A Little About The Tradition of Afternoon Tea

The Afternoon Tea is quintessentially English, and yet tea itself was a latecomer to Great Britain. Drinking tea dates back as far as the third millennium BC in China and yet it was in the mid-17th century that the delights of a good brew first made an appearance in England.

The afternoon snacking practice itself was introduced to the country by the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna, in 1840.
It became custom due to the duchess's hunger around 4pm each afternoon. Anna asked that she be provided with a tray of tea, bread & butter and cake, to settle her hunger until the evening meal 4 hours later. Enjoying her afternoon snacks started as a solitary activity, but soon she was inviting friends to join her and a pause for tea grew into a truly sociable event!

Today a real afternoon tea consists of scones with clotted cream and jam, cakes and pastries and a selection of freshly made sandwiches.
Any good tea room will serve its own variation on this, with different areas of the country having their own additions. For example, the Devonshire Cream Tea includes real Devon clotted cream and favours sweet tea.

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