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Afternoon Tea in Paradise

Afternoon Tea in Paradise


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The venerable tradition of afternoon tea is flourishing in the Caribbean, as posh resorts from Bermuda to Barbados entice guests with brimming cups of colonial history.

Not to be confused with "high tea" (a heavier, working-class evening meal eaten at a high dining table rather than a lower lounge table), afternoon tea is intended to sate rumbling stomachs until dinner — a relaxing social respite as the day winds down. Island chefs often add tropical touches like flavored iced brews and Caribbean breads and pastries. Some hotels limit service to their guests, while others invite visitors, providing a civilized way to gain entrée to elite resorts where the room rates are steep.

Panoramic ocean views provide the perfect backdrop for afternoon tea at the Rosewood Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands. The Pavilion Terrace, an open-air restaurant beneath four vaulted rooftops, serves innovative cuisine and offers sweeping postcard-worthy vistas of the sea from every table. Relax here for five minutes and the hustle and bustle of the real world seems light years away. About 75 guests per day have been enjoying this afternoon tradition since the resort opened in 1964. English scones, fruit brochettes, and local johnnycakes, along with banana bread and traditional accompaniments of creams and jams, are served with tropical mango melon tea, among other popular choices.

Tea time is a grand occasion at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman. Popular with guests and locals alike, the exhaustive menu includes finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. For little ones, the resort offers the Ritz Kids' Tea with hot chocolate and Nutella and banana sandwiches, and there are themed teas on holidays and a Teddy Bear Tea at Christmas. Tea is presented on Wedgwood china in the Silver Palm Lounge (named for the Cayman Islands' national tree, the silver thatch palm), and tea experts assist with selection from varieties like green tea passion, Himalayan peak Darjeeling, and Kyoto rice. Fresh-baked scones come with crème Chantille, lemon curd, and jam, and sandwich selections include lobster and tarragon profiteroles. Those seeking a beverage with a bit more firepower can opt for champagne cocktails.

Afternoon tea at the world-renowned Pink Beach Club in Bermuda is not to be taken lightly. Guests adhere to the resort's formal dress code: blazers for men, skirts or dresses for women. Presented at precisely 4 p.m. for the past 60 years, the service includes fresh-baked scones, biscuits, and almost any tea imaginable. Most guests stick with the tried-and-true, such as English breakfast, although non-purists can order — the horror — coffee.

Nisbet Plantation in Nevis has honored the tea time tradition since the hotel opened in the 1950s. Tea is served formally on the elegant Great House terrace along with scones, clotted cream, finger sandwiches, cookies, and cakes. Imported teas, like chamomile and English breakfast, share the limelight with such local infusions as soothing mint, lemongrass, and traditional bush tea.


Tea Tuesday: Taking Tea Meetings & Truffles in Paradise

Another Tuesday and time for us to share tea and polite conversation. This typically leads to discussion of the weather which has been most exceptional out here in our corner of the colonies. One might also comment on the state on one’s own garden and I am pleased to report that my tulips are already making an appearance. No need to fly to warmer climes, bizarre weather patterns have brought the tropics to us. It is almost paradise.

Last week I shared the experiences of Downton Abbey fans who have had various successes in organizing communal tea at work. Ever curious, I created a poll and launched it into cyberspace. Results to date indicate many solo tea parties at the office, but others do seem keen to explore the Afternoon Tea idea. Take the poll yourself.

And while some of us are taking tea and biscuits at our desks, there is a growing trend in London to take a business tea meeting. According to Claridges, Afternoon Tea is no longer limited to tourists (ouch) or ladies who lunch (double ouch). The suit and tie crowd are discovering that tea rooms provide a relaxed atmosphere to discuss business (yay). But will the deal break down over who gets the last scone?

Tea rituals

It is important for the rising executive to understand tea rituals if s/he is to successfully blend in with other business types and be invited to play in their reindeer games. Proper manners are extremely important in business some companies still offer etiquette lessons in table manners to gain a competitive advantage. A little knowledge goes a long way, so this is a primer for you, and a recap for regular Tea Tuesday followers.

