A Post about….Afternoon Tea

Yes! Finally, a decent post that I can categorize into the surprisingly sparse ‘Food’ category of my blog. Fanfare and drumroll, please! Er-hem. I cannot deny it any longer: I have become a mad fanatic of afternoon tea. I haven’t had afternoon tea a lot of times, but the first time I went was to a professional Victorian tearoom and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Since then, I’d been scouring for places that serve afternoon tea. I suppose this post is actually a count of the many times I’d been to have Afternoon tea in a period of no less than half a year. Next time you see me, I may have evolved into an exact carbon copy of this guy here:

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Afternoon tea has a fair share of history. From the website “Afternoon Tea”, the origins of afternoon tea are briefly explored. According to the website:

Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm.

Afternoon Tea is a meal composed of sandwiches (usually cut delicately into ‘fingers’), scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes. Interestingly, scones were not a common feature of early Afternoon Tea and were only introduced in the twentieth century.

Afternoon Tea was initially developed as a private social event for ladies who climbed the echelons of society. It was only when Queen Victoria engaged in the Afternoon Tea ritual that it became a formal occasion on a larger scale, known as ‘tea receptions’.

These receptions could have as many as two hundred guests with an open ‘at home’ invitation to visit between 4pm and 7pm, during which they could come and go as they pleased; this was the genesis of the Afternoon Tea as we know it.

In Britain today Afternoon Tea is usually enjoyed as an occasional indulgence or to celebrate a special event such as a birthday, or a pre-wedding or baby shower party with a group of friends.

When I was little, I never played pretend tea parties at all. I was more into dolls (as a previous post of mine mentioned) but I never held tea parties. I’m surprised by how much I enjoy the experience of afternoon tea now.

My first afteroon tea was at a Victorian tea room in the city. I’d post up pictures but my laptop is kapoot at the moment. I’ll post up pictures in a later edit. My second was at the Hotel Indigo which I have reviewed in an earlier post.

The third time going was to The Willow Tea Rooms, an establishment designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903, who was a famous artist, architect and designer (Art Nouveau, anyone?).

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The chairs are quite high up. My jacket looked a bit silly hanging off it haha. It was also a little cramped inside; people kept brushing past my chair and bumping into me, which wasn’t very fun. We ordered an afternoon tea to share which cost about £13.00 and this was what was provided:

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The bottom tier will always have sandwiches, so there was a salmon, egg, cucumber sandwich there. You get to pick your own cake at the counter which also depends on what their cake-of-today is. I was also encouraged by the waitress (who was wearing a french maid’s uniform) to pick a giant cake to get the most of it which explains the big chocolate fudge cake in the middle tier 🙂 There was one ginormous scone in the top tier with lots of yummy cream.

The fourth time I had afternoon tea was at The Cup Tea Lounge (pictures below) to celebrate my birthday. It was a voucher deal that provided a free bottle of champagne 🙂

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I didn’t exactly like the Cup Tea Lounge because I found a dead fly in my champagne glass (they replaced it generously though), and the sandwiches were actually rolls and the filling was also nothing special. It felt more like eating out of a lunchbox ^^”” The only extra addition that turned it around were the cupcakes which you can see on the top tier, but that was because The Cup Tea Lounge was more known for their cupcakes. I also ordered Lapsang Souchong and I didn’t enjoy the bitter, burnt, medicinal-like taste. The scones also did not come out until 15 minutes later; the waitress said they were still in the oven. Uh okay.

The fifth time having afternoon tea was a return to Hotel Indigo with my sister. This time, their treats were different compared to the last time I went with K. The sandwiches were the same, but this time the pastries were different – they had a creme brulee treat and a nice treacle cake which was very yummy. I didn’t have the champagne option and stuck with a coke. Also, in Hotel Indigo, they didn’t offer you a choice of tea, which was a bit of a letdown, but I didn’t mind.

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Anyway, I recently went to the 5 star Blythswood Hotel with my friend because they too offered a voucher deal. It was a £22 for 2 and there was a choice of afternoon tea called ‘The Duchess of Bedford” where you can get all the unhealthy sweet stuff such as scones and biscuits and jammies, or the “Tea Tox” which is a much more healthier option with fruit and vegetables. Hmm, let’s just say The Duchess of Bedford was our prime choice becuase I didn’t pay £22 to eat greens that day.

My friend ordered a Cappuccino and I had Darjeeling although it was explained to us that we could order champagne or wine or other juice. We stuck to tea and coffee. Unfortunately after a brief wait, the waitress came over with a latte and a cappuccino. Bzzzt, wrong! And to think it was 5 star, oh no! Despite the little mess up, we were soon presented with the food, which altogether looked like this:

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The bottom tier had 3 sandwiches, triple layer (mmm). I was a little letdown because there was no salmon sandwich 😦 In the middle tier, there were 2 scones, a dollop of wet, slimy Devonshire clotted cream (I prefer whipped cream) and a scoop of homemade jam The top tier had 4 little, mini pieces of cake and pastries. There was a yummy profiterole-like pastry that was covered in chocolate, topped with coconut. There was a square cut of cake with a cheesecake-like topping. There was also a wedge of a really sticky, sweet treacle-like cake and finally, there was a hunk of hard, crusty brownie-like cake. Mmmmm.

So, what have we learned from this post?

1) Fish and Chips luuuuuurvs Afternoon Tea. She can’t get enough of it really. Well, she might, when she goes the doctors like 5 days later and discovers that her cholesterol levels have soared through the roof.

2) this really sounds like a propaganda post for afternoon tea, which it isn’t really. I’d thought I’d share where I’d gone for tea, that’s all.

3) it really depends on where you go for afternoon tea. If I have to be honest, as much as I disliked the Victorian tea room because of the kooky manager, it was the best place I’d been because it was the first time I’d had afternoon tea, and finally

4) if you ever decide to have afternoon tea, have fun and chill! Relax with your friends/family! You’ll have a great time as much as I do!

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