What Makes for A Great Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon tea is a delightful British tradition dating to the early 19th Century, as a way to insert a half-sized meal into the day. In those times, lunch was typically eaten quite early—well before noon—and dinner wouldn’t be served until 8 or 9 at night. So, afternoon tea became a refined and elegant pause, where people could relax and recharge midway through the day in between the day’s meals.
That tradition lives on today at The St. James Tearoom in Albuquerque, but it’s not hard to recreate afternoon tea in your own home. There are four courses, each of which is important and enjoyable in its own right.
Here are the must-haves when planning your own afternoon tea in Albuquerque!
The Four Courses of Afternoon Tea
Tea is, of course, the centerpiece of the meal, but not a course in itself. It should be served early on, with plenty available to sip throughout the entire tea service. Almost any tea could be used, although they should match your other food selections as much as possible. Lighter teas are better if the other selections will focus on sweet flavors, and darker teas pair well with more savory options.
1 – Savory Sandwiches
Every afternoon tea has a savory component, usually in the form of small finger sandwiches. These should be simple and familiar, such as ham and mustard, chicken and watercress, or cheese and salad. For a proper experience, use white bread, and butter one slice with unsalted butter.
2 – Scones
Scones are a staple of British teatime—ideally freshly baked that day, or possibly the night before. The scones should be served with proper Devonshire clotted cream, if possible, although well-whipped heavy cream can be substituted. These should be served with a selection of jams; it’s your choice whether the jams are sweet, savory, or tart.
Pair your tea to match, as the jam will be one of the stronger flavors.
3 – Sweets
Finally, afternoon tea ends with a sweet course. This is most commonly a small cake, or possibly shortbread. Candy can be used in a pinch, but consider an older alternative such as candied orange peel for an authentic period touch!
4 – A Friend or Loved One
Perhaps the most important “course” is not a culinary part of the meal, but rather who you share the meal with! At The St. James Tearoom, we understand that the British tradition of afternoon tea in Albuquerque always involves connecting with another person. This is a special, set-apart time for you and your guest to be together and enjoy each other’s company.
Afternoon tea is a most delightful way to build into the lives of others, encourage them, and help them know they are valued.
Enjoy Afternoon Tea with Us
If you’re craving a taste of England and want to experience the art of tea as it was meant to be, The St. James Tearoom is your oasis in Albuquerque. Reservations are limited; please click here to schedule your date with fine dining history.