Some higher end establishments may serve the tea meal in courses, but the tradition of the stacked tray still remains. The stacked tea tray is a trilogy of savouries, scones and sweets, and is generally organized in this manner:

  1. Top Level: The smaller top level holds the scones.
  2. Middle level should hold the sweets and fruits.
  3. Bottom level holds the savouries and finger sandwiches.

The order in which you eat from the tray is the order in which you normally eat your meal: savouries first, scones next and sweets last…UNLESS there are hot scones, and then the order changes to scones, savouries, then sweets.

The following are the types of items you will find at tea. I offer a new recipe each week, so check out and bookmark Online Guide to Afternoon Tea to keep up to date. Here is a sample of what we have prepared:

Americans and British at Tea

Visual aids are often helpful, so I thought you might enjoy tea with legendary greats Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews.

How Typhoo revolutionized the tea industry

Typhoo revolutionized the British tea industry

What is a social business meeting without a suitable anecdote meant to impress? Here is a great corporate success story to share over tea.

Typhoo Tea Limited began as a sideline for John Sumner’s family grocery business in 1900’s Birmingham. The product is now known around the world.

His sister’s comment about a tea which helped with her digestion changed everything. Tea in that era was made from whole leaves which caused indigestion for the avid tea drinkers of Britain. Popular green tea actually contained harsh additives such as copper, so there was a great deal of suffering going on. John found that the tea his sister had taken was made from the tips of the tea leaves. The tips have lower levels of tannin which soothes an upset stomach, and are the most flavourful part of the leaf. John could produce 80 more cups per pound using tips which would making Typhoo more profitable than the loose leaf varieties to produce. To deal with the small size of the particles, it was sold pre-packaged, the first company to do so, making it much more convenient for consumers to buy.

The initial marketing strategy appealed to the public as a medicinal drink. The tea was branded under the name Typhoo Tips (mistakenly spelled “Tipps” on early packaging), Typhoo meaning “doctor” in Chinese, and Tips referring to the tips of the tea leaves used. Advertising historians will point to Typhoo as an early example of great brand loyalty. Tea drinkers not only chose Typhoo for its soothing qualities, but since it was prepackaged and sealed in a factory, consumers could be confident of its contents. It was a known practice at that time that used tea leaves would often end up back into loose tins and resold to the public. Charming.

Thus a successful brand was launched. Customers were so loyal to their brand that they were successful in removing their favorite tea from the World War 1 rations list on the basis of its health benefits.

Truffled Wild Mushroom Tartlets

St. Patrick’s Day put me in mind of this recipe from the Four Season in Dublin. I have adapted this recipe from Tea & Crumpets. Quiche like tartlets are a great addition to your savoury course Your local supermarket will likely have a variety of wild and specialty mushrooms for you to experiment with. You could substitute butter for the truffle oil, but there is nothing like the earthy smell and taste of a stinky bog (in a good way) which truffle oil provides.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp. white truffle oil (or melted butter)
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt (low fat would be swell)
  • 15 mini phyllo shells, or make your own*
  • Fresh parmesan shavings for garnish
  • Fresh cervil sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C, Gas Mark 4

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add mushrooms and shallot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft, but not browned.
  2. Stir in the truffle oil and parsley. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and yoghurt. Stir it into the mushroom mixture.
  3. At this point you can refrigerate the mixture until its time for tea.
  4. Arrange the shells on a baking sheet. Divide the mushrooms mixture among the shells and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the filling is set.
  5. Remove from the oven.
  6. Shave some Parmesan cheese on top of each tartlet and garnish with a sprig of chervil. Serve hot if you can!

*you can easily make your own shells ahead of time. This video shows the technique, but since we are making tartlets, you will be making smaller squares about 3″ in mini cupcake tins. I have found baking times to be about the same at 10 minutes at 350°F.


Afternoon High Tea

This post will give you some afternoon tea ideas and recipes to let you organise your own afternoon tea party at home. It will also help you understand the difference between &lsquohigh tea&lsquo and &lsquoafternoon tea&lsquo, as there is, quite understandably, some confusion as to the meaning of both terms.

Below I will link to some of my easy afternoon tea recipes that will enable you to prepare your own English afternoon tea.

