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Who introduced the English tradition of afternoon tea?

The British tradition of afternoon tea has seen a revival over the past few years and now there are Afternoon tea boxes. It is now a social phenomenon that is as much about culinary pleasure as it is about socialising.

What is the origin of this tradition, and what has changed over time?

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It is no surprise that tea is a key component. The drink has a long, illustrious and rich history in China dating back to 3000 BC. Tea is believed to have come to England in around the 1600s, but the afternoon tea we know today was not invented until much later.

Anna, the 7th duchess of Bedford in 1840, coined this custom. According to legend, the duchess felt a “sinking sensation” between mid-late afternoon and dinner. She requested tea, bread, and butter to satisfy her hunger. Later, sandwiches and sweet treats such as cake were added. The tradition of afternoon tea was created as the duchess invited her friends over to her house for a cup of tea.

In the late 1800s afternoon tea became a popular trend among high-class women. The ladies would dress up and have tea, cakes, and sandwiches in the drawing room between 4 and 5 pm. For Afternoon tea boxes, visit the Afternoon Tea Box site.

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Even though afternoon tea has evolved over the years, the basic components have remained the same. You can find afternoon tea in thousands of cafés, hotels and restaurants across the country. Afternoon tea is usually served on slates, board or the more traditional cake stand. Sandwich fillings are usually simple and traditional such as meat, fish and cheese. However, you can choose from a wide variety of cakes, including Victoria sponges, flans, tarts and jellies.

Many establishments offer prosecco and champagne to accompany afternoon tea. This is a great way to add a wow factor.

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