Written By Holly Brooke Coffee & Tea / Libations / Restaurants / Victoria Aug 15, 2014 Afternoon Tea at The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestTea drinking allows us to take a break from the day. While coffee carries with it that “get up and go” quality, tea is about taking a minute to breathe. In a city with a great deal of British influence, afternoon tea is common enough event, though none quite compares to the experience of tea time at at The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden. Just off of Fairfield Road and hidden by surrounding hedges, the Abkhazi Garden (admission by donation) is a unique and special place.After the deaths of the Abkhazi’s, The Land Conservancy purchased the property in an effort to prevent it being turned into a townhouse development. While the weight of the mortgage remains a concern, the gardens continue to be maintained by a dedicated team of up to 50 volunteers.In 2013, general manager Page Loten’s and his sister Barb Gunn’s (head chef) corporation FoodScents Gourmet partnered with TLC to run the teahouse. Since then the menu has shifted to incorporate a more formal and authentic tea service.“We wanted to have a nice teahouse in a garden. This opportunity came our way and it’s was the perfect combination of both,” says Loten.Quick HistoryThe Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden is located on a two-acre heritage site that once belonged to Prince and Princess Nicholas Abkhazi. The building itself was the couple’s home for over 40 years. Their life story is a true labor of love, and a very interesting piece of history. To learn more about the Abkhazi’s garden and their life together read this article from Recreating Eden.Everything on the menu is made onsite except for the Devonshire cream, says Loten. The teas are from Silk Road Teas and all of the baking, including pastries and gluten free bread (available for sale), is made by pasty chef Gerry Galapon.Partaking in an afternoon tea at The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden is like stepping back into time. There are touches of the couple everywhere, all steeped in the labors of an extraordinary kind of love.“It’s not just about the teahouse and it’s not just about the garden, it’s about the life giving experience that people have when they come here. Says Loten “It’s about the Abkhazi’s, the Prince and the Princess, and their legacy. People feel rejuvenated and [at the same time] calmed by the gardens; and we want to keep that feeling alive during tea. But of course, it’s also about establishing the best tea experience in town.”According to Loten, experts on architecture have noted many aspects in the teahouse’s design typical of Georgian nobility.“It’s not overly grandiose, but austere” says Loten. “The fine herringbone pattern in the floor reveals those characteristics.”The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden offers two types of tea, the “Elevenses” a lighter, less formal variety, and the full three tiered “Afternoon Tea” with your choice of tea. The teahouse is 100% peanut free, and a gluten free afternoon tea is available (no extra cost). They also provide a daily fresh sheet between 11:00pm and 2:30pm with soups, salads and sandwiches. See the menu for more detail. The room is quaint, calm and filled with beautiful china tea sets, most of which have been donated by the community.Special events are held through out the year, including Christmas High Tea, Mother’s Day (serving a four course menu), Easter Tea and the annual Mad Hatters Tea. The gardens and tea house are a perfect location for bridal showers, weddings, anniversaries and retirement parties. Catering is available and served by the teahouse staff.The History of Tea:The (British) ritual of afternoon tea (or low tea) has been long savored since the late 1800’s when it became an everyday occasion. The following passage, from Lindsey Goodwin’s VeeTea details the held origin of afternoon tea.“Legend has it that in 1840 Anna, Duchess of Bedford (one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting) began to request tea and ‘breadstuffs’ […] She began to invite friends over to join her for these refreshments and the tradition of afternoon tea commenced. It was a highly social occasion centered around the low tables of drawing and sitting rooms (hence the name ‘low tea’).” The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden1964 Fairfield Road, Victoria, BC(778) 265-6466WebsiteEmailHours:October through April:Wed-Sun, 11:00am – 5:00pmMay through September7 days a week, 11:00am – 5:00pmgardenstea SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Holly Brooke Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ... Read More You may also like Coffee & Tea / Victoria December 18, 2017 Level Ground Trading Moves Up to New State-of-the-Art Headquarters Victoria, BC – Level Ground Trading, Victoria’s Fair Trade pioneer, is moving from their current location in Central Saanich, to a larger ... Read More Coffee & Tea March 7, 2017 Is Your Coffee in Season? 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