High Tea vs Afternoon Tea

OK, I have called this post &lsquoafternoon high tea&rsquo because there is some confusion as to the meaning of afternoon tea and high tea, and I thought I would have a go at tackling that briefly here.

I am myself originally very English, and even I confess to having been confused by the different terms.

What is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea refers to the meal which would be taken towards the end of the afternoon which would keep you going until supper or dinner at around 20.00. Afternoon tea time is normally around 16.00.

Originally it would be something that the British upper classes would enjoy, as, of course, they needed some way to bide their time and gossip. These days it is still common to stop for tea during cricket matches when afternoon tea will be served to the players.

Afternoon tea was introduced in the 19th century and became a fashionable social event for the upper classes where people would meet up and chat. It would have been an important part of society in many parts of the British Empire back in the day.

Afternoon tea would typically consist of sandwiches, cakes, pastries, scones with jam and cream and, of course, tea. Tea is still enjoyed every day by the Queen, it is claimed.

Afternoon tea can be enjoyed inside or outside, depending on the weather. But if you are outside, in England you may need to cover the jam to keep the wasps away!

What is High Tea?

High tea (and it is high tea, not hi tea or hi-tea) is a reference to a meal that would be enjoyed by the working classes after a hard day in the factory. Many of the factories in the 19th century were situated in the Midlands and the North of England, and coming home the workers would be famished and would want to eat straight away.

What is high tea time? This could be any time after 17.00 and could include anything, but would likely be a hot meal like a meat pie or something similar, and perhaps some cakes.

Tea would also commonly be present. I remember that having tea at the evening meal was also something I found very strange when I moved up North from the South as an 18-year-old.

A Shepherd&rsquos Pie. Could easily be part of a high tea meal

I studied at University in the North of England and can concur that the names for these meals have remained.

You will find that in the North most people still refer to their evening meal as &lsquotea&lsquo as opposed to &lsquodinner&rsquo or &lsquosupper&rsquo.

Outside of the UK, many people think that &lsquoafternoon tea&lsquo is called &lsquohigh tea&lsquo, but this is a common mistake. But it is not surprising that people think this, as many places in the UK even market afternoon tea as high tea, but this is really more a marketing ploy to attract tourists, who may not know the difference.

So really, teais the major common denominator between the two.

Why &lsquoTea&rsquo?

Well ever since the British found out about tea, they have drunk quite a lot of it. Now more than 100 million cups a day in Britain alone, apparently.

It became very popular in England after being introduced by the East India Company in the 17th Century, when it was a prized product amongst the aristocracy.

With the development of trade and tea rooms across the country, tea drinking became a national pastime in the British Isles, and the British Empire, and it still is. By the middle of the 19th century, it was the most popular drink amongst the working classes.

I remember being brought up on Twinings Earl Grey tea at home (Twining opened his first tea shop in 1717) and my mother used to love the Chinese Lapsang Souchong (which was far too smokey for my liking!). We still drink Twinings Earl Grey at home, with a splash of milk, of course! In fact, I have one next to me right now as I write.

Twinings Earl Grey with some egg salad sandwiches

There are thousands of different tea types to choose from, from China and India, any one of which you may find at an afternoon tea.

In Japan, for example, they have Matcha green tea made from finely powdered dried tea leaves. If you wish to gift someone a nice tea-related present, why not try this Matcha kit from

In the UK, afternoon tea would traditionally be served in a teapot using black tea, and many people have their own ways to make the perfect cup. My grandmother was actually married to a tea planter in India and she would always give me a very hard time if I poured the water into the pot and it was not boiling properly! And of course, the milk always goes in last, once the tea is in the cup, not the other way around!!

Variations on tea time

So, although the British will drink tea all day long, from breakfast to bedtime, there are some other expressions you may hear.

&lsquoTea time&lsquo for example is one. What is tea time and what time is tea time in England? Well, tea time could refer to afternoon tea or high tea, depending on where you are in the country. So either 16.00 or 17.00 for example. But it could also mean anytime when someone wants a cuppa (cup of tea or cup of char).

You may also hear the term &lsquoelevenses&lsquo which refers to a short break at 11.00 a.m. when one might partake of a cup of tea and some biscuits for example.

