating and talking about books for ten years! All of it has been splendid so we thought we should celebrate in equally splendid style. A European trip was discussed, as was a trip to one of many fascinating North American destinations. We reconsidered and downsized a bit, thinking that the iconic Jasper Park Lodge might be doable. At the end of the day, after considering our budgets and schedules, we decided upon a locally splendid outing:  Royal Tea in the Harvest Room of Edmonton’s Hotel Macdonald.


The elegant and historic Hotel Macdonald celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. I have always loved this hotel and was happy to celebrate our Book/Food Club’s 10th anniversary along with it.


It is a good idea to attend the Royal Tea  with a hearty appetite. In fact, don’t eat anything else that day.


We started with a Prosecco toast to our friendship, books and food.


Our waiter brought a fine selection of teas. We each unhesitatingly chose the enchantingly named Buckingham Palace Garden Party loose leaf tea.


Here is a description from

Every May, the Queen holds a garden party at Buckingham Palace. The tea that is served is a long time favorite and delicious medley specially selected for this occasion. Intriguing hints of a high-grown Earl Grey flavored Ceylon effortlessly complement the soft jasmine notes of a China green tea. Couple this with malty Assam and golden Kenyan tea and you have one of the most flavorful teas to come from the British Isles. Enjoy this lovely English blend and be a part of the annual tradition in the west gardens of Buckingham Palace! Jasmine and cornflower petals are added for beautiful color.


Our Amuse Bouche was a refreshing, delicate Pear & Cranberry Sorbet with a candied ginger topping.


No High Tea is complete without scones, and the Hotel Macdonald’s are warm, buttery and flaky. These are hefty delights – no dainty offerings in the scone department.  Eating two was a requirement since it was necessary to taste both the classic and apple-maple. What’s that? We could have shared? Well, that’s just wrong-thinking.


The scones were accompanied by Devonshire Cream and a Berry Compote. A second round of jam and cream was requested. Could we have managed with just one? I don’t understand the question.


Triple-decker tea servers with those dear little sandwiches and sweet dainties then arrived. Yes indeed.


Organic Egg Salad on Brioche, Tarragon Lobster Mini Croissant, Seared Bison Saskatoon Berry Aioili Mini Navette, and Sundried Tomato & Artichoke Crostini. Each of these Lilliputian delights was no more than an inch long.


Blueberry Lemon Tart, Mini Cardamom Carrot Cupcake, Orange & Thyme Shortbread, Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Gel, and Spiced Pumpkin Cannoli. Here’s where we finally slowed down a tad. We wisely requested the Hotel Macdonald’s elegant doggy bags to bring home some of the abundance.

It’s a good thing that we did, because upon hearing about our anniversary celebration, our waiter presented each of us with an anniversary plate of even more delightful sweets. Eyes now whirling in heads.


As we are a Book Club, we managed to tear ourselves away from our feast long enough to talk about Dorothy’s book selection: Edmonton author Janice MacDonald’s murder mystery Condemned to Repeat. Since we were celebrating in a heritage building, it was fitting that MacDonald’s (unintended coincidence of name) book is set in in several heritage institutions in Edmonton, including Rutherford House, Fort Edmonton Park, the Ukrainian Cultural Village, St. Stephen’s College, and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. Also fittingly, our Book Club/Food Club is comprised of four women who work in the heritage field, so we were very familiar with the book’s locations.

MacDonald mentions food in her book, including molasses cookies that were baked at the Rutherfords’ first home relocated to historic Fort Edmonton Park, and tea, scones and raspberry butter pots that were served at Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site on the University of Alberta campus. The Royal Tea feast was meant to be.

rutherford house

Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site. Photo: Government of Alberta

Happy Anniversary to us! Perhaps we will be able to find our way to Europe for our 20th anniversary.


Photographs by Marlena Wyman unless otherwise noted

Posted by Truly Scrumptious







2 Responses to “Book/Food Club 10th Anniversary”

  1. swankola November 30, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    I have found high tea at the Mac to be vastly superior to same at the Empress in Victoria tourist trap

  2. swankola November 30, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    That should read (cough)tourist trap(/cough) in angle brackets

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