Sugar and Spice and all things nice!
Sugar and spice and all things nice are essential ingredients of afternoon tea that has become a lovely English tradition.
The History of afternoon tea
The ritual of "Afternoon Tea" is thought to have begun in the 1840s by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, prominent in London High Society and a close friend of Queen Victoria.
She suffered from afternoon "hunger pangs or something that we all know as that sinking feeling and she put that to rights by ordering a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake. She soon made this a habit and shared tea with her friends and it very quickly became a "thing" with people in high places, so much so that ladies would change into their beautiful gowns, gloves and hats to enjoy the tea, which would have been served in the drawing room around 4 o'clock.
In summer the tea was often taken outside so everyone could enjoy the beautiful gardens.
The 1920s marked the height of the craze, and saw the aristocracy bringing out their finest silver, linen tablecloths, elegant teacups, whilst musicians played and the best tea money could buy was served.
High tea is a completely different thing from afternoon tea but is often confused with it.
High tea was the main meal of the day for the working class. Originating during the Industrial Revolution, workers coming home after a long hard day of physical labour were looking forward to a hot, hearty meal. High tea is called so because it was the main meal of the day.
What makes the perfect afternoon tea?
Traditionally there are sandwiches, often with the crusts cut off. These could have any delicate filling such as salmon, cucumber, ham etc.
A sausage roll is a must but is relatively a new introduction as is a small slice of quiche. A few crisps add a nice salty accompaniment.
Next a scone, fruit or plain with a combination (to your choice) of lovely creamy butter, Homemade strawberry jam and fresh or clotted cream.
There is always a healthy debate on whether scones should be prepared the Cornish way or the Devon way. Whats your favourite? I would always go with the Cornish way myself. Jam first and then cream!
Mini cakes, slices of cake, mini tartlets, mini meringues, fruit loaf or fruit cake.
Making the Tea.
There are a few ways that people talk about making tea.
When you set out to make the pot or cup of tea you might say "I will put the kettle on"
Depending where you come from you might say "I'll make a brew" or "Are you mashing?"
How to make the perfect pot of tea
- Select a loose-leaf tea such as English Breakfast or Earl Grey.
- Boil fresh cold water in the kettle.
- Pour a little boiling hot water into your teapot and whirl it around to heat it up, then pour it out.
- Add 1 teaspoon of tea leaves to the pot for every cup of water.
- As soon as the water boils, pour it over the leaves in the pot. Leaving water to boil too long causes it to loose its oxygen and therefore its freshness. This is why you shouldn't reboil a kettle too.
- Allow tea to steep (brew or mash) for 2 to 5 minutes. Tea is often poured out quite quickly for thos who like a weaker cup of tea or left longer for a strong cup.
But what about cookies I hear you say?
Cookies are a great way to introduce a theme to the celebration and make that Afternoon Tea something extra special. Cookie Doodle Doo can provide themed cookies for any occasion. If you have a special event coming up and want themed cookies why not contact us?
Themed cookies for all occasions can bring in colour and sentiments to any celebration.
Baby Showers or Hen Parties are becoming more and more popular and afternoon tea is a perfect way to celebrate.
Cookie Doodle Doo - personalised cookies made just for you!
So that's it - The History of Afternoon Tea - All thanks to Anna!