A &lsquoCream tea&lsquo is also something you may hear of and is similar to an afternoon tea, but just includes scones with jam and clotted cream and tea. It is traditionally from the West Country (the counties of Devon and Cornwall in the South West), where they have a long-held rivalry on how best to eat your cream tea. You can read more about this in my scones with clotted cream post.

A cream tea may be enjoyed at almost any time of the day.

Afternoon tea etiquette

Originating from its posh beginnings, afternoon tea obviously has some etiquette attached as to how to behave. Quite useful to know, if you are visiting the Queen at Buckingham Palace, for example 😃!

Here it is nicely summarized in this amusing video describing afternoon tea etiquette, by William Hanson:

Anyhow, having given you some background, I shall now give you some afternoon tea recipes to help you make your own afternoon tea party. Invite your friends and pretend you are royalty!


Afternoon Tea in Paradise - Recipes

Nothing is more quintessentially British like afternoon tea. While most of us may think of afternoon tea as an upper lass tradition dating back hundreds of years, I discovered something else entirely it’s relatively new. In fact, High Tea as we know it has only been around for about a hundred and fifty years.

First, we must travel back to the sixteen hundreds, when King Charles II’s Portuguese bride, Catherine, brought a cask of it along with her dowry. She unwittingly started a new fashion–afternoon tea. However, tea came largely from the Orient, so it was expensive. Therefore, only the rich could afford tea until larger amounts began to be imported, resulting in lowered prices. Still, tea in the afternoon didn’t become common until the 1700’s. Thomas Garraway introduced tea in his London coffee house claiming tea had medicinal qualities with this advertisement:: “This excellent beverage, recommended by all Chinese doctors, and which the Chinese call ‘Tcha’, other nations ‘Tay’ or ‘Tee’, is on sale at Sultaness Mead close to the Royal Exchange in London.” (Le Palais des Thes)

By the Regency Era, the custom had long-since caught on and the upper class had afternoon tea about four o’clock, which was before the fashionable time to promenade in Hyde Park if one resided in London. Afternoon tea included, of course, tea served hot. In addition to tea, one might find any of these tasty treats: small finger sandwiches (thin and crust-less, thank you), biscuits (which the Americans call cookies), seedcake, macarons, and small cakes sometimes called fairy cakes with butter icing which were about the size of mini cupcakes. Regency tea did traditionally include petite fours but with macarons available, that would suit me just fine. There has been much discussion among Regency enthusiasts as to whether scones with jam and clotted cream (also known as Devonshire cream) were served during the Regency or if that became more common during the Victorian era when High Tea became such a grand affair. Without a time machine, one may never know.

Food with tea probably evolved because the upper classes ate dinner at the fashionable time of about eight o’clock at night, and since many had not yet adopted the custom of luncheon or nuncheon, they probably needed that small meal in the middle of the day. Personally, I like a small meal in the afternoon even though I do eat lunch. I would have made a great hobbit with the custom of eating “elevensies” and lunch and afternoon tea, etc. But I digress.

“High Tea” developed during the Victorian era. Some accounts say that high tea, served later in the day at about five or six o’clock, originated with the lower classes but I don’t understand how they could come home from work for high tea and then return to work for a few hours and then go home again for dinner. *shrug* Plus, tea was expensive so not many of the lower classes could afford it.

At any rate, High Tea is a more filling meal than afternoon tea. High tea usually comes with white and brown bread, meats such as roast pork, fish like salmon, scones, an assortment of sweets such as cake pie, trifle, lemon-cheese tarts, sponge cake, walnut cake, chocolate roll, pound cake, currant teacake, curd tart, a variety of cheeses, jellies, as well as butter or clotted cream. In addition, the term High Tea comes from how and where the guests are seated. According to Laura Boyl in her article “Tea Time” on the Jane Austen website: the different names are derived from the height of the tables where the meals were served. Low tea is served on a table, which in the United States would be called “coffee tables.” High tea is served on the dinner table.

Because the characters in my Regency romance novels all hail from the upper class, or end up there eventually, I will focus on Regency afternoon tea because that’s what they do every day, unless they are fighting pirates or running for their lives or battling villains, of course.

