Why Has Afternoon Tea In Nottingham Become So Popular?
Afternoon tea in Nottingham is more popular than ever.
There are few things so quintessentially British as the tradition of ‘afternoon tea’ and afternoon tea in Nottingham is more popular than ever. The actual custom for drinking tea is steeped in history, and is thought to date back to the third millennium BC in China. During the 1660s, it became popular in England to drink this warm beverage thanks to King Charles II and his Portuguese wife. However, it was during the mid 19th-century that the idea of ‘afternoon tea’ was first introduced, and began to evolve into the notion of eating and drinking as we understand it today.
In around 1840, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russel, found herself getting hungry in the afternoon at around 4pm. She found the large gap between lunch and dinner to be too long, and would ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter to be brought to her room.
As it became a regular occurrence, she started to invite her friends to join her and it became a fashionable social event enjoyed by many of the upper-class and society women of the time. From bedroom to drawing room, it was soon an occasion in which to dress up and enjoy dainty sandwiches, scones and cream, cakes and pastries. Specialist tea served in china cups finished the event off with a flourish.
In many ways, tea is now seen as the ‘unofficial’ national drink of England; it is consumed at times of both celebration and loss. Perhaps it should come as little surprise that afternoon tea has become so incredibly popular. Guests are booking spaces at top hotels and restaurants months in advance to guarantee their place, and afternoon tea is being considered a ‘must-do’ past-time. But why?
It’s most likely as a result of how busy modern times have become, in which there is less time to enjoy a proper cup of tea. It’s drunk in mugs, often with snack bars, and typically on the move. The opportunity to sit down and enjoy it slowly, in a refined way, has become more of a luxury. It signifies the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely lifestyle; to slow down, and relax. It’s part of the modern shift towards mindfulness, in which the aim is to be ‘present’.
There is now often an opportunity to enjoy a glass of champagne alongside delicate finger sandwiches, sweet cakes, a wide variety of teas from around the world, and carefully crafted snacks. It’s a social occasion once more, in which friends and family can come together and chat over food. It is typically shared by groups of women, who can indulge in the glamour, with many afternoon teas themed around common interests such as fashion, literature, films, and music.