Many people are familiar with the age old tradition of taking afternoon tea. Many places in London offer quite an experience. Depending on where you decide to take afternoon tea it is a must to get dolled up. I will probably give it a go some day but it isn’t high on my list of things to do/experiences to have here.
However, let me introduce you to cream tea, afternoon tea’s informal more relaxed sister. Cream tea is not fussy. A pot of tea, with scones accompanied with jam and clotted cream = bliss.
Fresh baked scones is a must. These arrived fresh, warm and moist.
Jam (raspberry and blueberry if I remember correctly) and clotted cream
Afternoon tea, as the link provided states, was introduced in England by Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford in 1840. As dinner was served at 8:00 pm it left a long time between lunch and dinner. She started requesting a pot of tea and light snack be brought to her room in the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and eventually she started inviting friends to join her. This continued when she returned to London.
Then as always it became the thing to do in high society. The pause for tea became a fashionable social event. One where long gowns and hats would make an appearance.
Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches (including thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches), scones served with clotted cream and preserves. Cakes and pastries are also served. Tea grown in India or Ceylon is poured from silver tea pots into delicate bone china cups.
The Devonshire Cream Tea or Cornish Cream Tea consists of scones, strawberry jam and the vital ingredient, Devon clotted cream, as well as cups of hot sweet tea served in china teacups. Many of the other counties in England’s west country also claim the best cream teas: Dorset, Cornwall and Somerset.
If you are visiting I say skip the afternoon tea and go for a cream tea instead. Indulge and enjoy an old tradition on the cheap. D and I had this cream tea in Canterbury for £4.75 pp. Most afternoon teas start somewhere around £15 pp.