The concept of "Afternoon Tea" is known to almost everyone in the world, but it's the Brits that celebrate it so dearly (and regularly!). After all, can you imagine a day without tea? And perhaps a little cake to go with it? We might not be the most traditional kind, but that is something we just can't live without.
But... how did it even start?
The story takes us back to the early 19th century in England. Tea-drinking has already become quite popular, but the "afternoon tea" ritual, complete with cakes and pastries, was still in it's very early days.
One popular story attributes the invention of afternoon tea to Anna Marta, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. The story goes that the Duchess often felt a "sinking feeling" in the late afternoon, as the gap between lunch and dinner was quite long. To remedy this, she began requesting a small meal of tea and snacks, including cakes and sandwiches, to be served in her chambers.
Soon, the idea of afternoon tea caught on among the upper classes in England. It became a fashionable and social event, where friends would gather to enjoy a cup of tea, accompanied by the very best that life has to offer: cakes, scones, finger sandwiches, and pastries. As you can imagine, the tradition of afternoon tea quickly spread throughout the society.
It wasn't just about food and drink though; it became a very important social interaction! It was an opportunity for people to showcase their finest china, elegant table settings, and etiquette. It was just... fun. It's worth to keep in mind that people couldn't just stream music or watch cat reels on their phones. A good chat with neighbours and family was as good as it gets and afternoon tea facilitated that perfectly!
Snap back to 21st century, we're still enjoying afternoon tea. Perhaps in a slightly less posh way, but the idea remains, deeply rooted in our minds. It's one of those traditions that we'd just love to stay indefinitely. Speaking of which, it's tea time now as I'm writing this.
Thank you for reading!