Afternoon Tea

Last Wednesday's Women's Hour programme on Radio 4 discussed the rise in popularity of Afternoon Tea. They had a gentleman from Clarridges who brought the "tea" and tea consultant/writer Jane Pettigrew. Apparently afternoon tea is more popular than ever and establishments like Clarridges and The Ritz are booked weeks in advance. I have been longing for some time to take tea at the Ritz and now it seems that should the opportunity arise I probably won't be able to get a table, typical huh... I should have known it was becoming the "in" thing, a well known author with whom I am very slightly acquainted, in a friend of a friend type way, recently held her book launch party there; a sure sign that it is the "thing to do".

I haven't always been a tea drinker although I have never objected to the accompanying scones and cakes. As a student, some years ago, all I drank was cheap Cabernet Sauvignon and occasionally we sipped tea in the Chinese restaurants we used to frequent in London's Chinatown. Later when frantically climbing the career ladder in a busy media type company I survived on buckets of very strong coffee and the odd martini or 5, it is only in my current reincarnation as a Mummy that I have come to truly appreciate the restorative nature of a nice cup of tea. Nowadays I drink only one cup of coffee a day and that is first thing in the morning, I don't intend to ever give it up although I consciously took a decision to seriously cut down on my caffeine intake. My morning coffee is to be savoured, I drink it in the few minutes after the children have finished breakfast and been sent upstairs to start getting dressed, I sit for a few minutes to drink my coffee, maybe read some emails or flick through post and it ia pleasurable few moments. Tea has taken over as my drink of choice but I am fussy. I have discovered that I like my tea without milk and I am particularly fond of Green Tea, my current favourite being Jacksons of Picadilly Green Tea with Jasmine. My favourite cup of tea is the one which accompanies a slice of cake, lemon drizzle being perfect.

We do not regularly indulge in a full afternoon tea although we do manage a teabreak with some sort of baked item most days. This Friday we celebrated the start of the school holidays with a full and proper afternoon tea. We had cucumber sandwiches, scones with rasberry jam and clotted cream and of course some cake. A fresh white table cloth made it feel all the more enjoyable. Tea for the adults and Rasberry Milkshake for children. Our world slowed down for a few minutes while we took our time to enjoy and it was widely decreed that it should be a weekly event. Guess I had better work some extra steps into my week then if I'm going to keep that clotted cream off my waistband.


joy said…
I never knew that afternoon tea was 'out'. :-) It was one of my favorite things to do when I was in the UK. Even though I've never had tea at the Ritz (we were turned away for not being
'properly' dressed), we had just the perfect time by the seaside. That Devonshire clotted cream is an absolute guilt-inducing pleasure!
Those scones look great, mmmm.
MR INdia thought I was a bit daft when I told him it was Dervla K doing that M&S add (or S&M as I like to say). So, you have confirmed it for me!
Waiting for MR I to come back fromwork (as per usual) and then my folks can have the place to themselves. Off for a cup of morning tea
Cherry Rolfe said…
Tea never tastes so good as it does when you are a mummy! especially Chamomile (and it takes real busy family life to make that tatse good!) You must try making your own Elderflower Cordial and cahmpers to make your Summer afternoon tea right posh! And of course, living where you do, perfect your own secret recipe for Bara Brith!
Katherine said…
Tea and cake has to be one of my favourite things. I'm very impressed by your scones - that's one area of baking where I'm completely rubbish. But then I'm not very big on scones, I'd rather have cake. Tea at the Ritz is on my (once in a lifetime) list of things to do, although I hear it costs about £70. How much?! Boy oh boy, that's a lot of tea. I guess they sprinkle it with gold leaf or something...
weirdbunny said…
Scones, strawberry jam(home-made) and cream. Yummy scrummy..
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