Most sandwiches in the UK are traditionally made with a very thin white bread, generously buttered with potted paste. The potted paste could similar to deviled ham, but also could be a fish paste–salmon, for instance, very thinly spread. I guess they liked their pleasures small, thin, and bite-sized.

Tea was (and still is, sometimes) served in a china or silver pot accompanied by slices of lemon or milk. They never put cream in their tea or it ruined the flavor. According to Regency researcher and author, Kathryn Kane, tea leaves used during the Regency were chopped much more coarsely than those used today. The large size required that the tea be steeped for a longer period, but it also made it easier to strain the used leaves from the tea after it had been steeped. There was a special implement included in many tea services used to clear the strainer at the base of the spout of the teapot, or to strain the used leaves out of each cup before it was served. You can find more detail at: http://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/the-mote-skimmer-a-specialty-tea-accessory/

However, Regency author Grace Kone, who is British, told me that if it’s done correctly, the tea leaves stay on the bottom, with just enough pouring out to make a scattering of leaves for fortune-telling. (It sounds very Harry Potter, doesn’t it?) Grace said she has never in her life strained leaf tea. Other British friends such as author Janis Susan May Patterson use a tea ball, which is a small metal case into which she places the tea leaves. These are also known as ‘tea eggs.’ Other British friends pour their tea into their cups through a silver tea strainer.

Here is a recipe, courtesy Regency author, Miranda Neville, for cucumber sandwiches:

  • Very thinly sliced white bread (or whole wheat if you insist on being healthy but really, why bother?). I use Pepperidge Farm Very Thin
  • Good quality unsalted butter
  • English cucumbers (about† one and a half per loaf of bread)
  • Salt

1. Slice the cucumbers very thin. Put them in a colander mixed up with some salt, weigh them down with a plate, and leave them in the sink to drain for an hour or two.

2. Wash the salt off and pat dry with a dishtowel.

4. Put two layers of cucumber slices in each sandwich and press flat with your hand so it all sticks together, preferably without becoming totally squashed.

5. Cut off the crusts (very important). With a big sharp knife cut each sandwich into four – triangles, squares, or strips, your preference.

Me, again. After some trial and error, I decided I like cream cheese instead of butter, but that is a modern substitution.

Here is another tea party must (at least in my opinion)–macarons. From “The Royal Pavilion at Brighton a booklet A Choice Selection of Regency Recipes you can now make at Home” here is a recipe for macarons.


Photo by Chelsea Audibert on Unsplash

Macarons
1 large egg white
2 oz ( 55 g) ground almonds
2 oz (55) g caster sugar
a few drops rose water (or whatever flavor you prefer)
1-2 drops almond essence
about 12 slivered almonds (optional)

Heat oven to 160C/325F/gas3

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment paper. Whisk the egg white until stiff. Using a large metal spoon, fold in ground almonds, sugar, rosewater (or your choice of flavoring), and almond essence. Mix until blended into a smooth thick paste.

Using a teaspoon, put blobs of the mixture on the lined baking sheet, leaving space between them to allow for expansion during cooking. Flatten with the back of a spoon. If you like you can top each with a sliver of almond. Bake for about 20 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and leave to cool. Makes about 12.

Trust me these are delicious. I prefer to make them the modern way with a dab of buttercream frosting in the middle of two so they make a sandwich cookie, but they’re tasty plain.

I’m not a traditional tea drinker because I don’t use caffeine, so I deviate with herbal tea in my cup and I like to add a little honey. But you can use any preferred tea and any desired sweetener. The use of a pretty teacup and the fun finger foods is what it’s all about.

Having Afternoon Tea is great fun. I think my next party will be a tea party. Recently, I discovered wearing a tea party hat adds to the atmosphere. Have you ever attended or hosted a tea party?


20 Recipes That Are Perfect for an Elegant Afternoon Tea Party

A previously elegant social event that is now a gathering for all, the tradition of serving afternoon tea dates back to the 1840s in Britain. While it's hard to pinpoint exactly when, or why, the tradition of afternoon tea started, many reports link it to Anna, the Duchess of Bedford. The Duchess was said to have had mid-afternoon hunger pains and wanted to fill the long period of time between lunch and dinner with small bites such as finger sandwiches and sweets, as well as tea. Within a few decades, the event became a parade of pageantry, where hosts could show off their impressive collection of china, fine linens, and exquisite taste in the form of pricy teas and dainty fare.

