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AfternoonTea is becoming the most fashionable moment of the day. Maybe because today afternoon tea is a synonym of elegance, wellness, time for ourselves, or maybe just because we need moments to share with friends, lovers, family….the fact is who doesn’t love Afternoon Tea?

But what is Afternoon Tea really? The word afternoon tea already gives us a clear hint: it is a tea, enjoyed between lunch and supper time. In fact it is a break between the two principal meals of the day. And it has become a true ceremony, the English Tea Ceremony, during which we enjoy a savoury and sweet menu, accompanied by a refreshing cup of tea, black of course!


Sometimes Afternoon Tea is also called High Tea, and the reason behind this name can be found in history.

Tea arrived in the Uk thanks to Caterina of Braganza, the Portuguese princess who marriedKing Charles the 1st in the mid 1600. At that time the Portuguese were trading with the far East, more than any other European country, and therefore had been importing tea for some time. Princess Caterina was a great tea drinker and when she married the King, brought her tea with her to court in England. 

So, to begin with, tea was an aristocratic business, but in the following 200 years became part of the everyday lives of the British population.

In the early days the ladies would serve tea in their private rooms, on low tables, so called tea tables. But when tea became more popular, it also became the workers’ favorite drink. After a long day at work, they would return to their homes and have their supper and tea, around 5 o’clock pm, on the kitchen table, which is higher than a tea table. Hence the name High Tea.

There are other legends around the name High Tea, but this we believe is the most credible. 

But let’s come back to our days. Afternoon Tea, as we mentioned, is very popular all over the world and a traditional Afternoon Tea or High Tea will always feature a pot of black tea, freshly made finger sandwiches and hot buttered scones with jam and cream. In the UK scones are served with clotted cream, but at BabingtonsRome, we use whipped fresh cream 

(cows in Italy don’t make a fat enough milk for the clotted cream!).

The most popular ingredients for finger sandwiches are chicken, eggs, smoked salmon and cucumber of course, whereas scones are usually accompanied by strawberry or raspberry jam. Today chefs are very creative with Afternoon Tea and you will find all sorts of delicious propositions to accompany your tea time break.

A richAfternoon Tea can also feature other savory nibbles such as quiche or ham &cheese English muffins, biscuits and cakes, but a pot of good, intense black tea with hot buttered scones, already make for a perfect Afternoon Tea.

For nearly 200 years, from when tea first arrived toEngland to Queen Victoria’s the rise to throne,  tea has been the favored drink of the British, both socially and commercially speaking, however it remained just that, a drink.

It is said that Queen Victoria herself initiated AfternoonTea ritual on her coronation day in 1837 at Buckingham Palace. The CourtGoverness had decided that it was unseemly for Victoria to be taking tea, at all times of day, just  like the rest ofEngland’s population. Tea was forbidden for Princess Victoria. So, it is said, that the first thing she did on becoming Queen, was to order a good cup of tea and cake!

In all probability it was more likely that Anna Maria, seventh Duchess of Bedford and lady in waiting to Queen Victoria who established the Afternoon Tea ritual sometime in the 1840’s. During a stay ather Belvoir Castle home she was caught out by an unusual pang of hunger during the late afternoon and ordered bread, butter, jam, biscuits and tea to be brought to her by her maid.

This exciting new idea spread in the twinkling of an eye and was often enriched with both sweet and savory nibbles.

A very romantic legend around the origin of AfternoonTea, that we love, although tea time was widely spread in the United Kingdom since the beginning of the 1800.

The transformation of the Afternoon Tea into a daily appointment imposed a whole new set of customs. Good manners, demeanor and elegance, as well as menus and table settings, play a hugely important part in a socially correct behaviour on behalf of the hostess, as well as the guests.

And in spite of unavoidable changes over time, AfternoonTea is still an enjoyable way to entertain and be entertained, with elegance and charm. 

Happy Afternoon Tea to you all!