Traditional Afternoon Tea

Traditional Afternoon Tea

A Traditional Afternoon Tea

Hunger pangs we all get them. The Duchess of Bedford famously created “afternoon tea” to fill the gap between lunch and dinner. Who hasn’t enjoyed the occasional snack before dinner and who better than the English nobility to take tea with a light snack and make it a social occasion. 

Afternoon tea can be as simple as a cup of your favourite tea served with a biscuit, a pot of tea shared between friends with a slice of strawberry sponge cake; or go traditional and use your best teacups and fill a three-tiered stand filled with a mixture of sweet and savoury bites.  

Any way you decide to serve up afternoon tea will be perfect as its purpose is primarily to satisfy hunger pangs. But if you like the idea of formalising invitees or just want to share the pleasure of an indulgent bite with family and friends why not try a traditional afternoon tea.

For an elegant traditional afternoon tea party start with French champagne paired with dainty sandwiches, mini quiches and savoury vole vaunts. Just remember everything is served up in small bite sized amounts. This will allow for polite conversation between bites and no mess.


Traditional Savouries

Traditional sandwiches include cucumber and cream cheese, egg salad or chicken tea sandwiches cut into fingers. Other savoury bites that are popular and easy to serve are mini quiches, tartlets, and devilled eggs. Tea sandwiches and savouries should be consumed in three bites. 

Now your guests will be ready for the second course: a pot of French earl grey tea made the proper way with tea leaves and steeped in 90-degree water for 4 min exactly before pouring into teacups. Taken with milk or lemon and served with scones jam and cream. A mixture of plain and date scones is recommended in the middle tier. The plain scones should be fresh out of the oven and served with strawberry or raspberry jam and whipped cream.

For something special, offer lavender jelly spread. Normally each guest will get one scone. The best way to eat a scone is to cut it in half with a knife, spread the jam first then add a dollop of cream on top. Eat the scone bite by bite, do not make a scone sandwich as it will “not go well” meaning there will be a mess to clean. By the time your guests have consumed their scone they will be ready for another cup of tea and possibly a sweet pastry, custard tart, madeleine, macaroon or petite four. I absolutely love French patisseries which work perfectly with French earl grey tea. 


Something for the children

Finally, don’t forget the little ones. Let them help you make some kid friendly tea sandwiches using soft white bread buttered with spreads such as Nutella or Jam. Use a cookie cutter to cut into rounds so they look like mini sponge cakes.  Other tasty options for child friendly fillings are creamy peanut butter and French style soft set conserve. For a soft set conserve, constantly mix a teaspoon of lavender syrup with 2 teaspoons of strawberry jam to loosen the jam and make it easier to spread.

If there is a nut intolerance, then try slicing fresh strawberries and sprinkle with sugar or lavender syrup with an alternate layer of softened cream cheese or ricotta.  Assemble the layers as follows: bread spread with peanut butter topped with bread, then spread with jam topped again with bread. Looks like a mini double layered sponge cake.

If you’re serving sparkling wine, then treat the kids to a sparkling spider which is made with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom of a glass topped with raspberry lemonade and stirred to mix into a milky froth. This drink will need a straw. Delicious.

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