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COOKING COMPANION


After noon Tea


‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.’


this trend. Back in her time, the upper echelons would have only the lightest lunch around noon, while dinner was served no earlier than 7pm. Legend has it that during one particularly long and uneventful aſt ernoon, the Duchess became hungry and ordered tea and cake to her room. T is mid-aſt ernoon snack seemed to do the trick and it wasn’t long until her well-heeled friends began joining her in the post-lunch tea ritual.


T T is pause for tea in the mid-aſt ernoon soon


became a fashionable social event and by the late 1800’s, a myriad of conventions surrounded the act of enjoying aſt ernoon tea. For starters, upper class society ladies would change into formal


he tradition of aſt ernoon tea fi rst emerged as a social event sometime around the 1840s. Apparently, it was Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who fi rst set


‘Tea was usually served in


the drawing room between four and fi ve o’clock and only the best china and silverware was brought out for the occasion’


attire, donning their favourite long gowns, gloves and hats. Tea was usually served in the drawing room between four and fi ve o’clock and only the best china and silverware was brought out for the occasion.


Typically, aſt ernoon tea would feature dainty


crustless fi nger sandwiches and an array of sweet treats such as scones, cakes and macaroons. Convention dictated that you would mind your


manners at the aſt ernoon tea table; placing your napkin on your lap and stirring your tea gently. T is was not a time for splashing your drink, clinking your cutlery or licking fi ngers. Propriety called for restraint, which made aſt ernoon tea more of a theatrical performance than a meal.


T ese days, aſt ernoon tea retains much of


the pomp and circumstance of its past, but is arguably more inclusive. Many of us view it as a treat for special occasions, such as celebrating a loved one's birthday or wedding. It is oſt en enjoyed with the decadent addition of a glass of champagne or prosecco and can be themed to suit many occasions. Something that hasn’t changed though is our love for the classic fi nger sandwich, delicious aſt ernoon treats and the humble scone. T ese are the stalwarts of the aſt ernoon tea and will no doubt forever hold a special place in the hearts of the British nation.


FOODLOVERMAGAZINE.COM | 57


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