What to do when lunch has passed but it’s still too early for dinner? Well, back in the 1840s, Anna Maria Russell had the same thought…and found a solution that is now a quintessentially British tradition.
Afternoon tea, anyone?
And what better timing than Afternoon Tea Week to share with you how to plan the perfect get-together with loved ones. This year, Afternoon Tea Week is running from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th – and we might just be giving away the perfect additions to your afternoon tea spread over on Instagram!
So, whether you’re looking to learn more about the history of a favoured national pastime or wondering how you can win the perfect cutlery pairing for your afternoon tea celebrations, read on for more information and competition details…
The origins of afternoon tea
Anna Maria Russell was Duchess of Bedford, a prominent figure within London society and a close friend of Queen Victoria. But does that compete with the esteemed title of ‘afternoon tea inventor’?
Once an exclusive additional meal for the upper classes, afternoon tea quickly caught on with the masses and was celebrated by all who could get their hands on some extra treats for a mid-afternoon meal.
Back in the 1800s, it was normal have your evening meal between 7pm and 9pm, which is pretty late considering their lunch (or ‘luncheon’) was a very small meal by today’s standards – and was supposed to tide them over for many hours!
So, along comes Anna with the solution to save us all: afternoon tea!
Creating your perfect afternoon tea spread
The perfect afternoon tea spread is definitely up for debate. It’s one of those things that can be very personal and depend on the tastes of a specific person or guests. There’s real beauty in its flexibility!
But for those who’d like to go with tradition or would like some guidance on where to begin with your afternoon tea offerings, we recommend a nice cup of tea, a spread of light sandwiches, finger foods and, of course, something sweet to finish.
To Anna, this meant:
- A cup of tea made to your perfect specifications
- Something sweet like cakes, buns and biscuits
- Something savoury like pork pies, sausage rolls or pickles
- Small sandwiches with fillings such as cucumber, salmon or ham salad
- A scone with jam and cream.
Just don’t ask us whether the jam or the cream goes on first…
Win complementary cutlery for your afternoon tea
Did you know that there’s a whole week dedicated to afternoon tea each year? That seems like the best excuse we’ve ever heard to get together with friends and family and celebrate the occasion with tea and your favourite sweet and savoury bites!
Want to add extra shine to your afternoon tea? We’ve teamed up with Ellie Warburtons Cakes to give away some delicious cakes along with elegant Arthur Price Sophie Conran dessert cutlery, including the Set of 6 Pastry Forks, Cake Server and Cake Knife.
Head over to our Instagram page before midnight on Sunday 13th August 2023 to enter!
So, this Afternoon Tea Week, join us in raising a teacup to Anna Maria Russell and celebrate the occasion in the only appropriate way: with your very own afternoon tea get-together!