The History Behind the Classic Afternoon Tea with Perfect Day Caterers

Believe it or not, Afternoon tea (possibly the most quintessentially British custom of all) is actually a relatively new tradition. Whilst the history of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China with Emperor Jing of Han. It was popularised in England during the 1660s by King Charles II and his wife and the custom has stuck!

However, the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ first appeared in the mid 19th century when Anna (the seventh Duchess of Bedford) would become hungry in the afternoon. With the evening meal being served fashionably late at 8 o’clock, the Duchess would ask that a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake were brought to her room in the late afternoon. It soon became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

It wasn’t long before this ‘pause for tea’ became a fashionable social event amongst upper-class, society women. They would even change into long gowns with gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which would be served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.

During the 1880s, traditional afternoon tea would consist of a selection of dainty sandwiches. Including thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches, scones served with clotted cream and preserves as well as cakes and pastries. There would also be tea grown in India or Sri Lanka poured from silver tea pots into delicate bone china cups.

Much like the Duchess of Bedford’s early Afternoon Tea. Perfect Day Caterers stick to the classic elements of an Afternoon Tea experience.

Our ‘Perfect Afternoon Tea’ menu includes:

● A selection of traditional British sandwiches including smoked salmon & cream cheese, mozzarella, pesto & tomato, roast ham and dijon mustard, egg & cress.

● Freshly baked fruit scones served with Tiptree strawberry jam and clotted cream.

● A selection of sweets including carrot & walnut cake, white chocolate & raspberry blondies, passionfruit pots, sea salt chocolate mousse & honeycomb

● Freshly brewed tea and coffee

With the popularity of our traditional Afternoon Tea menu, we specially designed a menu for the colder, winter months. You can take a look here.

Want to know more about our Afternoon Tea Experience or our local catering service. Get in touch with our team on 01279 647005.