Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Great Afternoon Tea Treat

"Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, that I love London Town"... Afternoon Tea!
The best Afternoon Teas are a grand occasion... a special event to be lingered over, with time to savour. To delight in the cute exotic sandwiches, to marvel at the fancy cakes, to indulge in the scones and clotted cream, but most of all to enjoy the company of friends or family... 
The best Afternoon Teas have fine tableware, tea strainers, fresh flowers and of course sugar lumps!
Did you know? The tradition of the English Afternoon Tea comes from one of HM Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting Anna, seventh Dutchess of Bedford (1783 - 1857) In her day, being posh she would have eaten a huge breakfast, very little lunch and then an interminably long wait until dinner. She describes a "sinking feeling" in late afternoon and so one day she instructed her Butler to bring her Afternoon Tea with cakes in her boudoir.... Don't you just love that word Boudoir? Sorry I digress...

Strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate at the Eastern and Oriental, Penang

Let's raise our little pinky finger to Anna for trending #afternoon tea because somehow without blogging and Twitter, the delightful experience of taking afternoon tea caught on... At first this was only among the upper echelons of society but later teashops and tearooms opened for the general public to enjoy...
The best Afternoon Teas arrive piled high on a lovely cake stand, as at the Terrace Tearooms, Botanical Gardens, Melbourne.
Top marks for the pretty tea cups too!
Somewhere along the line, maybe in a boudoir in Essex in the 1980's, someone decided to add bubbly or even Champagne to the High Tea...

A glass of bubby makes an afternoon tea special. Photo courtesy of Tophams Hotel, Belgravia, London, UK
Wren has enjoyed some memorable Afternoon Teas in the past year...
  • At The Bedford Swan Hotel UK to celebrate my Great Aunt's 90th birthday, complete with swan scones and old time singers...
The Swan Hotel in Bedford, the birthplace of the Afternoon Tea. Photo courtesy of the Swan Hotel website
  • At a secret hotel in London Victoria, UK Dec 2012 - three generations of us in the Capital to see the Christmas lights, for shopping and Carols at Kensington Palace. We had great fun, infact such a good time was had by all, that no-one can remember the name of the hotel!
  • Royal Botanical Gardens, The Terrace Tearooms, Melbourne April 2013 - 50th Birthday bash for a special friend.
  • Windsor Hotel, Melbourne June 2013 - Bookclub girls out on the town.
For more on this pop over to Neesie Natters for her excellent review on a Fancy Afternoon Tea at the Windsor

My perfect Afternoon Tea would start in a lovely setting and is often a step back in time. At the Eastern & Oriental, Penang, you are greeted by elegantly dressed doormen, who open doors into a grand hotel reception area, outside huge palm trees sway gently in the breeze, the Tearooms overlook the water... That will do nicely!
Black Mercedes cars stand on parade in the front driveway to wisk guests off to explore the Island...
Then it helps to have the best fine china, pretty tea cups like at the Botanical Gardens Melbourne are lovely and it is important to have a huge selection of exotic teas, even if you end up choosing English Breakfast! Top marks for the sandwiches at the Eastern and Oriental with their different selection of breads, the Terrace Tearooms score highly with their home made sausage rolls and quiches catering for those who don't have a sweet tooth... if you do have a sweet tooth then book your flight to Malaysia now!
And enjoy these Afternoon tea cakes at the Eastern and Oriental, Penang, Malaysia.
Right I'm just off to get some afternoon tea for the kids - glass of apple juice and a biscuit anyone?!
Little Wandering Wren

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