In the UK, Afternoon Tea has been part of social life since the early part of the 19th. It gradually evolved to fill the refreshment gap between a light lunch at midday and a main evening dinner at 7.30 or 8pm. At first, Afternoon Tea was not meant to be a meal – more a relaxed gathering that offered a group of friends or neighbours the chance to gossip, chat about fashion, theatre, and any exciting secrets and scandals while sipping an elegant cup of tea.
Over time, the menu became more extravagant and elaborate offering guests neat little sandwiches filled with smoked salmon, thinly sliced cucumber, or egg mayonnaise, scones fresh from the oven served with jam and clotted cream, and home baked cakes and biscuits.
Today, “Afternoon Tea” has become more and more popular so that tea rooms and hotel lounges are full most days of the week, and especially at weekends, with tourists eager to sample a traditional British afternoon tea. It is more and more customary nowadays for Hen Parties, business colleagues, and families to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with an elegant afternoon tea.
One important thing to remember is that Afternoon Tea should always take place in a calm, quiet atmosphere and should be elegant and unhurried.