Photo by Sheena Bates
The custom of afternoon tea in England supposedly dates back to the 1840s, when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, requested a tray of tea and cake be brought to her sitting room in the late afternoon to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. Anna soon began inviting friends to join her at this daily event, and the ritual spread.
At chef Giuliana Orme’s afternoon tea-making class, you’ll learn how to tell your Victoria sandwich cake from your sweet tea bread and your Darjeeling tea from your Ceylon. In the country-style kitchen of Orme’s North London Victorian home, you’ll prepare rich Devonshire scones, crumbly, petticoat-tail shortbread and a selection of dainty cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon pinwheels. You’ll also discover how to brew the perfect cuppa, stop your sandwiches from drying out and correctly serve scones with clotted cream and jam. Afterward, you’ll retire to the drawing room for etiquette tips and an afternoon tea history lesson as you tuck into your morning’s culinary delights.
Here are three more spots to have afternoon tea in London.
The Epicurean Afternoon Tea here is a three-hour tea-tasting curated by certified Tea Master Giando Scanu and paired with finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and French pastries.
With treats inspired by iconic pieces from the fashion world, like Manolo Blahnik’s polka dot stilettos carved into a delectable vanilla biscuit, the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea at The Berkeley is an Instagram-worthy affair.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at this historic store has more than 40 rare and exotic teas. Peckish? Try the Honey Roast Ham with Grain Mustard and Rare Breed Hen’s Egg Mayonnaise sandwiches.