Afternoon tea seems to be increasing in popularity here in the UK at the moment. At one point, it would have been something that a well-off person would do with friends, but several Tea Rooms have opened, or even restaurants have started offering this - even a fish and chip shop in my area has its own variation.
I had been to a garden afternoon tea a few years ago for charity. We were offered cucumber sandwiches, dips with carrot and celery sticks, scones, and a range of cakes - and pimms along with a large tea-pot of good old tea. It was pleasant - maybe a bit more like a village fete because there were raffles, stalls and tombolas. I didn't mind the experience - but it probably wasn't something I would do regularly.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to a baby shower - at a tea room, and we had afternoon tea. The thought of eating crustless finger sandwiches again made me think 'will I have enough to eat?' and I didn't really fancy cucumber. I had paid £5 for my last afternoon tea, however this was £15. I was looking forward to the company though as it would be nice to catch up with friends.
All I can say is that now I'm a convert... This was a superb afternoon tea. We got 4 sandwich triangles each but the fillings were all different. We had tuna, feta and pesto, egg mayo, and ham and mustard. I started with the egg because I knew I would like it - but it turned out I liked each and every type. The tuna was not swimming in mayo, the feta and pesto was great to try and not one I would have chosen. I thought I hated mustard but it turns out, it's OK.
I am such a fussy cake eater because I only ever like chocolate cake usually. There was a chocolate fudge brownie, vanilla cheese cake, a scone, raspberry cake, and an orange and pistachio cake. I tend to like cheese cake and anything chocolate. It was all served with jam and clotted cream - I don't like jam either. I know I don't like scones as I hate raisins but I tried the other cakes. The orange and pistachio cake was that nice, that I had to make one at home - this was my favourite. The raspberry cake wasn't a favourite of mine though. I still left full and I was surprised at how full I actually was!
The point of it all is that by getting a selection of things, it meant I got to try new things. I do like cheese and cherry scones, and I have checked out some other afternoon tea places that offer quiche, mini pork pies, sausage roles, fruit, a salad garnish, and things like cocktail sausages too. This got me thinking because afternoon tea can be such a varied option but overall it's a great way to try a little of everything. Like I said I have also seen a fish and chip shop variation too!
I really want to do one, on a Saturday for my children. I'm pretty good at baking cakes, and I am sure I could make up a menu that would suit us all in this house, plus it's something new to try.
Now I just need a cake stand and new tea pot - so I must sweet talk the hubby!
My advice to you is that if you have not already tried afternoon tea and have the chance, try it, you might like it - or make your own!
I will be posting pictures and a review of my own afternoon tea on Saturday, so watch out for this to see how it goes. Wish me luck!
Laters, Janet :)