Bean Around Books connects curious minds with literary gems in a tidy, friendly atmosphere awash in the aromas of freshly brewed teas. The shop shelves an array of new and used books—from romance and mystery to sci-fi and self-help—that currently include page flippers such as the Star Trek Titan series ($5+) and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code ($15) in a special illustrated edition. Customers hunting for a rare first edition of Chicken Soup for the Salad-Shunning Soul can enjoy more than 25 loose-leaf teas in the seating area, or take home infusions that include varieties such as luscious mango ($11.99/100 g), green ginseng ($11.49/100 g), and Ilam artisanal oolong ($15.99/100 g) from Nepal. In the seating area, guests enjoy plentiful room in which to sip their earl grey while practicing Sherlock Holmes impressions or surfing the shop’s free WiFi. Bean Around Books also features the work of local artists and visiting writers, and an assortment of handcrafted jewellery.
The brewmasters at Mystic Leaf Tea put some of Mother Nature's tastiest offerings to good use with their temptingly aromatic tea service and exotic collection of jarred loose-leaf and ground teas ready for at-home percolation. The shop's fragrant, tranquil tearoom entices guests to while away the afternoon sipping on bubble tea––a sweet milk tea populated with chewy pearl-tapioca balls swiped from marshmallow oysters––or steamy refreshments brewed with antioxidant-loaded rooibos, green, or oolong tea leaves.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Free street parking
Reservations/Appointments: Not necessary
Most popular offering: Weight Loss Program
Pro Tip: Make sure you check our hours before coming down to shop.
When Tracy Stern was a child, she travelled across Europe with her parents as they searched for antiques to bolster their collection. Eventually, she started a collection of her own: teacups. As she (and her collection) grew, she became more entranced with tea’s history and heritage and the elegance of the 17th-century French salons where artists, thinkers, and fashionable citizens gathered to talk about how much they wished they had the Internet while sipping from their cups. Tracy went on to study art and art history in Europe, making a point to visit the most reputable tea rooms before opening her own.
Today, Salontea presents guests with a place to gather and relax over steaming cups of tea made from botanicals, herbs, and spices that were hand picked from private estates. Guests can browse signature tea sachets and loose teas, with blends such as The Writer—a smooth, spicy Indian chai with cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon—or beauty teas such as The Sleeping Beauty—a tisane with chamomile flowers and lavender, used to help calm and aid digestion. While letting the aromas drift through their minds, parties let their eyes wander to the airy shop's bright-orange and chocolate accent walls, which lend color to sleek, white-tiled walls. Plenty of nods to 17th-century France also infuse the space, such as the styled silhouettes that appear on each tea tin. Guests can drink up the atmosphere as they nibble on macaroons or discuss the proper way to store their petticoats over afternoon tea with petite sandwiches and scones.
Born into a farming family in South Africa, Aubergine Specialty Foods owner Leon Zetler has always recognized the importance of knowing where your food comes from. Over the years, his passion for food has led him from his family farm to a career as an organic-produce specialist.
Now, at Aubergine Specialty Foods, Mr. Zetler visits local farms daily, and hand-selects the freshest produce from Saanich. For example, tomatoes and cucumbers hail from Sun Wing Farm, while strawberries come from Oldfield Orchard. He also roasts organic and fair-trade African coffee beans to order, and gently grinds them in a 110-year-old Elgin coffee grinder. And he imports a vast variety of organic, kosher, and fair-trade pantry staples and favorites from around the world, specifically Africa, such as biltong, boerewors, and Mrs. Balls Chutney.
Mr. Zetler is happy to guide newcomers around the small, cheerful store. In the event that customers can’t find what they’re looking for, he even takes requests for products they would like to see on the shelves.l