Afternoon Tea or High Tea
My last blog post was all about Wimbledon – of course strawberries and cream came up and as a natural progression, [perhaps because I am Cornish?], Cream Teas were mentioned too. That old argument of cream or jam first…
This month has seen me cater so many teas from a smart classic tea for newly qualified teachers as a celebratory event, to an Afternoon Tea for Trip Advisor.
I’ve had to bake scones in their dozens, so I thought what better subject than Afternoon Tea for my next post.
If you already like and follow my Facebook page you will know I posted some of the pictures of the teas I had catered for this month. These featured dainty chicken salad sandwiches, beautiful patisserie cakes and hearty scones with ample lashings of cream and jam and more. In the caption we called it “High Tea” but we were told by one of our sharp-eyed followers that in-fact, it is not a High Tea, but an Afternoon Tea.
Whoops! We may bake a mean scone and would like to think we know a lot about sustainability and ethical eating but we learn something new every-day too.
This felt like the perfect opportunity to learn about the difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea and share it with you too.
We found out that High Tea is actually usually eaten between 5pm-7pm and must feature a warm dish. So the traditional teas with sandwiches and cakes that we have been serving recently do not fall in to these criteria at all.
After a little more digging we found out that High Tea was essentially what we call dinner or supper these days, but back then it was a very classist affair and was something for the working classes. It involved bread, cheese and veg and occasionally meat too, not forgetting a mug of tea as well.
Afternoon Tea was a social event for the upper classes and bridged the gap between lunch and the evening meal as many of the upper class didn’t eat until 8 or 9pm. Afternoon Tea usually involved cakes and bread with butter as a light bite served in a parlour on low comfortable chairs. Whereas High Tea was eaten at the table and so dining high back chairs were sat on to eat this.
More history for you, as we learned that Afternoon Tea originated in the early 19th Century by the 7th Duchess of Bedford and was enjoyed at home with friends. But soon it took off as a trend and in the Edwardian times tea houses and lounges started to pop up and Afternoon Tea was fashionable to be served in these luxury surroundings at around 4pm.
This is quite similar to the teas served at hotels and high-end department stores that we still have to this day – think tea at Sketch, The Dorchester or even Selfridges. Or if you are from up North, Betty’s is the perfect example.
When enjoying an Afternoon Tea catered by eco cuisine, you know that we use the highest quality British ingredients from local suppliers. This means your food is more eco-friendly than when buying from a caterer who isn’t concerned with ethical and sustainable eating. Plus, it is of course delicious!