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Afternoon Tea

With the warm weather of Spring and Summer arrives daydreams of sitting in a beautiful, sunny garden enjoying the great British tradition of afternoon tea... and cake, everyone deserves a little cake! This is a quick guide to the traditions of a British afternoon tea, some great ideas for tasty recipes, the best biscuits for dunking and a few links to our bestselling teas.

What is afternoon tea?

Did you know that afternoon tea was also known as 'low tea' and was traditionally taken between 3pm and 5pm?
This was a way of distinguishing it from 'High Tea' traditionally taken between 5pm and 6pm and being a more substantial meal. 
The low and the high refer to the tables used for serving the meals. Afternoon Tea is traditionally finger foods and is served on low tables beside easy chairs. High Tea is traditionally eaten with a knife and fork and so would be served on high tables with participants sitting on hard upright chairs.
A traditional Afternoon Tea would have teapots with loose leaf tea, sandwiches (preferably the delicate finger-food type - think cucumber with the crusts cut-off, not doorsteps!) Scones, cakes and pastires are often served, ideally on a tiered cake-stand to show off your china.
High Tea was a far more substantial event, involving eggs or fish, cold meats and breads. Cakes and sandwiches would also be served but not as delicately as the afternoon affair - no need for cake stands, just tuck into a slice of Victoria sponge and enjoy!

Fancy having your own afternoon tea party?

Try these great menus from Real Foods:

Traditional Afternoon Tea               

Egg and cress sandwiches
Cucumber sandwiches
Victoria sandwich cake - try this gluten and wheat free recipe
Gluten Free Afternoon Tea

quinoa bread gluten free

Egg and cress sandwiches made with quinoa bread
Cucumber sandwiches made with quinoa bread
Classic Chocolate cake made with a gluten free cake mixture
Fair Trade Afternoon Tea
Cheese and tomato sandwiches
Vegetable Wraps
Fruit, Chocolate and Nut Cookies
Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter
Collection of Fair Trade Belgium Chocolates
Luxury Afternoon Tea
Avocado sandwich with tomato and lettuceClassic Yogi Tea
Cucumber and cashew butter sandwiches