With my upcoming nuptials fast approaching, my mum decided it was time to take a break from the stress of planning and organised an afternoon tea treat at The Landmark, London.
Set in the Winter Garden, a soaring glass-roofed atrium in the centre of the hotel, the quintessentially English afternoon tea kicked off with an elegant array of sandwiches – classic cucumber, organic egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, free-range corn-fed chicken with tarragon crème fraîche and Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon. Then it was on to the freshly baked raisin and apple scones with Cornish clotted cream and five different jams, followed by a selection of miniature desserts such as raspberry macaroon and spiced carrot cake – all rounded off with Champagne of course!
It was a truly special afternoon and got me thinking me thinking – why do we hold afternoon tea in such high regard?
A British institution since 1840, afternoon tea has experienced a resurgence in recent years, with the organisers of Afternoon Tea Week reporting a 70% increase in bookings since 2013^. It’s said that seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope, ‘invented’ afternoon tea to fill the void between lunch at noon and dinner at 8pm. While it gradually became popular with her friends, as well as those outside her social circle, it wasn’t considered a formal event until Queen Victoria introduced a ‘tea reception’ with up to 200 guests between 4pm and 7pm.
Today, it’s considered a special event, often used as part of a celebration with friends and family. One thing’s for sure, it was certainly an extravagant and sophisticated ‘mini-hen’!
For more information about The Landmark’s afternoon tea, visit www.landmarklondon.co.uk