Afternoon tea week

Posted by Andrew Fouracre | 14/08/2013 | Category: Food

It’s afternoon tea week!  Afternoon tea is a tradition that dates back to the 1840s in England, initially enjoyed amongst the wealthy classes.  There’s some debate surrounding whom we have to thank, as the Duchess of Bedford is credited for converting the afternoon cuppa into a late-afternoon meal, whereas the wife of Charles II is known for introducing tea to the Royal Court upon her arrival in 1662.  The cup of tea in its current form was widely enjoyed by the end of the nineteenth century by both the upper and middle classes.  It’s now enjoyed by everyone, regardless of your heritage or ‘standing’ in the community!

Popping a teabag into a mug might deliver the same brew, but it’s not afternoon tea!  The experience is much more than that.  A teapot is essential if you’re going to indulge as well as a cup and saucer.  Whether you choose to go all out on a decadent selection of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries or just a slice of your favourite sponge cake, it’s the shared experience with friends and family that really makes the get together.  Traditionally, afternoon tea is served between 4 – 6pm, but it’s really up to you.

It’s possible to put on a decent spread without breaking the bank.  The way you present your treats is just as important as the food itself.  I recently enjoyed afternoon tea with friends where the sandwiches had been presented like a chequer board.  The host had simply cut off the crusts, trimmed the sandwiches to size and placed them on a square serving board.  A tuna and cucumber sandwich might not seem that exciting in itself, but with a little imagination you can turn dull into delicious.

With the internet at your fingertips, there are plenty of great recipes if you want to mimic Mary Berry or a trip to your local Midlands Co-operative store will provide you with plenty of sweet treats to serve up, such as our Truly Irresistible cup cakes or our fruited scones.  A pot of clotted cream and strawberry preserve turns a scone into gone! 

However you choose to spend your afternoon is up to you.  Shop bought or home baked, a little or a lot, it doesn’t really matter.  Afternoon tea can be very filling, so it’s not unusual for dinner plans to get shelved once you’ve indulged in afternoon tea.  Why not send us some pictures of your afternoon tea time?  We’ll be happy to share them in our blog!