High tea is often confused with an Afternoon Tea; however, they are actually two distinctly different eating occasions. Each serves a relevant purpose. Afternoon tea is said to have been inspired by the Duchess of Bedford who complained that she got famished between lunch and dinner and thus the traditional three-course “snack” of savory finger foods, scones and assorted petite sweets came into being served in upscale salons and sitting rooms all over England. Afternoon tea can also be called a “low tea,” as it is often served in a salon or sitting room on low tables with participants relaxing in chairs or lounging on chaise’s or low furnishings.
High tea is a meal. Often partaken by the working class; however, today, many who desire a special tea menu at a meal time blend the two. A few months ago we put on a high tea for our niece and 20 family members which included a demonstration of scone making and tea tasting of three fancy green and oolong teas. What was originally to be an afternoon tea turned into a dinnertime tea tasting; thus it became a “high tea” where we served a meal of multiple salads, hamsteak sliders, curried egg salad, along with scones and sweets.
The host wanted me to demonstrate two things for the group…1) how to make scones and 2) how to make a great cup of tea, which we did. We finished the meal with three petite desserts…decadent dark chocolate brownies, organic strawberries with mascarpone & cream fraiche, and, for our 8 year-old birthday girl who just loves pink, vibrant, pink frosted mini vanilla cupcakes.
The scones were a huge hit, served with raspberry jam, my tart lemon curd and creme fraiche. The birthday girl, her sister and cousins served, and they were excellent at it, including exuding tons of personality in the process. Uncle David (my husband) oversaw everything beautifully as usual. All had a great time and appeared to enjoy the scone making and consuming them fresh and hot from the oven, along with tasting the various oolong teas.
And just a reminder, as mentioned in my last post….Next up…I am almost ready to launch my “communing with books blog”…am excited to see where delving into the classics will lead, along with contemporary “classic” authors too. And know that many of the works include a tea time! (such a civilized thing to do 🙂