TIME FOR TEA
THE HISTORY AND CUSTOMS OF HIGH TEA
English high tea was considered the pinnacle of elegant and aristocratic dining but has now made a popular comeback into everyday modem life. We examine the origins of high tea and how you can avoid making a fool of yourself at tea time.
AFTERNOON Tea SERVED BETWEEN: 2 PM & 5 PM
Afternoon tea, which is also known as Low Tea, is a formal tea setting with pastries and scones. It is served at a low table and is generally considered to be a ladies' social occasion.
• EGG & CRESS
• SMOKED SALMON
• Cream Milk
• Clotted cream
• Tea pot
• Sugar cubes
• Finger sandwiches
HIGH TEA SERVED BETWEEN:5PM&7PM
High tea, which is now generally referred to as 'tea", was traditionally a working class meal served on a high table. It's also known as meat tea.
• BELGIAN CHOCOLATES
• FRENCH FANCIES
• FINGER SANDWICHES
• SHEPHERD’S PIE(OR STEAK & KIDNEY PIE)
• BREAD AND BUTTER
• TEA POT
HISTORY OF TEA TIME
While tea has a history that spans millennia, the drink as we know it has only been around in England since the 1600's.
During the 18th century, tea gardens became popular among the upper class.
In 1657, tea was introduced to the English public in coffee houses as a medicinal drink.
TEA IN England
The first tea samples reached England between 1652 and 1654. In 1662, Queen Catherine of Bragan2a married Charles II. The Portuguese Catherine grew up drinking tea and brought her favourite drink with her to England.
The tradition of tea time was brought to luxury hotels as form of entertainment and socialisation around 4 p.m.
Duchess of Bedford
Anna, Duchess of Bedford, adopted the European tea service format and would invite her friends over for a small afternoon meal. The menu centred around small cakes and sandwiches. This idea was copied by many other hostesses during this era and tea time was born.
The tradition of high tea did not develop among the upper class. It was originally a middle and lower-class tradition to substitute for dinner. The name "high tea" came from the high tables the tea was served on.
HOW TO AVOID GETTING THROWN OUT OF HIGH TEA
Like any formal event, there is proper etiquette to adhere to. Here are the do’s and dont's for proper teatime behavior.
YOUR TEA SPOON
When you have finished your delicate swirling, don't leave your teaspoon standing upright in your teacup. Take the small spoon and place it on the right side of the tea saucer.
CONTROL YOUR FINGERS
While your aristocratic fingers may feel the need to extend your little finger, resist the urge and keep your little finger down. Use your thumb, index finger, and middle finger to grip the cup's handle.
STIR AND SWIRL
It is considered rude to swirl one's tea in wide circular motions. You must position the teaspoon at six o'clock to begin. Any added liquid should be lightly folded towards twelve o'clock, two or three times. Do not let your teaspoon touch the edge of your cup.
CUP RUNNETH OVER
Never pour your tea to the brim. Pour the brewed tea to fill the cup only half way. You can then add milk, sugar, or lemon to your taste. Never add lemon and milk together in the same cup; the milk will curdle.
Never dig into your scone-no matter how hungry you may be. Take your knife and split your scone in half. Butter is placed on one part of the scone, jam on the other. If you desire Devonshire cream, place a dollop on top of the jam.
Sandwiches should be eaten in small bites. Use the utensils to place them on your plate, and break off one bite-size piece at a time. Never take large bites, and never speak with your mouth full.
The scone and sandwiches were delicious and filling, but you were not able to finish your last cucumber and cress sandwich. Whatever food you don’t finish, leave at the table. There are no doggie bags at afternoon or high tea.
TO FORK OR NOT TO FORK
Most of the foods served at afternoon tea will be finger foods. At tea, there will be more savoury items. Never use your fingers to eat these; now is the time to pick up your fork.