More and more people especially in South Africa are referring to this meal as High Tea.Where does the expression come from ? Who invented it, do you know ? What time do you eat it ? What’s on the menu ?Both traditions are steeped in British History, but few people really know the difference these days. At Bettys Boutique Hotel in Mossel Bay, every time our guests sit down to eat their High Tea we explain why they are not here to eat High Tea but actually Afternoon Tea ! Some people don’t know that it shouldn’t be served buffet style, but always on fine china cake stands, not modern ones , and fine china teacups, saucers and plates and napkins must be used. Traditionally a selection of teas should be served to wash it all down with , but we understand people love coffee too so don’t worry, you can order a nice pot of Baruchs’s freshly ground coffee at Bettys Boutique Hotel .
Afternoon Tea came about in 1840 , as Anne the Duchess of Bedford was one afternoon languishing in her boudoir, like ladies did in those days, when she realised her tummy was rumbling . She was very hungry ! She’d only eaten a small breakfast and then a tiny lunch, the corsets they wore then made it hard to eat much at all actually! She rang down to the kitchen and ordered some small bites of food to be sent up to her room. After the initial anger of Cook who was busy preparing a 7 course dinner that would only be served at 8 pm, Cook reluctantly cut crusts off sandwiches, to make tiny finger sandwiches, baked some very small cakes and scones, and sent it up to the Duchess with a pot of tea . The Duchess absolutely loved it, so then told her best friends, and invited them over the following week to try this new way of eating. The ladies all agreed it was fabulous and soon they started this tradition in each other’s dining rooms on a regular basis . But when Queen Victoria came to the throne she decided it should be a grand social affair, eaten at the finest hotels and restaurants across the country. Now all of a sudden it was not just about the food and the fine china but about dressing up, having a good gossip, and boasting about who had the best dressmaker in town .Afternoon Tea now took its place in the history books and is now still served in all major cities across the world ! But remember the reason behind it originally was to fill the gap between lunch and a late evening dinner and that’s why Afternoon Tea was so named .At Bettys Boutique Hotel we do serve it though from 11 am til 4 pm to cater for all requirements of our guests .After all when you’re hungry , you need to eat whatever the time !
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