Ste. Anne’s Spa for afternoon tea (Grafton)

After a day of pampering at Ste. Anne’s, what better way is there to end the day (assuming you’re not staying overnight) than indulging in afternoon tea with your guests? An extra meal squeezed in between lunch and dinner; time to sit back and sip tea while going over the highlights. 

Given we already had a hefty lunch, we didn’t think we could get through all the tiers, but somehow we managed. Who knew an hour hike around the property would spur up such an appetite? 

Their tea selection consists of a page of options. The English Breakfast, which I had during lunch, was nice and strong and gave me the caffeine jolt I needed. But, for afternoon tea, it seemed better to stick with something light and mellow, the green tea was the ideal option. 

The traditional tiered plate arrived to share and contained enough food to leave us satisfied (and not requiring dinner that evening) but still in small bites so we could get through trying everything.

Within the top tier was a tamari glazed steamed carrot bun, which almost tastes like Chinese BBQ pork buns except stuffed with squash and has a sweet and silky texture. This was very tasty. So was the tourtière topped with savoury caramelized onion jam … two bites of goodness. Only the cream cheese and cucumber sandwich, a staple of the afternoon tea, was forgettable – possibly because everything else was so good.  

In the middle, a tier of cheese (havarti and gouda?) with crostini, crudites, and grapes. It’s an interesting addition and nicely transitions the savoury bites to sweet.

But, the one thing that makes afternoon tea are the scones. At Ste. Anne’s, theirs are filled with raisins (something I could do without). Yet, in the spirit of tea, once I slathered enough Devonshire cream and jam onto it, it was fine. Interestingly, Ste. Anne’s also offers two Devonshire creams with two levels of sweetness.

What surprised me the most was the final sweet tier and how enjoyable they were. These are generally the items I’ll take a bite of and put down, at most finish one– at Ste. Anne’s, I indulged in everything: 

  • Macarons can sometimes be too brittle or sweet, but at Ste. Anne's it was like eating an airy biscuit that envelopes your mouth in an almond flavour that thankfully didn't resemble fake extract. 
  • Meanwhile, the sesame butter cookie was deliciously nutty and chewy. Oh, how I wanted more!Alas, by the time we made our way to Ste. Anne's bakery down the road, I was met with disappointment. 
  • Lastly, and most surprisingly, the walnut cocoa truffle, which was creamy and incorporates a rich cocoa taste without the overpowering sugary blast – all truffles should taste like this.
Given Ste. Anne’s is a spa, afternoon tea was served in a bright sunny room very casually. You don’t need to wear a hat and heels (in fact, robes are not only allowed, but encouraged) and feel free to laugh and be noisy. After all, the day trip is all about relaxing and recharging. Oh, and of course, refueling at the end of the day.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Grafton, Canada
 Address: 1009 Massey Rd

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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