Is it just me or is anyone else slightly bored or uninspired by Afternoon Tea? Afternoon Tea has been around for donkey’s years: ‘invented’ in 1840 by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who found she needed something to eat between lunch at midday and dinner at 8pm, the Langham Hotel in London founded the tradition of going out for Afternoon Tea soon after its construction in 1865.
Of course, many other Hotels and upmarket eateries have offered Afternoon Tea (think Raffles, the Ritz etc.) for many years, and more and more establishments appear to have jumped on the bandwagon. Going out for Afternoon Tea is a pretty common occurrence. I guess because it’s a step ahead of going out for ‘Cake and Coffee’ and has become of one the fun things to do (especially with a few chatty girlfriends) on any old day of the week – not just for a special occasions.
In my experience Afternoon Tea ain’t what it ought to be in some of the establishments that are advertising it. I have taken A.T. at The Ritz, The Langham, The Four Teas (Stratford-on-Avon) The Edgbaston Hotel (Birmingham) and many other places. The aforementioned were particularly good.
Many others, too many to mention by name, were not; my last couple of experiences have put me off altogether.
Why have I been put off? Too many cakes – that’s an admission for someone with all her teeth being sweet teeth, not great service, mediocre coffee (yes, I know it’s Afternoon Tea but I simply cannot stomach tea of any sort) and slightly shabby surroundings: worse still, no tablecloth at a couple of eateries…and I AM my mothers daughter. Mum really rates a clean, starched tablecloth!
Having shared this with you, I AM looking forward to an upcoming A.T. which one of my lovely running friends is putting on for a few of us: ‘J’ was telling me about an Indian Afternoon Tea she had enjoyed not so long back. I think I was dribbling as she described the food. Taking the visual hint she added, ‘I’ll do an Indian Afternoon Tea for some of us girls later in the year’.
‘J’, if you are reading this, I cannot wait! I love the fact that, just as I was feeling jaded by Afternoon Tea, a variation on the theme has come to light.