I know my readers are more used to seeing this kind of post from my other blog, but since Whittard's Afternoon Tea Blogger Carnival event is all about afternoon tea, I think that this entry will feel right at home here on 'Tashcakes!'
As my readers well know, I love pretty food, I love colourful food and I love sweet food. Afternoon tea combines all of these things, often in a tiered display of deliciousness, and to put the icing on the cake (pun unashamedly intended), these lovelies are served with the traditional, almost stereotypical British lifeblood that is tea.
You're probably thinking: "Hang on a minute Tash- afternoon tea isn't just all about sweets and cake. You get those snazzy little sandwiches too, right?" You are indeed correct- but let's be honest, do we go to afternoon tea for the cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, or do we go for the exquisite little selection of airy sponge cakes, jeweled berry tarts and fluffy, buttery scones with clotted cream and jam?
I thought so.
It's not just the tantalising treats that make an afternoon tea, though: it's the whole zen-like way of 'being' that comes with it. We all live busy, worry-filled lives, rushing from one thing to the next, barely able to stop to let our brains stop buzzing and just breathe. It's probably why we so jealously value the precious couple of minutes when we can get a hold of a cuppa. So, if we Brits live for tea breaks, then afternoon tea must be the ultimate tea break.
The whole idea of afternoon tea is so well-loved that it's been part of British culture for well over a hundred years, and still going strong. Perhaps even stronger, thanks to recent-ish events like the Diamond Jubilee and the Great British Bake Off. Perhaps it's the pretty sweet treats, or the elegant teaware and dishes, or even the cute little Alice in Wonderland-like morsels that make the atmosphere feel so civilised. Whatever it is, it's quite a different feeling to lunching in a café or restaurant.
Civilised is the right word for it, I think. Sophistication without the smugness (well alright, maybe just a tiny bit), to me afternoon tea means sitting down in a calm and pleasantly decorated room, chatting with a friend or two and letting someone else bring you tea and treats, which have been lovingly prepared in a way we often don't bother doing for ourselves. In a world that never stops, in a society that has no room for quiet reflection, I think that the simplicity of being in good company, sitting down with a good cup of tea and admiring-then-devouring a selection of beautiful bites will never grow old.
Which is why whenever a friend suggests we meet over afternoon tea, I'm all over it like jam and cream on a scone.