It is Afternoon Tea Week! How was it invented and what is the difference between Traditional, High Tea and Cream Tea
15 Aug

Afternoon Tea is currently one of the most popular dining attractions at Blas Restaurant within Bryn Meadows Golf Hotel & Spa, serving on average 450 people per week.   

 When is Afternoon Tea Week, and what is it?

Afternoon Tea Week taps into the British Tradition of afternoon tea to help bring a bit of elegance and pomp to an otherwise unremarkable time of day. 

In 2017, Afternoon Tea Week starts on Monday 14th August to Sunday 20th August 2017.  The week was established to secure the tradition.  It is the perfect opportunity to indulge and enjoy savoury or sweet treats. How was afternoon tea invented?

The afternoon tea was invented in the 1840’s because the 7th Duchess of Bedford was hungry.  At the time, it was custom to eat dinner in the afternoon followed by a light supper late in the evening.  Among the upper class the dinner hour started creeping later and later, and a light lunch was introduced around midday.  It left a considerable gap between the light lunch and the more considerable evening meal.  One day The Duchess asked the cooks to prepare some sandwiches and a slice of cake for her in the late afternoon which she happily consumed with a cup of tea, or two.  Soon she began inviting friends to join her, to be followed by a walk in the grounds. 

The custom was quickly adopted by the upper class in general, and later filtered down the social ladder, especially after Queen Victoria took part in the tradition.  At this point the ‘Tea Reception’ was born, with lavish and fancy events were hosted by prominent figures in society.   

What does afternoon tea consist of, and what is the difference between Traditional, High Tea and Cream Tea?

Traditional afternoon tea includes an array of crustless sandwiches, usually cream cheese and cucumber, egg mayonnaise, tuna, cheese and pickle or ham and mustard.  Also served is a scone with clotted cream and fruit preserves plus a variety of cakes. 

Many people do get confused with the term High Tea.  Some think that this is served with prosecco or champagne but traditionally it was when more savoury items were added to the selection such as a steak and ale pie or a pork pie. 

Again, many people ask for a Cream Tea.  The name originates from Devon and Cornwall.  This is simply a scone or two served with a fresh pot of tea. 

Over the last few years, there has been a big rise of speciality teas.  At Bryn Meadows we host a different speciality tea every month.  These have included Summer Berries, Chocolate Celebrations and an Oktoberfest (our version of a ‘gentleman’s’ version including mini burgers and sliders).  It is also an opportunity for Chef’s to test their culinary skills with delicious new sandwich fillings, flavoured breads and artistic flair to create delicate deserts and sweet treats.

How is afternoon tea served?

It is usually served on cake stands of two, three or four tiers.  For larger groups it can also be served on platters. 

At Bryn Meadows our Afternoon Tea selection is served in Blas Restaurant for individuals or smaller groups.  This is on a three tier cake stand. 

For larger groups we offer private dining, which is ideal for hen parties, baby showers and birthday celebrations.  The afternoon tea is then served on vintage crockery and china, and the room is decorated with vintage bunting. 

Why is afternoon tea popular?

Over the last few years, there has been a renewed interest in British traditions, particularly in our food and drink.  The Great British Bake Off is a good example of this.  The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Olympics helped increase our sense of national pride.

Afternoon tea is not an everyday activity, it is an opportunity to indulge and take time to relax with friends and family.  For visitors to the UK, it is a novelty and a chance to try something different – with many of them believing that we still do this daily!

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