First popularised by Catherine of Braganza, tea drinking has been a quintessentially English tradition since the reign of Charles II.
It was the Duchess of Bedford, however, that revitalised tea drinking as a leisurely afternoon concept a couple of centuries later. Still very much a delicacy at this time, nineteenth-century tea drinking became associated with so much more than a light afternoon bite; it became a highly fashionable affair, and an expression of wealth and extravagance among the highest echelons of English society.
Traditionally comprised of delicate sandwiches and a wide array of cakes, from coffee to carrot to chocolate, afternoon tea is certainly an occasion to indulge. If you’re looking for something a little creamier, head over to Cornwall for the classic Cream Tea experience: sweet tea served in bone china, accompanied by a scone with jam and clotted cream.
Check out Rodda’s five top tips for the perfect scone.
Afternoon Tea doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions. Enjoy it at home with a hot cup of Tetley tea and a slice of the delicious Earl Grey Tea Loaf seen at the top and bottom of this post. Here is the recipe:
Ingredients (Serves 8)
500g mixed fruit
125g dark sugar
4 Earl Grey teabags
2 fresh peaches chopped
0.5tsp mixed spice
Place the teabags in 300ml of hot water and allow to infuse
Remove the teabags and pour over the mixed fruit and peaches and soak for two hours
Add the flour, sugar, spice, peaches and egg
Place into a loaf tin and bake for one hour at 180? until cooked through
Allow to cool slightly
Turn out onto wire rack to cool
Serve warm with fresh butter
Lee from Tetley says: ‘With its delicate aroma and golden colouring, Earl Grey’s classic flavour is perfect paired with this peachy tea-loaf’.