Did you know afternoon tea was invented to curb hunger? In England during the mid-19th Century, Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, found herself a little peckish in the late afternoon. With lunch served early in the day and dinner not expected until the fashionably late hour of 9 p.m., she rang for a tray of snacks to quash her cravings. The ritual became a habit and the rest is history.
Not to be confused with high tea, which, as Calgary’s etiquette coach Ms. Modern Manners explains, is a hearty supper served between 5 and 7 p.m., afternoon tea is a selection of finger foods served between 2 and 4 p.m.. “Unless you’re serving cake, you usually don’t need forks at afternoon tea,” says Ms. Modern Manners. “Moving from savoury to sweet, you start with small sandwiches on the bottom of a three-tiered stand, then scones, jam and clotted cream in the middle, finishing
with bite-size sweets on top.” To learn more about the art of etiquette, follow @msmodernmanners on Instagram.
Calgary offers some tea-rific options to help us enjoy this ritual at home.
Tender Living Farm
This Alberta farm produces small-batch, botanical tea blends with ingredients grown and foraged from the picturesque Sheep River Valley, Treaty 7 Territory. With a variety of tea blends including Cold Aid Tea for those pesky sore throats or CoyoTea, a blend to help restore balance and energy, these blends make a great addition to your collection. Available online or locally at Our Daily Brett and Luke’s Drug Mart.
Oolong Tea House in Kensington is another great spot for unique tea products. They sell more than 120 varieties of loose leaf tea (not just oolong tea!). Their new amber glass tea sets come in a variety of themes and make a great gift. Plus, the jars are refillable.
Tea Blends | Tender Living Farm | $15 | tenderlivingfarm.ca
Amber Glass Gift Set | Oolong Tea House | $44 | oolongteashop.ca