The Tea Party
It was the British or to be more precise, Anna, the seventh duchess of Bedford, who introduced the famous practice of "afternoon tea" to the Western world in the early 1800s.
At that time, the English only ate two main meals a day - a hearty breakfast and an enormous dinner. Somewhere in between these meals, Anna experienced a "sinking feeling" and so began to prepare small snacks accompanied by tea. The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly adopted by other upper-class social hostesses.
By the middle of the 19th century in England, tea was all the rage. Tea parties and events were organised for a variety of social classes and ages.
During the 1970's the tea party, after fostering the enjoyment of luxury tea for years, began to decline, with the implementation of the tea bag into daily life. The taking of tea was transformed from an elegant, social practice into a convenient, individual process.
However, with the rise of popularity in luxury tea, there has also been a renaissance of the tea party.
A typical afternoon tea party menu comprises a selection of dainty, bite-size sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and a selection of traditional cakes and pastries.Hosting your own Tea Party?
Formal tea parties are often characterised by the use of prestige utensils, such as bone china or silver. The table is made to look its prettiest, with cloth napkins and matching cups and plates.