Tea Time Tales: Unraveling the Delightful History of Afternoon Tea and the Great Biscuit-Scone Debate!

The Duchess got hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon, and the evening's meal wasn't until 8 pm. That meant there was a long time between lunch and dinner.The tradition of afternoon tea, is a quintessential British pastime that has captivated the hearts of people worldwide.

The many film and series adaptions of period drama's have introduced many people to the British customer of Afternoon Tea.

Originating in the early 19th century. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced the concept of Afternoon Tea in 1840.  It was unheard of before this but became very fashionable.

Tea Time Tales: Unraveling the Delightful History of Afternoon Tea and the Great Biscuit-Scone Debate!

The Duchess of Bedford, Anna, who is credited with the creation of afternoon tea. In the early 1840s, Anna, a close friend of Queen Victoria, experienced a "sinking feeling" during the long gap between luncheon and dinner. Seeking a solution, she began to request a tray of tea, sandwiches, and cakes to be brought to her private chambers during the late afternoon hours.

Word of this indulgent practice spread like wildfire, and soon, aristocratic households across England adopted the afternoon tea ritual. It provided an opportunity for socializing, relaxation, and rejuvenation, while satisfying the palate with the rich and comforting flavours of tea. The first tea to grace the elegant cups during afternoon tea was typically black tea, a favourite among the British. Varieties such as Darjeeling, Assam, and Earl Grey would often be chosen, depending on personal preference.

As the popularity of afternoon tea grew, the addition of biscuits, or cookies as they are known in the United States, became a natural accompaniment. The exact timeline of when biscuits became a part of afternoon tea is somewhat elusive, as it likely varied among households and regions. However, by the late 19th century, biscuits had firmly established themselves as a staple of the afternoon tea spread. These delicate delights would range from buttery shortbread to crunchy, spiced ginger snaps, providing a delightful contrast to the tea's warmth and richness.

Scones, on the other hand, made their appearance during afternoon tea a little later in history. Originally hailing from Scotland, scones were not immediately associated with this beloved British tradition. It was in the early 20th century that scones found their way onto the tea table, becoming an integral part of the afternoon tea experience. These flaky, buttery pastries were served warm, often accompanied by clotted cream and preserves, and quickly became a crowd favourite.

When it comes to the everlasting debate of biscuits versus scones, the preference is largely subjective. Biscuits, with their endless variety and sweet allure, captivate those with a penchant for bite-sized indulgence. Scones, with their comforting texture and ability to cradle dollops of clotted cream and preserves, entice those seeking a more substantial treat. Ultimately, the popularity of biscuits or scones with afternoon tea depends on individual taste buds and regional customs.

Today, afternoon tea is mainly catered for tourists to the UK. There many places in London, and on the coast of England that will carter to afternoon tea. However, one of the most popular things to have with a cuppa is a biscuit.


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