There are a few plausible reasons why the meal of High Tea is thus called, and probably the most sensible is that it is because it was eaten at a table. This differentiated it from the more social occasion that is Afternoon Tea, which was normally partaken in the drawing room whilst sitting on sofas and low comfortable chairs. To confuse things even more, the upper classes developed their own version of a formal meal and called it High Tea. Normally it was a meal they could eat when the servants were not around and the food could be prepared beforehand. The upper class’ High Tea was a mix of both Afternoon Tea and original High Tea.
Of course, the big difference was with the food that accompanied the tea. The working classes would have their evening meal of bread, vegetables, cheese and possibly meat, accompanied by tea. For the rich, the food was dainty and a stop gap until their later meal of the day.
Finally, it is important to differentiate that the Afternoon Tea menu served in hotels in Britain is referred to as High Tea. It will be quite a formal occasion with all the expected dainty cakes and sandwiches. And this is the High Tea that we are talking about in this blog.
Throwing Your Own High Tea Party
There is nothing more convivial than having friends around to your house to partake in High Tea, it is a chance to catch up on the latest gossip and to find out what is happening around town. And it is a great opportunity to take some decent down time in this hectic world. In this article we will discover what you need to throw a tea party and what food should be served.
Tea Party Essentials
Firstly you will of course need a tea service with all the necessary cups, saucers and side plates etc. Do not skimp on this and invest in the best one you can afford, it will last a lifetime and make the experience of your High Tea extra special. Tea always tastes better out of bone china cups, rather than big chunky mugs, and it is not often that you have an opportunity to take tea this way, so treat yourself with a decent tea service.
A tiered cake stand is a prerequisite, it is the centerpiece of your table and displays the elegant food that you have prepared for the occasion splendidly. Also pay attention to the frills and lace-like dollies, the folded napkins make the finishing touches.
Set the Scene
To make your tea party as special as possible you need to spend a little time setting the scene, put your most elegant tablecloth on the table and perhaps consider making homemade cookies as an extra special treat. You could present them in small paper bags for your guest to take home as a memento.
In part two of what to eat at High Tea we look into the actual food that you should prepare and what your guests will most likely be expecting on arrival. Remember that it is not a main meal, so keep your options light and delicate.