Tea Time Tales
One can't come to the British Isles and not experience some form of Tea Time. It is practically an institution and should not be missed. Now Brits love their tea: Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and English Breakfast or Irish, Scottish, Hiraeth (Welsh) for that matter. And tea is to be drunk at all hours of the day which I can say with great enthusiasm: it is by most in the Isles. I mean I have only been back in the country for a few days and my tea intake has tripled, it is just what people do. You put on the kettle, make a pot, pour a little milk, a spoonful of sugar if you have a naughty sweet tooth, and drink up, end of.
And what about posh Afternoon Tea? This includes: tea, champagne, finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones.
For Afternoon Tea in London: There are many options ranging in price, decadence, and location. Realistically you are looking at spending between £25-65 for the experience.
The Terrace at Harrods, TEA at Liberty and the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at my favorite department store Fortnum & Mason, are great places to enjoy a spot of tea and everything else while shopping.
For pure elegance (and if money is no option) why not try the Ritz or Claridge's?
For a fun and reasonable option that combines your tea with sight seeing down the Thames, book a boat ride with City Cruises River Thames Tea.
Finally, if you envision gardens and greenery and a warm summer's day head to The Orangery in Kensington Gardens. You will feel like you are in a period drama, I promise.
Now if you think the Afternoon Tea experience might be a bit too much for you, please have a Cream Tea. This is a much shorter and smaller endeavour that originates from the West Country. I especially recommend this while visiting a tea shop in a quaint little village. It includes your pot of tea, a scone either plain or fruit with jam and clotted cream. Now what is clotted cream you say? It's the consistency of butter and is made by warming cow's milk in a process that forms "clots". Basically to quote Wild America (I love that movie) "Devonshire cream, the creamiest cream". To be honest, scones with cream and jam are the best part of Afternoon Tea anyway (well not including the Champagne of course). Now as this delight originates in the West Country of course there has to be a debate in how this yummy dish should be served. Cornwall says jam first then cream and Devon says cream first then jam. I say have it how you want, FYI I do it the Cornwall way.
Can't get to the UK? Why not have a Cream Tea (or even full Afternoon Tea) party? Buy the scones or if you are very adventurous in the kitchen, make them! You probably have the tea, milk and strawberry jam at home anyway, then head to a specialty shop or British store to pick up some clotted cream.
Let the Tea Time commence!
Tayah's Take: Confused about the term High Tea? Traditionally High Tea referred to an actual meal for the working class unlike Afternoon Tea which was a social event enjoyed by the upper class. However many other nations accidentally classify Afternoon Tea as High Tea. Because of this mistake, many of the Tea Rooms and Hotels actually refer to Afternoon Tea as High Tea so that tourists can understand what they are buying!