Delicate floral china, scrumptious home-baked goodies, pots of hot tea, lumps of sugar and finger sandwiches – these are all ingredients that make up the traditional English afternoon tea. It is thought that afternoon tea began with Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century. It was customary to have dinner around 8 or 9pm, but this left Anna more than peckish by late afternoon. To stave of her hunger, she would order tea, bread and butter, and cakes to be served in her room, and the afternoon tea was born!
These days, afternoon tea comes in many shapes and sizes, but for now, we’re only interested in one kind: vintage. Whether you want to pop into a vintage-themed tearoom or hire fine bone china for your own unique do, Kent is home some of the best vintage-inspired eateries and hire companies in the UK.
No 84 Tearoom & Eatery
Where Memories Meet
As Time Goes By
Juliet’s and More
Victorian Tea Room at Chiddingstone Castle
Tea Service, Parties & China Hire
Rosebud Vintage Tea
Bluebell Vintage Parties
Vintage Tea Kent
The Vintage Cup
Vintage Tea at Home
This summer, why not throw your very own vintage tea party at home? Have a look around local vintage/charity shops or fairs, or browse online auction sites such as eBay for beautiful vintage tea sets, servingware and décor.
For the perfect afternoon tea, make sure you serve an array of savoury and sweet treats, and a variety of teas. Use the below menu as a guide to creating a vintage tea to remember.
• Gourmet Teas
Try one of insideKENT’s favourite tea companies, www.teapigs.co.uk.
Our suggestions: English Breakfast, Darjeeling Earl Grey, Peppermint, Super Fruit and Silver Tips White.
• Finger Sandwiches
Some of our favourites: Brie, ham and apple; salmon, cucumber and cream cheese; pesto chicken; prosciutto, fig and pear; cheddar and pickle; blue cheese and grape.
• Cake, cake, cake!
Big cakes, small cakes, cream cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes – afternoon tea would not be complete without a generous slice of cake or three. Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, iced carrot, double chocolate, the list goes on. Try your hand at all sorts of delectable desserts in our favourite cake cookbook, The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days: Recipes to make every day special. Available from Amazon.co.uk.
• Don’t forget the freshly baked scones, cream and jam!
Vintage Tea Party
Filled with evocative photographs and mouth-watering recipes, Vintage Tea Party shows you how you can recreate a nostalgic world of classic comfort, elegance and delicious treats. Available from Amazon.co.uk.
Give the perfect vintage tea-inspired gift!
A bespoke vintage floral tea set (in various designs) filled with chocolate of your choice. A great new gift idea from Chocolate Deli, Hythe.