Photo Caption: A slide from the upcoming English Travelogue by Deborah Kent. In the Cotswolds, roses peek over an ancient stone wall. Photo: Deborah Kent
The custom of afternoon tea originated in England in the 1840s. The custom spread throughout the British Empire and beyond in succeeding decades. Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar. The sugar and caffeine of the concoction provided fortification against the afternoon doldrums. For laborers, the tea was sometimes accompanied by a small sandwich or baked good (such as scones) that had been packed for them in the morning. For the more privileged, afternoon tea was accompanied by luxury ingredient sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam) and usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg, fruit cake or Victoria sponge). In hotels and tea shops, the food is often served on a tiered stand; for a cream tea, there may be no sandwiches, but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread, or toast, muffins or crumpets. Nowadays, a formal afternoon tea is usually taken as a treat in a hotel or tea shop.
Attend in appropriate Afternoon Tea attire, if you wish, and learn all about the famous English custom of “Afternoon Tea”. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Library (49 East Main Street, Orange). The suggested donation is $20.00 and proceeds benefit the Friends of the Libraries. Registration is limited to 20 guests. Please call 978-544-2495 for more information. Ta-Ta!