Sakura West Coast Tea Service celebrates Vancouver’s Cherry Blossoms, from April 2

Sakura West Coast Tea Service at Urban Tea Merchant. Photo credit: Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

It’s soon time for the 2012 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, April 5-28, celebrating the beauty of spring under Vancouver’s 37,000 frilly cherry trees. And what’s a celebration without food and drink?

You’ve probably heard about the SakuraB bento boxes available for pre-order and pick up at the Cherry Jam April 5, and the tasting opps at the Sakura Days Japan Fair April 7-8 at VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Here’s a quieter, more exclusive cherry blossom foodie event: The indulgent Sakura West Coast Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant, starting April 2. Situated on Alberni, Vancouver’s mini Rodeo Drive, the Tea Salon at Urban Tea Merchant is offering a platter of Japanese-inspired, sweet and savory delicacies that pair with their fragrant, festival-themed Sakura! Sakura! green tea with cherry blossoms by TWG Tea.

Find out more about the Sakura West Coast Tea Service menu, and The Urban Tea Merchant’s cherry tree courtyard after the jump.

Cherry blossoms in The Urban Tea Merchant's courtyard. Photo credit: Lee Cafferata

The Urban Tea Merchant is situated between Georgia and Alberni (1070 West Georgia Street) with a generous, yet rather secret, courtyard that contains three blossoming cherry trees.

Visitors can either sit out among the drifting petals (remember what Issa said: there is no stranger under the cherry tree), or in the interior tea salon, with a clear view to the blossom-festooned courtyard.

Urban Tea Merchant Tea library. Photo credit: Lee Cafferata

Prior to tea in the Tea Salon, it’s possible to preview the blends (stick your nose in a canister) with a tea sommelier in the TWG Tea library and find your favourite before ordering a pot with the Sakura West Coast Tea Service.

While TWG’s Sakura! Sakura! green tea scattered with cherry blossoms is a worthy ode to spring, there’s also the Geisha Blossom – a calming green tea with hints of fresh summer peaches and calendula. The distinguished Paris Singapore Tea is another favourite match for the Japanese-inspired West Coast Tea Service; this green tea is bursting with red fruit and floral aromas.

Sakura West Coast Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant. Photo credit: Lee Cafferata

The Sakura West Coast Tea Service is generous and two people will probably have a hard time polishing it off. Chef Michael Batoux lovingly crafted the ideal mix of salty and sweet delectables.

The salty bits include: miso-glazed sable fish on butter lettuce, sea weed salad nests on crispy soba noodles, veggie rice paper wraps topped with Japanese-inspired crackers and open-faced salmon sandwiches with soy-maple gelée.

The sweet options were also ample: tea-infused macarons in Lemon Bush and caramel-Napoleon, tea-infused truffles, chevron (chocolate covered) strawberries and fresh fruits.

Sakura West Coast Tea Service sharing platter. Photo credit: Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura West Coast Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant starts April 2. Reservations are recommended.

The Sakura! Sakura! Tea is also available in haute couture, retro-chic TWG tea tins, in honour of Kyoto’s longstanding cherry blossom culture.

TWG Sakura! Sakura! Tea. Photo credit: TWG Tea

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