Tea Time Traditions Newsletter


Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford is often credited with inventing the very British tradition of the afternoon tea. Apparently, the dear lady experienced a "sinking feeling" in the mid-afternoons and began asking her maid to bring a pot of tea and light refreshments. Anna found this arrangement most refreshing and began asking friends to join her. Soon all of fashionable London was gathering in the late afternoon to drink tea, eat dainty sandwiches and cakes, converse and gossip. Silversmiths, porcelain manufacturers and linen companies began to produce products necessary for elegant teas. Cookbooks included instructions in brewing tea, how to organize a tea party and which foods to serve. By the late 1880's fine hotels on both sides of the Atlantic began offering afternoon tea in splendid tearooms and tea courts. Elegant afternoon tea at the Ritz (Boston, London), the Plaza (New York) and the Brown Palace (Denver) (pictured right) remain an elegant rendition of a most agreeable tradition.


Menus for afternoon tea include savories, sweets, and tea. Savories include such British standbys as cucumber and egg mayonnaise and mustard cress tea sandwiches (The Ritz, London). Sweets include scones with strawberry preserves and clotted cream, also a reflection of British influence, as well as a bewildering array of cakes that do not have a lot in common except that they are sensational with a cup of tea. Traditional Coffee Cakes make delicious and very traditional additions to an afternoon tea service. Traditionally Black caffeinated teas, such as Ceylon - Black Tea and Vanilla Orchid Black Tea are served at Afternoon Tea. Use your newsletter coupon to save on these cakes and teas.


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Alston, Elizabeth, Tea Breads and Coffee Cakes. ( NY, Harper Collins, 1991).
Pettigrew, Jane, The Tea Companion. (NY, MacMillan, 1997).
Coffee, Tea and Thee - www.he-and-she.com/TeaParty/partymenu.html
The Ritz, London - www.theritzlondon.com
The Brown Palace - www.brownpalace.com