Time for tea

Afternoon tea

A great British tradition

There aren’t many things being more British than the tradition of afternoon tea, which has been embedded in our culture since the early 19th century.

A sinking feeling

Jane Austen hints of the occasion as early as 1804 in an unfinished novel. It is said that the afternoon tea tradition was established by Anna, Duchess of Bedford, who would get hungry between meals. This may be because tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that the Duchess complained of having a ‘sinking feeling’ during the late afternoon. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening. So it was a long time to wait for food so she would ask for tea and sandwiches around 4pm. She started to invite friends to Woburn Abbey during the summer months to join her for this routine and it became so popular this became part of fashionable society – particularly when Queen Victoria started to join in. By the 1880s afternoon tea was organised all over England.

Anna, Duchess of Bedford, was thought to have started the tradition for Afternoon Tea.
Anna, Duchess of Bedford, would get hungry between meals.

Afternoon tea tradition

Traditionally, afternoon tea is a light meal served between 3 and 5pm and consists of tea, small sandwiches, cakes, pastries, scones, bread and jam.

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

Henry James

The tradition started over 200 years ago has developed and become very widely popular, not just in the UK but across the world.

It has become a reason to meet family and friends and celebrate special occasions – such as Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee this year.

The basics for a great afternoon tea

Fitting with this tradition, Parsley Box has put together a selection of delicious products that can served at home as part of this tea-related ritual.

These include two drinks which can be with or without alcohol – choose from Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Gin Fizz  or Belvoir Sparkling Elderflower Presse, two 28g jars of Tiptree’s Strawberry Preserve, two 28g of Rodda’s Clotted Cream, a twin pack of  All Butter Sultana Scones and a pack of Whittaker’s Salted Caramel Creams.

Scones are the basis of any good afternoon tea and our hexagonal shaped sultana versions have a light and buttery texture with a light golden glazed top. Made for us by family bakers, Haywood & Padgett – now the UK’s largest scone manufacturer producing around 6 million scones a week -these set the standard for a high quality event.

Rodda’s clotted cream and Tiptree jam are elegant suitors for such classy products. Both are also suppliers steeped in British history.

Rodda’s Is well known around the world for making any pudding or afternoon tea a special occasion. They say the secret is down to the velvety texture and famous golden crust, which comes from using only the very best Cornish milk and the time-honoured way they craft their cream.

Now in the fifth generation of the business, they still make their products with the same love and attention given to them by the first.

Wilkin & Sons have been producing Jam in the village of Tiptree since 1885 and the brand is well known all over the world. They have held a Royal Warrant since 1911 and are perhaps best known for their unique ‘Little Scarlet’ Strawberry. Their stie also contains a small museum dedicated to the history of the company.

Belvoir Farm lies deep in the Leicestershire countryside, tucked away among the wild hedgerows and unruly shrubs of the Vale of Belvoir. They work with nature to craft their range of premium soft drinks while Edinburgh Gin is very close to our heart as we are both based in the heart of Scotland’s capital city.

The company began in 2010 with Classic, a world class London Dry, which became the foundation for a series of within the flavoured gin revolution, pushing boundaries and breaking down conventions.

Why not join us for tea with our special Afternoon Package? Find out more by clicking the link below: