"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."
- Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
As we celebrate National Afternoon Tea week in August, we thought we’d take a look at some of our favourite facts about one of the nation’s favourite traditions!
1. Always Hungry Anna…
It’s believed the concept of Afternoon Tea was introduced by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in around 1840, as she often complained of becoming hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon due to the long time between lunch and dinner which was fashionable at the time.
2. Classic Cakes…
Afternoon Tea is traditionally composed of dainty sandwiches (usually cut delicately into 'fingers’), scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes. While it is customary for tea grown in India or Ceylon to be poured from silver tea pots into delicate bone china cups.
3. Wonderful Watercress…
During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, watercress was held in very high regard, with the turn of the century only increasing its importance in the British diet as it was considered a health food to aid digestion. Together with cucumber it’s often seen as a traditional Afternoon Tea sandwich filling!
4. A Royal Reception…
While, Duchess Anna may have invented the concept of Afternoon Tea, it gained widespread popularity when Queen Victoria engaged in the ritual. It was then that Afternoon Tea became a formal occasion on a larger scale – often known as 'Tea Receptions'.
5. White Star Service…
Although no menus survive for Afternoon Tea on board Titanic, it was almost certainly served in the Palm Court Café or 1st
Class Passenger Lounge. The Last Luncheon Menu which can be seen as part of the Titanic Experience
shows a heavy French influence, with delicious desserts including Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs, Custard Pudding and ‘Apples Meringue’.
6. Titanic Teatime Treats…
Since opening we’ve served over 43,000 Afternoon Teas at Titanic Belfast! Our team are passionate about enriching the experience with creative and innovative seasonal menus, with a Titanic inspired twist!
Find out more about our Sunday Afternoon Tea
at Titanic Belfast, or book now here
Don't forget to share your pictures from Afternoon Tea with us using #TitanicBelfast and include the #AfternoonTeaWeek this Sunday too!