Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A very 'trendy' Afternoon Tea Party




Want a civilised party?
Well why not have an old fashioned 'Afternoon Tea Party'?


The History of Afternoon Tea

Everything may not stop for tea at four o'clock any more, but afternoon tea
has a strong heritage, not to be forgotten

Tea, that most quintessential of English drinks, is a relative latecomer to British shores.
Although the custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China, it was not until the mid 17century that tea first appeared in England.

Afternoon or 'High' tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840.
The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.
The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon.

This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.
This pause for tea became a fashionable social event.
During the 1880's upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o'clock.
Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches (including of course thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches), scones served with clotted cream and preserves.Cakes and pastries are also served.





 An 'Afternoon High Tea Party' at my house all made by my own fair hands
(except the Cup Cakes)



Tea Etiquette

In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel of a cup with no handle is to place one’s thumb at the six o'clock position and one’s index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position, while gently raising one’s pinkie up for balance.

Tea cups with a handle are held by placing one’s fingers to the front and back of the handle with one’s pinkie up again allows balance. Pinkie up does mean straight up in the air, but slightly tilted. It is not an affectation, but a graceful way to avoid spills. Never loop your fingers through the handle, nor grasp the vessel bowl with the palm of your hand.

Do not stir your tea, with your tea spoon, in sweeping circular motions. Place your tea spoon at the six o'clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the twelve o'clock position two or three times. Never leave your tea spoon in your tea cup. When not in use, place your tea spoon on the right side of the tea saucer. Never wave or hold your tea cup in the air. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer. If you are at a buffet tea hold the tea saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the tea cup in your right hand. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer and hold in your lap. The only time a saucer is raised together with the teacup is when one is at a standing reception.

Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.

When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server can neatly place a slice in the tea cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon's citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.



I always have a  wide selection of tea available in the house

www.macmillan.org.uk
http://www.myfairvintage.co.uk/

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