The afternoon tea alphabet

Olde Young Tea House menu

Just for a little bit of fun, we’ve put together an A-Z of afternoon tea. Some of the letters were really easy to think of things for, others not so much!

What would feature in your afternoon tea alphabet? Let us know in the comments or on our social media accounts!

Anna Stanhope, Duchess of Bedford

Anna Stanhope

A is for Anna Stanhope; Duchess of Bedford, lady in waiting to Queen Victoria and the inventor of afternoon tea. Knowing that tea was going to be served late in the evening, she asked for some cakes and tea to get her through the afternoon… and the rest is history!

Baked goodies

Cake from Patisserie Valerie

Sweet treats are essential for a good afternoon tea, with cakes and pastries being a perfect way to round off your meal.

Some of our favourite treats so far include Guinness cake, apple sponge and blueberry cupcakes. What do you look forward to most when you go out for afternoon tea?

Cocktails

Cocktail at Majestic Theatre

A lot of modern afternoon teas offer cocktails instead of the traditional pot of tea or glass of bubbly. Have you been to afternoon tea with cocktails?

Devon style v Dorset style

 Cream first  Jam first

How do you eat yours?

Everybody knows that scones have to be served fresh out of the oven with clotted cream and jam. However… did you know the order you layer the cream and jam on your scone says a lot about you?

‘Devon style’ is when you put the clotted cream on first and ‘Dorset style’ is when you put the jam on first. Each method has its supporters and detractors. Personally, I like both and like to mix it up when I go for afternoon tea!

Etiquette

Oh boy… there are a lot of rules if you go for afternoon tea. Don’t stick your little finger out when drinking tea, don’t use a knife to cut your scone, put the milk in last… the list goes on. I’ll probably get round to writing a blog post about my thoughts one day but I believe afternoon tea shouldn’t be exclusive and you should be able to do what you want.

Finger sandwiches

 Finger sandwiches

Sandwiches are the best way to kick off an afternoon tea. Traditionally they have the crust cut off and are small enough to be demolished in two or three bites but I’ve been out for afternoon teas where the sandwiches are a lot more substantial!

Gentleman’s afternoon tea

This is a new thing and there are quite a few places in the North that serve it. If you go for this type of afternoon tea you will be treated to things including sausages rolls, whisky and perhaps even a cigar!

Although let’s not be sexist, both men and women can enjoy afternoon tea, whether it’s cakes and prosecco, or liquor and pork pies!

High tea

Sometimes ‘high tea’ is used as a synonym for afternoon tea, especially outside the UK. It originally derived from the meal that factory workers in the North and Scotland used to have when they came home from work and consisted of tea, bread, meat and vegetables.

Indulgence

Short but sweet, there’s nothing more indulgent than an afternoon tea!

Jam

Scones and jam

All afternoon teas need to serve scones, and there needs to be lots of jam served alongside those scones! Strawberry and raspberry jam are the favourites, but it’s not uncommon to see more exotic flavours (I once had a really delicious passionfruit curd!)

Kornflake cakes

 Afternoon tea and cornflake cake

Yep... Sorry about the typo but I couldn’t think of anything that began with a K!

I think my favourite afternoon teas are the ones which mix the traditional with the quirky. I recently went to an afternoon tea which served a little cornflake cake alongside the rest of the desserts. I hadn’t had one since school and it was delicious!

Loose leaf tea

Teapot

The sign of a quality afternoon tea is when they serve loose leaf tea instead of teabags. You get a strainer to put over your teacup to catch all the solids. Don’t forget to use the strainer, otherwise you’ll get a mouthful of soggy leaves.

Macarons

 Macaron

Macarons (not macaroons, they’re something completely different!) are little chewy meringue sandwiches. If made right, they’re totally delicious, and I get super excited when they appear on an afternoon tea menu!

North East

There are lots of wonderful places to have afternoon tea in the North East, from rural hotels to bars in the city centre. Afternoon Tees is dedicated to reviewing as many of them as possible!

Oranges (and other fruit)

One trend I’ve noticed is that afternoon teas serve fruit alongside their desserts, as a way to cut through the sweetness of the cakes. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries seem to be popular at the moment.

Prosecco

 Prosecco

A cheeky glass of prosecco (or champagne if you’re feeling fancy) can turn a good afternoon tea into a fantastic one!

Queen Victoria

Anna Stanhope, the inventor of afternoon tea, was the lady in waiting for Queen Victoria. When the Queen found out about afternoon tea, she loved it and helped spread the tradition far and wide.

Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake is a red layer cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s become very popular in the last few years and is gracing many afternoon tea platters.

Scones

 Scone

All afternoon teas have got have scones! The best ones are large, full of fruit, fresh out of the oven and you’ve got to be able to put your own jam and clotted cream on them (pre-prepared ones are a no no!) 

Trifle

I went to an afternoon tea earlier this year which served a mini trifle. I'm not usually a big fan of trifle, but it was really good, and nice to have something a little bit different!

Unusual venues

The great thing about afternoon tea is that you can have it anywhere, from a countryside hotel to a quirky cocktail bar. We've been to lots of different places so far!

Vegan afternoon tea

Blueberry cupcake

Do you have specialist dietary requirements? If so, as long as you let the venue know, they'll be happy to accommodate your needs.  

Where's the best afternoon tea?

That's the question we ask on our blog!

You can see our league table of afternoon teas here.

Xtras to take home

Can't finish your afternoon tea? No problem. Most venues will be more than happy to wrap up your leftovers for you to take home to enjoy later. 

Yuletide

We didn't get chance to go out for a festive afternoon tea last year (we did try... honest!) but there are lots of cool Christmas afternoon teas where you can enjoy mince pies, turkey sandwiches, and perhaps a glass of mulled wine!

Zzzz… oh, this post is over!

And that’s it for our afternoon tea alphabet. Seriously though, we racked our brains and couldn’t think of anything that started with Z!

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By Kate at 19 Apr 2017, 20:49 PM

Comments

Ritu Bhathal
Scones!!!
8/10/2017 10:21:23 AM
Afternoon Tees | Kate
Excellent choice Ritu! However... jam first or cream first? :)
8/10/2017 11:10:32 AM
Lorelle
M and P. Even better when together Lol.... :)
8/10/2017 10:50:02 AM
Afternoon Tees | Kate
Lorelle - you're a girl after my own heart!
8/10/2017 11:11:31 AM
AnHistorian
This is absolutely fantastic, so much fun!! I must say, it must Devon or no jam at all for me- I'm really there for the clotted cream 😍 I can have jam anytime, but not clotted cream!
8/10/2017 12:14:09 PM
Afternoon Tees | Kate
AnHistorian thank you for your kind words! Clotted cream is utterly delicious isn't it? The more you can plop on a scone, the better! :)
8/10/2017 1:23:46 PM
Suz
The jury is out, Macaroons or Scones with clotted cream, it's a hard one. Might just have to have both :-)
8/10/2017 5:55:38 PM
Afternoon Tees | Kate
Suz - both are excellent choices! :)
8/11/2017 7:06:15 AM

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