I had no idea when I shared my recipe for treacle scones yesterday that this is Afternoon Tea Week! Perhaps I should pretend I knew all along and I was merely heralding it! From today 14th August to the weekend, it is, apparently the time to celebrate afternoon tea.
Of course afternoon tea is not just a cup of tea and a couple of delicious scones… afternoon tea is delicate sandwiches, beautiful cakes, buns and eclairs! The idea started in the nineteenth century, when for the lah-di-dahs, it seemed a jolly long time between luncheon at midday and dinner at eight, so the idea of having a gentile little affair of posh and tasty niceties began to become fashionable. Ordinary working folk had dinner when they got home from their labours and then probably went to bed, in order to get up at whatever unearthly hour was required to work on someone else’s farm or in someone else’s factory or down someone else’s mine.
Now afternoon tea is a treat everyone can enjoy – at home, or with friends, or out somewhere in one of the many tea rooms which have sprung up. Some places are prohibitively grand, the Ritz in London for example; sandwiches on the Ritz’s £54 per person afternoon tea menu include:
- ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on white bread
- cheddar cheese with chutney on onion bread
- cucumber with cream cheese, dill and chives on caraway seed bread
- chicken breast with horseradish cream on white bread
- Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter on rye bread
- egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots and watercress on white bread
and in the scone and pastry line…
- freshly baked raisin and plain scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve
- an assortment of British afternoon tea pastries and cake
As for your nice cuppa… you have a choice at the Ritz:
- Earl Grey Imperial
- Chocolate Mint Rooibos
- Russian Caravan
- Moroccan Mint
- Dragon Pearls
- The Ritz Chai
- Ritz Royal English
- Darjeeling First Flush
- Assam Tippy Orthodox
- Ceylon Orange Pekoe.
- Oolong Formosa
- Rose Congou
- Lapsang Souchong
- Chun Mee
Of course, if you want to add a little sparkle to your afternoon, why not have a glass of champagne? It does put the price up a little – £71 – £74… with a celebration cake and the champagne, the whole thing is £84.
I think I might just prefer the estemable Lion Rock Tea Room in Cheddar…
I can’t mention teh Ritz without thinking of this: