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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Perfect Afternoon Tea * Guest Post from Claridges, Connaught & The Berkely

The art of the British afternoon tea had its origins in the Victorian society of the 19th century. The story goes that the Duchess of Bedford came up with the idea to quell hungers pangs she experienced between lunch and dinner. Since she was one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, the idea was quickly welcomed by the queen. Soon, the idea of an afternoon tea with thin sandwiches and small cakes spread across the country, and the tradition was born.

Traditional Foods for the Perfect Afternoon Tea

The quintessential British afternoon tea begins with savoury sandwiches. Afternoon tea sandwiches are traditionally light, delicate and with the crusts removed. There should always be a selection of brown and white bread sandwiches. With the buttered bread, traditional fillings include thinly sliced cucumber, thin sliced ham, roast beef, cheese with pickle, tuna and smoked salmon.

A serving of warm plain, cheese or fruit scones follows the sandwiches, all of which are eaten with a generous helping of clotted cream and preserves. Many pure afternoon tea enthusiasts still bake their own scones with family recipes and whether hot or cold, scones are a delicious treat.

A selection of cakes and sweet pastries finish a traditional afternoon tea menu. Small iced buns, known as fancies, are sometimes served, Battenberg and marbled coffee cakes are popular choices as well.

Victorian Decor of the Afternoon Tea

Foods, linens, serving ware and teacups are all the necessary elements of a proper afternoon tea. Every place should be individually set for each person and for a more formal atmosphere, matching teapots, teacups, small plates and saucers are best. Silverware should be finely polished and finishing touches can include a seasonal well chosen vase of flowers and spoon rests, so guests do not have to put their stirring spoon on their saucer.

Restaurants with a Twist of the British Afternoon Tea

With a view to courting tea "fashionistas", many restaurants have added a unique twist to the traditional elements of the British afternoon tea. These institutions are becoming the new hallmark of the afternoon tea. Pret-a-Portea at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge creatively bakes pastries and cakes inspired by the latest catwalk collections. Editors from the leading fashion magazines actually meet with the pastry team to advise them of the season's hottest textures, colours and trends to inspire the new Pret-a-Portea menu.

Claridge's in Mayfair is another great afternoon tea venue in the capital, it recently won the Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea 2011 Award. The judges were in awe of its tasteful style, along with the extraordinary selection of teas, scones and cakes. This luxury hotel has its own twist on the afternoon tea, with a delicious array of finger sandwiches - all served in its sumptuous Art Deco surroundings.

Well we all know where to be heading out for tea in the big ol' capital...

Merci beaucoup to the tea charmers from Maybourne Hotel Group from us little lot over here at IOT Towers.

*All images in this post were used with the permission from marketing at Maybourne Hotel Group.

***Coming up... What do you wear from Amy Elizabeth - A look at our new tea plate - What oh what are we to do with those blinking tea dresses - Our new ceramic studio - Tea & Bakes and handfuls of We Love***

For now -

Chin chin...

1 comment:

Siobhan said...

Afternoon tea at Claridges is wonderful. The setting is stunning and the tea selection is worthy of the prizes it has won. The scones are fnatastic, the sandwiches perfeclty sized and the cakes! The cakes are incredible.

It is completely worth the money, particularly to treat a loved one, and it fills you up for the rest of the day (in a really nice kind of way)

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