Victoria Day (or May 2-4 as its often called) is a Canadian holiday that commemorates monarch, Queen Victoria’s, birthday. It’s celebrated annually on the Monday preceding May 25 in every province and territory, except for Quebec (where National Patriotes Day is observed instead). This year, in 2016, Victoria Day falls on Monday, May 23.
However, for most Canadians the 3 day weekend marks the unofficial kick off to summer! If you’ve celebrated the Victoria Day long weekend anywhere in Canada, you rightfully know that you could be planning for a backyard barbecue or an impromptu indoor shut-in due to a any array of snow, sleet, rain, or hail. No matter the weather, these seven recipes will ensure you celebrate your long weekend with the air and grace of a queen…
Regardless of if you’re a loyal monarchist or not, we all love cake. Luckily, this sponge cake is quintessentially British yet oh-so simple, with it’s layers of light and airy vanilla sponge with thick smears of double cream and strawberry (or raspberry) jam between. The top is decorated with a light dusting of icing sugar and fresh berries. Pop in the fridge 30-minutes prior to serving so it’s less crumbly when cut in front of guests.
A true British classic with an air of such sophistication in Victorian and Edwardian times that this very soup was ladled up daily in the dining cars of the British Rail. Queen Victoria was reputedly a particular fan of this authentic recipe from the kitchens of Royal Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, England. A rich and hearty soup made with lamb, beef, flour, madeira wine, rice, parsnip, carrots, and onions, a bowl can suffice as a meal if it’s served with a crusty roll or a hearty scone.
A teatime must! These iconic cream cheese scones are meant to accompany and bring out the delicate aromas and flavours of your favourite cuppa. The classic recipe features all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, cream, and cream cheese for a dense scone that bakes up golden brown and just melts-in-your-mouth. Serve scones with clotted cream and a selection of sticky fruit jams.
Everything about high tea should be dainty, including the bone china cups and sauces, the silver cutlery, the tablecloths and napkins, and the sandwiches. These lovely little open-faced sammies fit the bill. Served open-faced on a slice of sourdough or French bread smeared with butter and herbed cream cheese, each slice is dressed with thinly sliced radish and sprinkled with chopped chives.
crème de cassis served over decadent vanilla ice cream. The classic recipe was invented by Auguste Escoffier, the French chef, restauranteur, and culinary writer who served a flambéed version of this dish for Queen Victoria’s 1897 Diamond Jubilee.
Lore has it that afternoon tea was introduced to Queen Victoria’s court by Anna Maria Stanhope, the 7th Duchess of Bedford as a way to mitigate afternoon fatigue and lift spirits. Certainly a cozy cup of tea accompanied by dainty cookies, like these, would boost sugar levels and mood. These chocolate-dipped sandwich cookies, named for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, are filled with a decadent mixture of sticky almond and pistachio paste and half dipped in sweet, sweet chocolate.
Before the Queen of Dragons (for the Game of Thrones fans), Queen Victoria ruled the United Kingdom during a time of immense industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military transition that helped expand the British Empire. She also loved her afternoon tea, and was known for hosting fancy dress tea parties (or high tea) for the idle rich at 5pm, prior to the 9pm meal. This pudding made with custard, jam, and meringue, was also a favourite of the Queen’s at high tea.