Maintaining the Old and Creating the New, the traditions of drinking our Tea!
Through out the Centuries, starting with, Princess Catherine of Braganza, arriving on the shores of England to marry her King, we have enjoyed the pleasure of sharing cups of tea and delicious breads and savouries and cakes and sweets and more Tea!
A beautiful, relaxing, fun and sometimes a formal gathering, where there is always tea and always delightful yummy things!
To eat! Well, of course!
The title of these wonderful interludes of drinking tea together, talking, chatting and partaking of delicious, delightful, small delicacies is frequently called:
Afternoon Tea or High Tea.
Well, What is the Difference?
Interesting; afternoon tea, was served, perhaps in front of a fire on a low table, perhaps a coffee table, while a high tea was served later, but on a high table!
How strange, was it all to do with the height of the table!?
Well , no not just that, we need to look back to the 1840’s, when Anna Maria Russell, Seventh Duchess of Bedford, finding herself a little peckish each afternoon around four o’clock and dinner seemed a long way off, considering in those long ago days it was served, around eight to nine o’clock in the evening, began ordering tea and bread to tide her over.
Soon it was being enjoyed by many of her friends and aristocracy and became a regular, daily pass time, especially when Queen Victoria, began enjoying this afternoon tea interlude as well.
Queen Victoria. Coronation portrait by George Hayter
Coronation: 28th of June, 1838. ( source Wikipedia)
So gatherings would happen all over Britain and other countries mainly I guess members of the Commonwealth countries. Where gatherings, mainly women would get together and enjoy; sandwiches, cakes, (yummy fruit cake!), pastries, scones, clotted cream and tea! And yes perhaps gathered around low tables, comfortable arm chairs and yes, lovely, in front of a wonderful warming fire!
But the world was full of the hardworking men, who would come home from their day, hungry and tired and would sit down to their tea, at a table, (a higher table)! perhaps in the kitchen or dining room and here they would have more substantial fare, perhaps more savoury, with some meat, eggs, potatoes and this would be served around six / seven o’clock and so called high tea! And possibly to confuse us more, sometimes supper!
Our traditions grew and were enjoyed over the centuries!
So what do we expect these days when we are invited to tea?
Afternoon Tea: to me, is just a chance to catch up with a few friends at one of our houses and enjoy, cakes and sandwiches and lots of tea! We can enjoy our tea sitting at the table in the dining room or sitting in the garden, or with our legs tucked under us, blanket on our laps, sitting on our couches!
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High Tea: has taken on a more celebratory role/occasion, these days, with the opportunity to dress in gorgeous clothes, heels and hat or fascinator. To arrive to enjoy a visual feast, full of flowers and fine china and glorious dainty delights and our beautiful tea! Our High Tea is no longer relegated to early evening, but can be enjoyed at any time of the day now, morning or afternoon and late afternoon
A High Tea Theme: can celebrate so much, a birthday, a wedding , a garden party, a baby shower, a christening, it is absolutely the best theme one could use because it can become so full of opulence and grandeur. A celebration of life and living and enjoyment!
A delight to all your Senses!
To the Pleasure of Tea!
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