|Kevin Enjoys Tea At the Windsor Court|
By 1700, tea was on sale by more than 500 coffee houses in London. Tea drinking became even more popular when Queen Anne (1665–1714) chose tea over ale as her regular breakfast drink.
During the second half of the Victorian Period, known as the Industrial Revolution, it was common in England to have only breakfast and dinner, the latter of which was served quite late in the evening. As such families would return home around 4-5PM tired and hungry. The table would be set with any manner of meats, bread, butter, pickles, cheese and of course tea. Because it was eaten at a high, dining table rather than the low tea tables, it was termed "high" tea, which has little to do with the fancy affairs on fine china we associate with the term today.
|A Victorian Garden Tea by Unknown Artist|
The most common terms related to afternoon tea are as follows:
Cream Tea - Tea, scones, jam and clotted cream
Light Tea - Tea, scones and sweets
Full/High Tea - Tea, savory sandwiches, scones, sweets and desserts
When friends were planning a visit to the area they asked if they might visit us mid-afternoon as their schedule was rather full and they needed to get on the road for their drive home to Pennsylvania before it was too late. As I like to feed my guests a meal, I thought for a few minutes about what I could offer them, when of course a Full Tea came to mind.
As I have my father's set of fine porcelain tea service that was made in Selb (Bavaria) Germany by Franconia/Krautheim, but which I rarely use, it seemed an English tea party was destined.
|Julian's Full Tea Click to Enlarge|
I've posted previously on baking authentic English tea cakes, so I won't review it again here, but if you really want an authentic tea bake up a batch or two for this special event. Just know however, that you can easily pull together a tea without opening the oven door and most people will find it an elegant and fun afternoon affair using only the baked goods from your local baker.