English High Tea Tips

Of all the stereotypical tokens of England, like the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace and double-decker busses, and tea tops the list. Tea is to England what apple pie is to America. English tea is steeped in tradition and more than a beverage of choice; it's also an important element in the social history of Britain. English High Tea is one of these traditions that are still an important element in the life of the British elite.

Many people imitate the practice of serving English high tea, but it's not easy to duplicate it. There are North American resorts, hotels and tearooms that will offer "English High Tea" with an array of sweets and pastries. These early afternoon parties are certainly elegant, but they are not bona fide "high teas".

To explore the proper method of serving English high tea, you must first understand a little bit about the history of England. The practice of taking high tea was first introduced when the people of England enjoyed two main meals each day: breakfast in the morning, and dinner in the evening.

Breakfast would typically consist of beef, bread and ale. The evening meal, on the other hand, was a veritable smorgasbord. This feast was served as the sun began to set, and came to be known as "high tea".

The English high tea that we know today was introduced by Anna, Duchess of Bedford. She was fond of inviting friends to dinner and would often experiment with the high tea menu. As other ladies of society began to follow suit, "English High Tea" quickly became a popular time for social gatherings.

Popularity of the English high tea gained momentum during Industrial Revolution, the second half of the Victorian Period. Working men and women returned home exhausted and prepared high tea for refreshment.

Quick and easy food choices were served for English high tea. Tables were set with bread and butter, meat, cheese, pickles and of course, a pot of tea. There were no of the rich desserts, fancy finger foods or tiny sandwiches that adorn today's mock "high tea" tables.

As a final note, the evening dinner tea was served at a high dining table, rather than on lower tea tables. This presentation may have been the basis for the name of "high tea".

Trying to impress your North American friends with an English high tea party? You may pull it off by serving some fancy sandwiches and sweets. But, if ever called to task with British guests, you'll need to wait until the afternoon sun begins to fade and serve your tea with some hearty fare. That's how to enjoy English high tea, the way the English do.

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About The Author, Sadie Bedgegood
Contributor Sadie Bedgegood contributes to several web sites, on family fun and home garden themes.