So… we Brits really do love our Afternoon Tea. But who do we have to thank for it?
Well… History tells us that the tradition came to the fore in 1840 and the birth of afternoon tea is credited to Anna Maria, the 7th Duchess of Bedford.
At the time, it was usual for people to take only two (scary thought!) main meals a day: breakfast and dinner which was served late at around 8pm. Anna Maria is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon. So she got one of her skivvies to come up with a solution that we can truly thank her for! This was a pot of tea and a light snack taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon. She then started to invite friends to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire and the tradition became popular within fashionable society.
Afternoon tea become synonymous with opulence, which is why it has always been seen as a middle or upper class activity, however a number of businesses are trying to change this view and over recent years there has been a renewed interest in Great British traditions, particularly in food and drink, one of the best examples of this is The Great British Bake Off which is encouraging everyone to try their hand at baking. Check out our Home Baking products here.
Basic afternoon tea consists of finger sandwiches, scones (accompanied by jam and cream) and pastries on a tiered plate, all washed down by a steaming hot pot of tea set in a lush garden or a posh hotel.
Afternoon teas are so popular that this week sees Afternoon Tea Week (August 11-17) launched… so why not treat yourself? Take some time for yourself and whip up a batch of scones (simple recipe on the BBC available here) and top them off with some Award Winning Jams, Marmalades or Chutneys from Riverside Lifestyle – available here.