Afternoon Tea

In Blog, Dining Etiquette, featured, Social Etiquette by system review

The afternoon tea was invented by one of Queen Victoria‘s ladies-in-waiting, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, in 1840.

The Food
Sandwiches are the foundation. A mixture of white and brown bread and the crusts must always be cut off.
The sandwiches need to be light and dainty and are eaten with the fingers, never cutlery. Traditional fillings consist of smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, and cucumber. They can be cut into “fingers, but the royal way is a “square” cut.

Next comes the scones.  jam or cream first?  If you’re from Cornwell you will jam first and if you are from Devon you will cream first.  However, if you are from neither of these areas in Great Britain then it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how you apply them –  use ramekins with a communal spoon in each for serving, drop a serving onto your plate (never directly onto the scone), and smear one half of the scone at a time with your own knife.

After the scones comes the patisserie.

Setting the Table (never “laying” the table)
At home, everything should be on its own plate
Tiered cake stands are hospitality space-savers even though they do look lovely.
Tablecloths should be crisp white linen – and drape to just above the ground, not halfway.
Place napkins – 12 inches square – folded in the centre in line with the guest’s chair.
Cake forks should be set on the right as they are designed to be used with your right hand, as opposed to ordinary forks, which are set on the left to be used with the left hand.

Your Teacup
The correct way to hold a teacup is to pinch the handle with the index finger and thumb pressing the handle.Never wrap both your hands around the teacup.Pour the tea into the cup first, and milk second (the reverse applies only to the servant’s quarters). Stir back and forth, not round and round.’

Afternoon Tea or High Tea
Afternoon tea is a light meal traditionally served around 4-5pm with three courses: savoury sandwiches, scones, and patisseries.  High tea features a savoury first course with dishes such as sliced meats, and even lobster and cheese soufflés.

‘The term “high tea” originates from the taller tables it was served on, distinct from the lower coffee tables associated with afternoon tea, rather than implying a higher level of grandeur.