Usually when people are thinking about the British, they also think about a certain tradition they are famous for: the infamous tea time. It is interesting to know that the British were the last nation to adopt this beverage, but it has become a traditional cultural icon.
The creator of tea time is said to be Duchess of Bedford, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting. She had a sinking feeling at about four o’clock, and she asked her servants to get her some tea and some breadstuffs.
Later she started inviting friends over, and the custom got picked up really fast by the upper classes, including Queen Victoria.
At that time the menu included small cakes, assorted sweats, bread and butter sandwiches and naturally, tea.
The most popular teatime snacks include toasted teacakes which are yeast-based buns with dried fruits, like sultanas, orange peel or currants.
Another snack is the cucumber sandwich. This consists of thin slices of cucumber between two thin slices of buttered bread.
Another kind of sandwich to consider is the Classic Victoria Sandwich.
What is a better way to finish a tea time with than the Victoria sponge cake garnished with cream and strawberry jam, which has been named after Queen Victoria?
Scones are also popular. These are usually lightly sweetened and in the same time really savory. An interesting kind of snack for teatime is the Victorian cheese straw. Children really like these, and in that time they used to be served with tiny fours and other kinds of goodies. They are simply magnificent.
The coconut macaroons have been actually invented in England, in Glasgow and they are known to be light and chewy. The last English tea snack that will be mentioned is the Rhubarb Fool. This is one of those funny names that only the English can come up with for their food.
The Spanish people also have their specific teatime snacks, and in the case of Catalonia the most well-known snack is called Mona. It is a kind of sweet bread in a circle shape and the interesting thing about it is that it has an entire egg baked into it. This is best if it is served with hot chocolate.
In case of children’s tea parties, you might be also thinking about iced biscuits, cheese and pineapple, fairy cakes, pinwheels, chocolate crispy cakes and also sausage rolls.
It is also a good idea to serve dried fruit gums. This represents a great alternative for sugar sweets and the kids will be delighted. Flapjacks are also good to be served and you might also offer milk for some extra calcium.
The Russians have their specific teatime traditions too. They are known to prefer exotic teas and the most specific elements are the zavarka and the samovar. The zavarka is a concentrated brew created by steeping the tea leaves in little water.
The samovar is a special kind of pipe, which is specific for this region and that proves the influence of the Asian culture over the Russian regions. Both of them are important for the culture of this people.
The Russian tea snacks are slightly sturdier and they were traditionally accompanied by stronger beverages along the traditional tea.
Afternoon teas are all the rage at the moment – hotels are offering them more and more and it is no longer just ‘ladies that lunch’ who take part. Professional party planners such as DeWintons – Caterers in London are finding that office parties and corporate catering are embracing the tea party trend.
If you want a professional to help sort out the food for your party, or even if you want to check out some idea and samples, it is a good idea to look to office catering rather than domestic catering companies. They are far more cost effective and will adapt to your needs.