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Afternoon Tea in Somerset

Afternoon Tea in Somerset

Afternoon Tea in Somerset

Brits love a cuppa. As a nation we drink 165 million cups of tea a day. That’s a staggering 60.2 billion cups of tea a year. (Apparently the world record for making tea stands at 725 cups in an hour!)

During the coming weeks I’m hoping to add to the consumption of drinking afternoon tea in Somerset, but more of that later.

While the Chinese have been supping tea for over 2,000 years, for us Brits it’s a relatively new tradition. Our tea consumption picked up in the early nineteenth century and much of this can be attributed to Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford. In the 1830s it was common place for only two meals a day to be served – breakfast and dinner. And dinner would be served around 8pm.

During the late afternoon the Duchess needed sustenance as she started to flag, so she requested that a pot of tea and a light snack be served. (Fortunately, the Earl of Sandwich had already come up with his cunning recipe.) Soon friends were invited to join her and the practice spread. It wasn’t long before taking afternoon tea became a fashionable social event.

Fast forward 50 years and society women were getting dressed in their finest refinery to enjoy afternoon tea in the drawing room between 4 and 5pm. Tea dances eventually caught on as luxury hotels and high-end London stores cashed in on this phenomenon.

Today, taking afternoon tea is still a popular treat and undergoing something of a revival. Sandwiches with the crusts cut off, fresh scones and cakes and a pot of hot, steaming tea – a very civilised way to pass the time with friends.

Over the coming weeks you can enjoy taking afternoon tea in Somerset at The Cross at Croscombe. I will be serving this 175 year old British tradition on Saturdays and Sundays, (in the courtyard garden when the sun is shining) long gowns, gloves and hats are optional, but please give me a ring to book.

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