The Whittard Blog

A warm welcome to the Whittard blog. Since 1886, we've been passionate about fine tea and coffee and we'd love to share our passion with you

21st January 2014 by Whittard

A Brief History of Afternoon Tea

The fine British tradition of ’Afternoon tea’ is said to have been invented by Anna Maria, the wife of the seventh Duke of Bedford, who in 1841 started drinking tea and having a bite to eat in the mid-afternoon, to tide her over during the long gap between lunch (eaten at about 1 o'clock) and dinner, which in fashionable circles might not be served until 8pm at night.

This developed into a social occasion, with guests being invited to join her for afternoon tea at 5pm and by the 1860s the fashion for afternoon tea had become widespread. At such occasions, tea was served in the best china and delicate sandwiches, minus their crusts, and cakes would be served on small plates.  Interestingly, scones were not a common feature of early afternoon tea and were only introduced in the twentieth century.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years appearing on the menu of many tea rooms and high class hotels, a treat for tourists and for celebrating special occasions. The tea offered generally includes traditional favourites such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Lapsang Souchong often includes a range of single estate black teas and other teas. Some hotels even have a tea sommelier to advise on the provenance of the tea and help guests select their tea.

Finger sandwiches, delicate cakes, pastries and scones with jam and clotted cream remain popular ingredients with typical sandwich fillings including: smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, cucumber and cream cheese.  The traditional way to serve afternoon tea is sandwiches followed by scones then finally the cake, using fine china and a tiered cake stand - the challenge is to leaving enough room to squeeze in a dainty cake (or two).

Take a look at our Afternoon Blogger Carnival entries for homemade cake and scone recipes and dainty table decorations.

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3rd September 2013 by Whittard

Cupcakes Two Ways

Kate, the store manager at our Swindon outlet store, has been very busy! She’s been experimenting with cupcakes incorporating Whittard hot chocolate and instant tea, as a way to introduce exciting flavours into her baking.

These cupcakes look very tempting and almost certainly disappeared very quickly!

Chilli Chocolate Cupcakes (Makes 12)

Ingredients:

125g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g unsalted butter

125g Whittard Chilli Hot Chocolate

2 medium eggs

Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Butter Cream Frosting:

250g icing sugar

125g unsalted butter

Finely chopped red chilli to decorate

 

Preheat oven to 175 degrees

1. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk.

2. Beat in the two eggs and cayenne pepper

3. Gradually fold in the flour and chilli hot chocolate

4. When mixture is even spoon into twelve cupcake cases

5. Bake in oven for approximately 15-20 mins, or until firm to touch.

6. Whilst your cupcakes are baking, cream the butter and icing sugar together to make the frosting. Sift the icing sugar in to avoid clumps and ensure an even consistency. Leave to cool in the fridge until your cupcakes are ready to frost.

7. Once baked leave to completely cool before frosting using a piping bag.

8. Frost cupcakes as desired and top with a light sprinkling of chopped chilli.

9. Serve and enjoy!

Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcakes (Makes 12)

Ingredients:

125g self raising flour

125g unsalted butter

90g caster sugar

35g Strawberry and Vanilla instant Tea

2 medium eggs

The frosting

300g icing sugar

175g unsalted butter

Finely chopped dried lavender (to taste)

Lavender flowers to decorate

With the same method as above, lavender is very fragrant so caution is advised when using that! Best done to taste rather than exact measurements in my opinion.

Thank you Katie!

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31st May 2013 by Whittard

Vote for the Winner of our Afternoon Tea Blogger Carnival

Our Afternoon Tea Blogger Carnival has now ended.  We were extremely impressed with all the entries and now have the final ten blogs articles to be put to public vote.

Voting is simple. All you need to do is post a comment at the end of this post (on the Whittard blog rather than your favourite afternoon tea blog). Just leave us a number (1-10) to let us know which one you like, and tell us in a few words why you like it.

All voters will be entered into a draw to win a year’s supply of assorted  Whittard tea.

You have one week to register your opinion as the poll close at midnight on Sunday 9th June. The winner will be awarded a hamper full of Whittard tea worth over £100 and the nine runners-up will each receiving a pack of Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Whittard 1886 teabags.

The ten blog posts (in no particular order) are:

1) Saintly Treat: Afternoon Tea with a Healthy Twist

A more wholesome approach to Afternoon Tea with a delicious cake recipe.

Saintly Afternoon Tea

2) Afternoon Tea

A photographic feature on how to dress your table and yourself for a real floral wow factor.

floral table decorations

3) What Afternoon Tea Means To Me

A personal view on what afternoon tea means to one busy mum

4) A Guide to Afternoon Tea

A tongue in cheek look at the origin of this great British tradition, with some amusing and cute images to match.

5) Afternoon Tea in France

Afternoon tea with a French twists, tempting sweet and savoury recipes combined with ovely presentation.

french afternoon tea

6) Homemade Irish Fruit Scones

Cuts straight to chase with some truly beautiful scones.

7) La Hora del Té 

A tasteful look at the history and essential components, complete with recipe and photos.

tea and cup

8) Why Afternoon Tea is Awesome

A quirky look at why afternoon tea is so popular, presented with tempting pictures

awesome afternoon tea

9) A Jolly Good Afternoon Tea

A collection of tea recommendations, cake and crystallised rose petals with delightful photos.

cake with rose petals

10) Afternoon Tea Blogger Carnival

A charming summary of all the essential components with some pretty photos.

Afternoon tea

Thank you to everyone who entered and our shortlisted ten bloggers for their articles and photography. 

Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 9th June, so don’t delay and leave a comment below as soon as you’ve made your decision. (NB our comments are moderated so there may be some delay before they are posted but we'll ensure all comments posted before midnight Sunday 9th are live before deciding and announcing the winner!)


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