“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Afternoon tea, is the most representing English custom that you can come across, however, tea is not produced in England and drinking tea has dated back to the third millennium BC in China. Actually, drinking tea was introduced to England in 1660’s by King Charles II.
Afternoon tea became a tradition in England in 1840’s, introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Dinner at her house was served at 8 pm, but the Duchess would become really hungry by 4 pm, so she would ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter, sandwiches and cake brought to her room during the afternoon. She made this a habit and started to invite some friends over to join her. By the late 1880’s this tradition became a social event, specially with upper-class and society women.
Nowadays, the best way to experience afternoon tea tradition would be in one of London’s finest tea rooms. We got the opportunity to visit and indulge in the Royal Afternoon Tea at The Rubens Hotel. When we arrived there the first thing that captures you is the view of the Royal Mews of the Buckingham Palace, you actually get transported into a royal experience overlooking the Palace.
The staff greeted us and took us to our table, they explained to us the variety of teas that we could choose from; they had royal blends, black teas, oriental teas, herbal and infusion teas. After the teas, the staff went over the whole menu that we were going to enjoy. This included 5 variety of sandwiches, scones, and a substantial selection of pastries. My favorite sandwich was the Cheddar cheese and tomato chutney on onion bread, followed by my love of scones with clotted cream and jam. By the time I went for dessert I was completely full, but I did have a try of the lemon meringue and found it delicious. However, if you have a bigger appetite then me, all the menu items offered are unlimited, you can get as much scones, sandwiches, pastries and tea as you want.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was how accommodating the menus and the staff were. The Rubens offers Afternoon Tea menus that cater for all ranges of dietary restrictions, from everything, vegetarian and vegan. They also offer a Royal Prince and Princess Royal Afternoon Tea experience. I got to take my toddler into this experience, and the staff was very friendly with him. And he was having a blast drinking tea and unlimited pastries, it even got to a point that I had to ask for some of the pastries to be removed.
This was an invitation by Red Letters Days.