afternoon tea is an old English tradition of which started on the 19th century.
the story sais that the duchesse of Bedford (who was also a friend of HM queen Victoria) initiated this wonderful tradition by inviting her close friends for some chitchat and light refreshment in between lunch and dinner. In those times the aristocracy used to eat two meals a day: an early lunch and a late dinner. which meant a slight hunger in between the two meals. first, the duchess would offer tea escorted with sandwiches and some biscuits or a cake cut into slices, to her friends. when queen Victoria was invited, the invitation created a crowed of interested fans that evoked a need that everyone wanted to take part of. eventually, it became a common tradition in the British Empire throughout the world. Such a great tradition, that there were even jokes built upon that sake. one of them asked when should the Japanese invade Australia?…and the answer was of course: during tea time!

Within the years afternoon tea service become more sophisticated by separating a stand with three trays or plates to escort the tea itself: on the bottom are the different kinds of sandwiches. in the middle are found the scones, butter or clotted cream and strawberries jam. on the top tray one can find different kinds of pastries and sweets.
Timing is always important, but ultimate two hours tea time break will accrue between 15:00 to 17:00. Nowadays most hotels that serve afternoon tea, stretch the time and you can sometimes even note hours between 12:00 to 18:00.
while afternoon tea ceremony, is served in the living room - usually over sofas, high tea is served as a light dinner and over table and chairs.

 

 

Afternoon tea menu at studio-erez stern

 

served between 15:00 to 17:30 hours

a large selection of teas & infusions

 

*****

 

   smoked salmon sandwich with lemon cream-cheese   

 

Sandwich with cucumber & dill cream-cheese

free range eggs salad & chives Sandwich

 

tuna Sandwich made out of whole whaet flour

 

cheddar cheese sandwich over onion bread

 

*****

 

scones served with butter, Crème Fraiche

 

and a home-made strawberry preserve

 

*****

 

tartlets & assortment of pastries

 

when invited to an afternoon tea ceremony don’t forget table manners and rules: if both men and women sit around the table-men will pour the tea from the pot. pointing out with your little finger is not polite, on the contrary. do not sip your tea noisily, allow peaceful conversation. eating from the stand would start from the bottom plate (sandwiches, then scones) to the top one (pastries).
 
when cuting the scones in half dont use your knife, but rather use your hands. when spreading butter / cloted cream or jam, put the amount taken on your own plate rather than spreading it directly on your scone. when pouring liquids start with the tea, then add sweetener and stir (to dissolve the sugar) finish by adding cream or milk.
 
for your convenience we present the attached documentary explaining about having a tea party ethiquette and manners right here. while the other film shows you about the history of tea - itself.
 
 
 
not to mention a dress code for an afternoon tea ceremony that stands for respect. men must wear a jacket & a tie. casual attire is not recomanded, though in the Israeli summer a tie is not obligated but only recommended. never wear jeans or sportswear, for both men and women. never wear sunglasses since tea time is excelent hour for converstaion - better have eye contact with the person you speak with. women are requested to stay elegant and well dressed. you can wear a decorated hat but not overwhelming. as for jewelry- less is more. Keep your clivage for other occasions. hills are fine but not too high.
 
in recent years when bio & healthy food became so popular and buzz words, tea entered this segment too, and is now considered as healthier alternative for drinking coffee or milk. afternoon tea ceremonies become so common all over the globe, that you can get it in major hotel chains.
the costume of tea time still exist even at Backingham palace, where once a year during spring time - queen Elisabeth II is having a tea party for the benefit of selected guests among whom contributed to British society. This is the queen's way to show her appreciation and gratitude. You can notice the annual tea party at the following documentary film. as well as a small reminder to the mad tea party of Alice in wonderland

 

for further information, ideas and places to have afternoon tea in Great Britain please check the following link http://afternoontea.co.uk