One of the great blessings in life is friends, and having those friends to share in awesome food experiences.  I’m thankful to have friends who have the same enthusiasm for food that I do, because food always tastes better when you’re with others.

I gathered some of my favourite ladies together to share in an afternoon tea experience that I hadn’t had before in Calgary.  There aren’t many places that do afternoon tea here, but I discovered The Dove’s Nest through some Google action and it looked very promising.  The fact that they have gluten-free options is a definite plus!  So I made a reservation (which they highly recommend) and off we went on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

The Dove’s Nest is located at the Glenmore Landing Shopping Centre, a strip mall with a variety of shops in the Southwest of Calgary.  It’s a family-owned and operated business that started about 8 years ago.  The shopping area is quite busy – it took me a bit to find a parking space and the area itself was congested.  Probably typical of a Saturday afternoon, so nothing to really worry about.

teasThe exterior is standard-issue strip mall, but inside it’s so quaint and cosy.  They have a variety of loose leaf teas for sale near the entrance, where they also sell tea sets and various artwork.  The place was busy, so I’m glad we made a reservation.  A few groups were coming and going, so it took a few minutes for us to be seated, but the wait wasn’t that long at all.

We got what they call their “high tea”, which is served from 2:00-4:00pm.  It comes with a pot of tea, a scone, assorted sandwiches, and sweet treats.  The pricing isn’t too bad – $24.95 for one, or $47.95 for two ($1.00 surcharge for gluten-free).  They describe this as “high tea”, but I think they mean “afternoon tea”; the two are actually different.  But I won’t get into the details and history because I’m certainly no expert on the subject.  All I know is that I experienced afternoon tea back when I was on a working visa in Australia and I loved it so much.

The Dove’s Nest also has a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dessert items that look quite enticing.  We saw an elderly couple enjoying some regular lunch menu items and they looked so delicious, so I’d love to go back and try it out sometime.

teapotOur friendly server came by and took our tea orders.  With over a 100 teas to choose from, it was a bit daunting to pick one.  I decided on the Creme de la Earl Grey, which has hints of vanilla and cream.  It came in a large pot and the aroma was amazing.  The tea itself was delicious.

gfaftteaI got my own individual tray with the gluten-free options.  I love these little trays!

afttea

sandwichesdessertsregsconesMy friends got a larger tray (for 3 people) with the regular options.  The presentation is really nice.

gfsandwichesgfdessertssconeMy gluten-free options didn’t differ that much from the regular tray.  I still got the assorted sandwiches, the desserts, and a scone.  The true standout from the sandwich tray was the quiche – it was still warm, the pastry was light and flaky, and the filling itself was creamy with just a hint of cheese.  I also enjoyed the egg salad; I was pleasantly surprised that the bread wasn’t a dense brick like most gluten-free breads could be, and the egg salad filling was delicious.  The scone was a bit on the dense side, but I was impressed by this gluten-free version.  I happily enjoyed it with the raspberry preserves and whipped cream.  I was only able to eat one of the desserts (due to a full belly), so I opted for the lemon tart which came with a nice, flaky pastry and a tart but sweet lemon filling.  Yum!  A great way to end a lovely tea.

The amount of food on these trays is actually deceiving and we had a ton of leftovers.  They take great care in wrapping said leftovers – each sandwich and dessert were individually wrapped in a box.  I enjoyed that special touch.

Afternoon tea was the perfect way to get together with friends, reminisce about old times, and make new memories.  We enjoyed it so much that we all agreed to make afternoon tea a quarterly outing, so I’m really looking forward to the next time we all descend on The Dove’s Nest to partake in another afternoon of delights.

The Dove’s Nest
Suite 106a, 1600 90 Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2V5A8
Phone: (403) 258-3300
http://www.thedovesnest.ca

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