You don't need to be a duchess to take afternoon tea. Grand hotels offer it, so do some restaurants and cafés, but we think this grand tradition is best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. In addition to serving a selection of teas, a variety of small foods, both savory and sweet, are essential. Our recipes will give you a sense of what to serve at your next afternoon tea.

Considering the British history of this event, scones are must. Rhubarb-Buckwheat Scones and Herb-Cheddar Scones offer something for everyone. And what's afternoon tea without cucumber sandwiches (the two are practically synonymous)? An open-faced Scandinavian Shrimp-and-Cucumber Sandwich has a gorgeous mix of bright colors and Vegan Cucumber Tea Sandwiches won't make the dairy-averse feel left out.

Care for something sweet? Rose Raspberry Macarons, while technically French, are a delight to eat. Other special occasion sweets include Polka-Dot Petit Fours, Orange Madeleines, and Mini Chocolate Cakes with Dark-Chocolate Ganache. Set a couple of hours aside in the afternoon to enjoy tasteful blends of tea and treats (oh, and keep those pinkies down&mdashit's an antiquated habit!).


How to put together the ultimate afternoon tea at home

The perfect excuse for fitting in another meal between lunch and dinner, afternoon tea is a quintessentially British event that’s full of sandwiches, cake and plenty of fine china. Here's how to make one fit for the Queen.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Afternoon tea is an oh-so-British tradition which dates back to the seventh century. Reportedly, the Duchess of Bedford decided to solve her mid-afternoon slump with a light refreshment and a walk with her pals to see her through to dinnertime. This soon grew into a fashionable occasion for the upper classes to meet and gossip, with the array of food on offer reaching elaborate heights. Sadly, nowadays this tradition is limited to special occasions rather than a daily afternoon pick-me-up, but it is nonetheless one of the most internationally recognised British customs (although we probably don’t enjoy it as frequently as those around the world might think).

To celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, we’ve put together an assortment of recipes that would make the Duchess of Bedford proud, complete with cucumber sandwiches and all the trimmings. And if you have a special occasion coming up or just feel like spoiling yourself, we’ve included some of our favourite restaurants serving the finest afternoon tea selections.


Patisserie and sweet afternoon tea treats

Serve your sweet afternoon tea treats on a cake stand to create an impressive spread to carry to the table. You can assemble the pastries, biscuits and cakes ahead and bring out the afternoon tea stand after a couple of rounds of scones. If you want to spruce up your pastry skills, here are our best patisserie recipes to try.

Coconut macaroons

Bite-sized coconut macaroons make the perfect addition to your afternoon tea, best served with a hot pot of tea.

Viennese whirls

These buttery, melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are a tea-time blast from the past – ideal for a classic-style afternoon tea.

Strawberry cupcakes

These table ready cupcakes would make a summery addition to your afternoon tea spread, perfect with a fresh pot of tea.

Chocolate and hazelnut millefeuille cake

Sandwich crisp puff pastry circles together with homemade hazelnut ganache, then top with sweetened Frangelico whipped cream, crushed hazelnuts and a drizzle of warm Nutella for a decadent dessert.

The lightest victoria sponge

Follow these simple steps to get a beautiful, classic jam and cream sponge sandwich that is lighter than air – perfect to go with your afternoon tea.

Snowball madeleines

Give the English madeleine a festive spin by infusing with the flavours of a classic snowball cocktail.

Blood orange sticky iced buns

These pretty buns a more refined version of that cake shop staple, topped with a zesty blood orange icing and pretty edible flowers. Popular at Easter, you're sure to impress family and friends with these beautiful buns.

Dulce de leche banana bread

Afternoon tea has a reputation for fussiness and recipes that need a lot of patience to make. These mini loaves are incredibly easy to make but still look elegant enough for the fanciest tea.

