I had to pop over to Victoria for a couple of days to UVic, and I took the opportunity to wander about a little and enjoy a few food highlights. Victoria may be the last bastion of the British Empire, complete with double decker busses, gardens, and a strangely stubborn British accent that hangs around generation after generation like the last pieces of silver from a once great household. In fact a University of Victoria professor, Alexandra D’arcy, is studying the accent, and one day when I have some time I will document the food culture of Victoria properly. It is not entirely British, at least not in any sort of contemporary way, and if you want a curry in Victoria you will be disappointed unless you actually are British aristocracy, and can afford the curry at the Empress.
Alas, I had yet to discover any relatives in a position to leave me a small manor house with an income, so I had to skip my favourite place in Victoria, the Bengal Room at the Empress. It is great fun if you feel like dressing up and pretending that Britain still rules the seas. But there are still a good deal of places where you can still enjoy a little old world charm, so I took the time to go to Murchie’s for tea and scones.
Tea is one of the great defining beverages of history. Safe to drink, without the muddling effect of alcohol, tea fueled the British empire and helped drive the industrial revolutions. Scones, on the other hand, taste good with jam and cream. Murchie’s does them right; the scones are fluffy, the jam isn’t too sweet, and they still use proper trays. The sun may have set on the British empire a long time ago, but not here. At least not at tea time.