Did you see it? Couldn’t you just sit and watch all day? The much-anticipated release of the Downton Abbey movie. And it didn’t disappoint. I just love the Victorian era, the large stately homes, the formal dress, family hierarchy, meals served with such etiquette, most of all afternoon tea.
Served late afternoon, typically 4pm, where you can sit, relax and enjoy a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, bite-size sweets, and scones smothered in jam. Many consider this “high” tea, which is actually more of a supper, served around 6pm with a light hot meal being served.
Starting with the perfect pot of tea. Loose leaf tea is best, as you will get the full flavour out of the tea leaves, instead of processed grounded tea in a tea bag. Heat the water in an electric kettle to a full rolling boil, warming up your porcelain teapot with hot water first. prior to making the tea.
Offer a selection of finger sandwiches first, then a selection of bite-size sweets, followed by scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Scones should be broken in half, not cut, and the jam spread on first, then the cream.
DID you know ..
- Afternoon Tea was introduced in Britain in the early 1840s (www.afternoontea.co.uk)
- Scones are not biscuits, typically have sugar in the dough, and would only have currents added in or served plain.
- Black tea should be made with full rolling-boiling water, then steeped for 5mins for optimum flavour.
One of my favourite afternoon tea experiences was at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Have you enjoyed afternoon tea while travelling, or at a local restaurant? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!