St Clements swiss roll

Simple citrus flavour combinations makes this swiss roll really light and refreshing. An airy lemon sponge is layered with tart marmalade and a rich vanilla and orange cream.

Chocolate éclairs

Take your éclairs to the next level with step-by-step help from the olive test kitchen. Craquelin is similar to a crumble mix, and when baked on top of the choux buns, gives a crackly, crisp top, typical in classic patisserie.

Rhubarb and custard slice

We've taken a classic flavour combination and given it a modern twist with this recipe for rhubarb and custard slices.

Coffee, chocolate and walnut cake

The combination of coffee and walnut is a classic but the addition of chocolate adds another layer of flavour to this beautiful cake, ready in just one hour.

Cherry bakewell tart

Our cherry bakewell tart is an exceedingly good tart – serve with a cup of builder’s tea for a proper English teatime treat. Try our favourite sweet tart recipes here.

Raspberry and white chocolate macarons

They’re a bit of a labour of love, but macarons aren’t that difficult to make and everybody will think you are a genius. The powdered egg white gives you a crisp light finish and the raspberry and white chocolate flavours make them the perfect afternoon tea treat. Or try our Nutella macarons for something a bit more chocolatey.

Cherry and pistachio bakewell galette

Check out this easy twist on the classic British bakewell tart. Pistachios add a vivid green colour and richness to the traditional almond filling. Chilling the tart before baking helps set the shape so don’t skip that step.

Lemon and blueberry bars

Our simple lemon and blueberry bars are seriously moorish, gooey on the inside and crunchy on the out, the ideal summertime afternoon tea treat.

Strawberry éclairs

Our light and airy strawberry éclairs are a fantastic summery twist on the classic chocolate. They're a little effort, but look stunning – they'll be a hit with adults and kids alike. You can get strawberries all year round now, but they're at their best from June until August, so make the most of them.

Rose and almond choux buns

Our favourite delicate afternoon tea recipe. Bite-sized rosewater cream buns, designed to impress. A new way to use choux pastry, these crumble-topped treats are a doddle once you've mastered the choux.

Pistachio swirl biscuits

These easy pinwheel biscuits are made with cocoa and pistachio, these nutty treats are quick to bake and will add a pretty touch to tea time. Make plenty – they won't last for long when the rest of the family spots them. Make one of our favourite biscuits recipes here to add to your afternoon tea spread.

Fresh cherry and coconut lamingtons

Lamingtons, originally from Australia, make a delicious high tea treat. Mini cakes, decorated in cherry jam and desiccated coconut, topped with a fresh cherry.

Apricot and pistachio sticky buns

These apricot and pistachio sticky buns are hard to resist. They're perfect with a cup of tea or as part of an afternoon tea spread.


Questions You May Have

Yes! The tea sandwiches, the scones, the sweets, are all to be eaten with your hands. Utensils only come into play when spreading clotted cream and preserves onto your scones. You may need a fork if your dessert is too messy and require a little assistance.

Afternoon Tea usually lasts about 2 hours.

Afternoon tea is a relaxing experience but it&rsquos somewhat formal so you don&rsquot want to look like a mess. It&rsquos best not to wear sneakers or jeans &mdash wear business casual at the minimum. It&rsquos a great reason to get dressed up.

Unless you&rsquore asking them to pack up your half-eaten finger sandwich, don&rsquot be shy about taking home the leftovers from your afternoon tea.

Cream Tea is a shortened version of afternoon tea with just scones with clotted cream and jam. No savories or sweets are served.


Downton Abbey: Afternoon Tea

Downton Abbey: Afternoon Tea recipes

There are many things I’m looking forward to for this upcoming season but ,honestly, there’s nothing that makes me more excited than the Downton Abbey movie coming out later this month. The series ended on such a positive and happy note but I was in tears just saying goodbye to all the wonderful characters.

I’ve done a few recipes inspired by the show before but I’ve been wanting to do a nice afternoon tea spread for a while now. While none of these items have been specifically mentioned in the show, I used some of the recipes I’ve been hoarding and wanting to try for this. I’m going to be posting the recipes in the next week or so, so make sure to come back for more recipes.

