We all enjoy the delights of tea, sandwiches and cake in the afternoon (well at any time really!), but where did this fabulous tradition begin?
Although we have been drinking tea in England since the 1660s, when it was made popular by King Charles II and his wife Catherine de Braganza, afternoon tea did not develop as a concept until much later.
It is believed that afternoon tea was first introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the 1840s. At this time dinner was traditionally served quite late, somewhere between 8-9pm, and due to the gap between lunch and dinner the Duchess would feel hungry at about 4pm.
To ease her hunger pangs the Duchess requested that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. As time went on she invited her friends to join her for this afternoon feast. As more people experienced this wonderful meal other hostesses picked up this tradition, inviting their friends to join them for afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea became a fashionable social event, with ladies dressing for the occasion. This is something that me and my friends still observe today – there is nothing better than enjoying a spot of afternoon tea with your friends, dressed in your best dress!
Traditional afternoon tea consists of dainty finger sandwiches (crustless of course!), followed by scones served with clotted cream and preserves (warm scones are the best!). Small cakes and pastries are next and not forgetting that this is all washed down with freshly brewed tea served in delicate bone china teacups.
So whether you've never sampled the delights of afternoon tea before, or you indulge (like us) on an alarmingly regular basis....lets all celebrate National Afternoon Tea week this week with a cup of tea and something yummy...whether in a fabulous hotel, a cosy tea room or at home!
Pop back again later this week to see more afternoon tea inspired posts!
Thanks for visiting us today,
Rachel and Lorna