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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to EntertainingEntertaining Arrow to Tea PartyTea Party

High Time for High Tea

London Tea BoutiquesAfter a day of busy sightseeing, nothing is more romantic than to slow the pace. While there's always happy hour, another choice--and a more nutritious one--is High Tea!

"Tea started in the 1840s and it is mainly found in England," explains Gavin Webster, Food and Beverage Manager of The Montague on the Gardens, a romantic London property directly across from the British Museum. "It's not just what you're serving -- it's what it's all about that makes high tea special."

What it's all about for lovers is the opportunity to unwind and reflect on the day -- and the coming evening-- in a civilized way. The event begins with tea, served in a pot that's preheated to stay warm. Varieties may range from Ceylon to jasmine tea.

Tea is typically served with sugar cubes; both tea and sugar were once the mark of wealth. "They said that sugar and tea were two riches that were savored because they were so expensive," explains The Montague's food and beverage manager as he serves high tea in a small solarium just off the lobby.

Along with tea comes a tea stand, a silver multi-tiered tray which holds finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones. Traditionally the lower level holds the small cucumber or salmon sandwiches. "Sandwiches are kept simply and rarely layered," notes Webster. "The idea of the high tea is not really to fill yourself up; it's to chat."

Rising a level in the elegant tea stand, guests can partake of delicate sweet breads and pastries before reaching the crowning glory: scones. Served tucked beneath a protective scone warmer, the fresh breads are served with clotted cream and raspberry jam.

And although high tea began as a little afternoon sustenance because of late night dining, today's high tea has evolved into a elegant interlude.

Pouring another cup of steaming tea as a slow drizzle looms over London, Webster sums it up: "During winter, people like to get away from the cold and have tea."


About the Authors...
Husband and wife team Paris Permenter and John Bigley have authored over 20 guidebooks and also edit the FREE Lovetripper.com, a romantic travel magazine featuring worldwide destinations.
© Copyright Paris Permenter and John Bigley

More about tea party gatherings around the Web:

BBC GoodFood - How to throw an afternoon tea party

Tea Party Menus- How to plan an afternoon tea party


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