Downton Abbey: Afternoon Tea Tier

Starting at the bottom of the tier, we have two kinds of tea sandwiches. The first being a butter and sliced cucumbers and the second is egg with cress. I wanted to lean on lighter ingredients since we have quite a lot of items already. Some other options are ham and cheese, chicken, or fish if you want to make something different for your afternoon tea.

Downton Abbey: Tea Sandwiches for Afternoon Tea

These sandwiches are easy to put together and while it’s simple in terms of ingredients, both are classics. They’re also very light and fresh and especially great when you have quite a large spread for afternoon tea. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends did!

Downton Abbey: Tea Sandwiches for Afternoon Tea


Classic High Tea Sandwiches

For a fantastic afternoon tea sandwiches choose a mixture of sweet and savory sandwiches from the recipes below, or mix and match flavors to create your own afternoon tea sandwiches creations.

The ideal bread to use for all of these selections is thinly sliced white bread, although you can substitute for wholemeal or gluten-free bread.

Note: While it can be tempting to omit the butter, keep in mind that this creates a barrier for the moisture of the fillings and keeps the bread from getting too moist or soggy.

Photo credit M&S

Roast Chicken and Honey Mustard Sandwiches

Spread the bread with butter and a thin layer of honey mustard.
Slice the roasted chicken and place on next.
Put the final slice of bread on top and cut to serve.

Photo Credit Discover Britain

Smoked Ham, Brie, and Apple Sandwiches

Butter two slices of bread.
Layer the smoked ham, sliced Brie and thinly sliced apple on one slice of bread.
Place the second piece of bread on top and cut to serve.

Grated Carrot and Raisin Sandwiches

Arrange freshly grated carrot on a slice of buttered bread and sprinkle with soft raisins (soaked in warm water for an hour is best).
Place another buttered slice of bread on top and cut into triangles for serving.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

These are so simple to make, but people will not be able to stop eating them!
Make or buy a simple chicken salad, with shredded chicken and mustard mayonnaise.
Spread evenly onto a slice of bread.
Place the second slice on top and cut into fingers.
For extra taste, you can add sliced apple or celery into the chicken salad.

Photo credit Food Fanatic

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Mix mashed hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise and a small amount of mustard to make a paste.
Spread evenly and thickly onto a slice of bread.
Add the second slice and cut into fingers for serving.
For extra taste, you can add sliced apple or celery.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Spread a thick layer of softened cream cheese on one slice of bread.
Lay thin slices of smoked salmon on top of the cream cheese and cover with the top slice of bread.
Cut into triangles or fingers for serving.

Photo credit Culinary Ginger

Classic Cucumber Sandwiches

Classic cucumber sandwiches are the easiest to make.
Spread a layer of butter on a slice of white bread.
Remove the skin of the cucumber.
Slice the cucumber into thin round slices.
Place on the bread and season with a small amount of pepper and salt .
Serve as open sandwiches or cover with the second slice of bread and cut into triangles for serving.

Tomato and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich Fingers

Thinly slice the tomato and the cheddar cheese.
Layer onto a buttered slice of bread.
Place the second slice of bread on the top and cut into triangles or fingers for serving.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Italian Style Sandwiches

Thinly slice the tomato and the mozzarella cheese.
Layer onto a buttered slice of bread.
Place the second slice of bread on the top and cut into triangles or fingers for serving.
For added taste add fresh basil leaves to the sandwich.

Asparagus Rolls

Freshly cooked or tinned green asparagus work best for this,
but be sure to drain the asparagus well before placing on the bread or you will have a soggy mess.
Butter the bread first and salt it.
Lay the asparagus over the bread and roll into sandwich rolls. Serve immediately.

Tuna, Mayonnaise, and Mango Sandwiches

Butter two slices of bread.
Spread with mayonnaise.
Used tinned tuna that has been well-drained.
Place the tuna on next.
Fresh or tinned mango can be used next.
Layer this on top of the tuna and top with the final piece of bread. Cut and serve.

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sandwiches

Butter the bread.
Layer the thinly sliced smoked salmon on the bottom slice.
You can also use well-drained tinned salmon for this.
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber and layer on next.
Place the top piece of bread on and cut to serve immediately.


Watch the video: Afternoon Tea at Harrods