Thursday, August 06, 2015

Afternoon Tea - an English tradition.

I cannot think of anything more English than afternoon tea. This started when well-to-do ladies made morning calls (in the afternoons) and were served biscuits and tea. Over the years this became a ritual that is now a traditional afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is different from high tea or a cream tea.
Afternoon tea should be served on tiered cake stands and should include a dainty assortment of sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, as well as an assortment of small cakes. Tea must be provided in pretty porcelain cups and a china teapot. Nowadays you can also drink bucks fizz or champagne with your tea.
I have eaten afternoon tea in several places but the best is when it's served at home with friends and family. I bought an old-fashioned mixer in order to be able to bake an afternoon tea. I also have five glass and china cake stands as well as five beautiful cardboard stands and I use pretty flower decorated plates. I had an afternoon tea party for my last birthday and as well as tea and coffee I served Pimms - much more refreshing than champagne in my opinion.
A cream tea is slightly different to an afternoon tea. This will only include freshly baked scones, either with sultanas or without, clotted cream and strawberry conserve. In Devon they put cream on first and then the jam and in Cornwall the other way round – cream tea can also be served in a Devonshire split - a sweet bap (a kind of soft roll) instead of scones. Then we come to High Tea. This would be served at the table using plates and cutlery; traditionally it would be ham, cheese, pickles, possibly tomatoes and served with real bread, freshly sliced. There would also be a centre piece of a large cake on a suitably impressive stand, and possibly scones as well. This is a big meal rather than an extra meal slipped in between lunch and supper.
Eating together with friends and family is always a time for celebration and never more so than when eaten at a beautifully decorated table, with stunning cake stands and served in an English country garden.

Fenella Miller
Fenella's latest book is Lady Emma's Revenge. Lady Emma Stanton is determined to discover who killed her husband even if it means enlisting the assistance of a Bow Street Runner. Sam Ross is not a gentleman, has rough manners and little time for etiquette, but he is brave and resourceful and Emma comes to rely on him - perhaps a little too much?

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Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Gosh, Fenella, it all sounds simply wonderful; I can practically taste your post!

Fenella J Miller said...

It's a lot better now I've removed all the errors - glad you enjoyed it.

benilhalk said...

I love tea and can make ten different types of teas. Recently I had hosted a family tea party at some domestic beachside venues in San Francisco and made different flavoured teas for this. It was a tea tasting kind of party so everyone had a brilliant time.