“Fancy to try an afternoon tea?”
So British! — probably what you have in mind when you hear this invitation anywhere you are in the world. People may be (cartoonishly) imagining Brits to go on a full stop and leave whatever they’re doing at 4 in the afternoon to sit back and enjoy some tea with little treats and light snacks. You have the seventh Duchess of Bedford to blame for that culture, if need be. Exaggerated visuals aside, afternoon tea truly has been one of those activities branded as being quintessentially British.
Observe the British society nowadays and you shall see that this once-regular afternoon occurrence in the homes has transformed from being a usual cozy affair to becoming a luxurious activity. Tea shops from around the country curate special menus for afternoon teas to entice not only the Brits but also the tourists wanting to experience this sheer delight from holding a warm cup, munching on sweets and savouries while chatting with an acquaintance.
People oftentimes dress for the occasion and head to hotels for a pot of nicely brewed tea leaves accompanied by the best of the best that the kitchen has to offer. If the place is fancy enough, there’d be a pianist on the background as you blissfully sip the afternoon away.
As various culinary influences enter the scene, you see more and more innovations to the traditional scones and sandwiches that earned their rightful plates in the tower. Now, you see wagyu sliders and peanut mochi entering the scene — did we mention there’s Dolce and Gabbana pastry too?
Anyway, no matter how much British afternoon tea evolves as years go by, there is still no denying that it is a pleasant social activity that will forever be part of the British culture, something we’ll have to thank the seventh Duchess of Bedford for.