High Tea, a primer for the unexperienced
So, what exactly is Afternoon Tea,
or High Tea, or Cream Tea….
Afternoon tea, evening tea, high tea, cream tea, full tea, these are all terms that have become muddled in recent years as we move away from the roots in England, and mingled with hotels and food establishments all over the world! Quite frankly, “teas” have become whatever the establishment wants them to be!
At Readmore, we serve a simple but very delicious fireside “Afternoon Tea” of either a sweet or a savory. Freshly brewed loose-leaf tea, and perhaps scones, or a tart, or great bread with homemade jam, or a special cheese and crackers. We serve one item along with tea, and our tea is really good. We serve tea made from bulk, loose leaves, brewed, steeped, and strained in the cup for the best flavor. We also serve in a silver pot, which makes it fancy!
We have learned from our British friends that we do not serve “cream” for the whitener in tea, just milk. Some folks like lemon instead, some want nothing but the tea. Honey or sugar, optional of course.
Now, Afternoon Tea usually is taken in the afternoon when the blood sugar is low and people need a little pick-me-up. It is also referred to as “low tea.” When you are talking about Afternoon or Low Tea, it could be: A “Cream Tea” where tea, scones, jam, and cream are served; “Light Tea” of scones and sweets; Scones with clotted cream, tea with simple pastries, or, “Full Tea” of tea, scones, sweet and savory and dessert. Got that?
“High Tea” was actually in its origin, a light supper, and included both sweet and savory offerings, and was more bountiful. Most fancy restaurants when offering High Tea, give a large selection of tea sandwiches, sweets, savories, and enough carbs to send anyone into high blood sugar alert!
A More Reasonable Approach
Now, if you want to serve a High Tea to your friends, we would suggest an approach that includes two sweets and two savories, and scones of course, and have fun with it!
* Two tea sandwiches (crusts removed of course). These could be as simple as cucumber and mayonnaise with a few springs of arugula, or a more complicated favorite chicken salad sandwich or even a grilled offering. Cut them pretty, and make them small!
* Two sweets. Perhaps a cheesecake topped with your favorite fruit topping? Cherries or peaches are stunning on a cheesecake. Add a liquor and you are gold! Chocolate anything! Chocolate covered strawberries? Dried fruit dipped in chocolate? A bit of pound cake with lemon curd?
* Scones. They are traditional and can be served simply with jam or with that trusty lemon curd.
* The accessories to fill in the fancy: A little bowl of nuts. A few candies. Some mints. Cheese straws (that you may or may not have baked yourself), cheese of any kind, of course. If you live in Vermont, that makes it easy.
With afternoon tea, or high tea, or any fancy tea, it is all about the pretty. Your pretty plates you have stashed away “for best,” some flowers, a teapot, tea cups (rather than coffee mugs!), some lovely music in the background, great friends, and conversation that makes everyone happy!
You can certainly do this on a budget, especially if you enjoy baking.
Time for a cup!