Staring at the clock on a workday and wondering what time it is? It's afternoon tea time with desserts!
Afternoon tea is a great way to spend time with friends and family with a light set of savory pastries and desserts. What was once a private social event for the high society of Britain in the early 19th century is now a light menu served between lunch and dinner in hotels and restaurants.
Read on as we discover the origins of the afternoon tea ritual and some of the common and unique desserts served during this session.
Afternoon tea began in England in the mid-19th century when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, wanted something to munch on between lunch and dinner. What started as a simple meal of bread, butter, tea, and a piece of cake became a common ritual for her and later, a time to mingle with her friends to spill the tea.
Not long after that, this became a common social meeting time between upper-class ladies as they dress up for this afternoon affair (this doesn't sound too far-fetched from our modern-day Instagrammable cafe meetups).
Today, afternoon tea is no longer a quick bite and is now a fancy treat to savor in gorgeous tea rooms or hotel spaces.
The afternoon tea set often comes with a three-tier cake stand with the desserts being served last. If you are wondering what desserts you should have with your afternoon tea, here are some iconic desserts around the world to complement your drink:
Remember that Gossip Girl episode of Blair Waldorf indulging in her favorite macarons from Ladurée? Those macarons went viral and every dessert shop around the world attempted to make one. The French dessert comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors and looks way too pretty to be eaten. It has now become a staple on every dessert platter as it is both pleasing to the eye and deliciously sweet.
Parfaits are usually served in a mini slender cup. With layers of irresistible goodness, the parfait is a delight, especially with the combination of whipped cream, a sugary mousse, and fruits! Many hotels around the world serve a form of parfait with their twist of ingredients: for example, Japan may serve a matcha-flavored parfait that has a tinge of bitterness!
Torrijas are Spain's take on a French toast. Instead of mixing the egg with the milk simultaneously, the bread is soaked in sweetened milk first before coating it with a second layer of the beaten egg. It is then fried and ready to be served. Torrijas are also associated with Easter as it was created during the Holy Week, however, they can be consumed at any time of the year.
Remember our history lesson? When Anna was inviting all her friends, it caught the attention of Queen Victoria at that time, and was quite fond of the afternoon tea session. There was one particular dessert she enjoyed: a simple sponge cake filled with cream and jam. Today, it is often referred to as a Victoria sandwich cake and the same dessert is part of many traditional afternoon tea sets.
Mini fruit tarts originated from large fruit pies in Europe. These bite-sized pastries are decorated with fruits such as berries and kiwi with a vanilla pastry cream filling inside a crusty shortbread. They are a favorite in every part of the world and are a perfect addition to any afternoon tea menu!
If you have been to the Middle East, chances are you will this sweet and crispy pastry Baklava everywhere in town. Filled with crunchy nuts and caramelized with honey, this heavenly Halal dessert pairs well with rose, chamomile, sage, or Turkish black tea.
As the name goes, the original afternoon tea service is served only with tea. However many modern-day versions allow other drinks as well such as coffee and hot chocolate. Although coffee and desserts go well with each other, you may want to stick to the tradition of tea to avoid any faux pas.
The list is endless when it comes to the many different desserts you can find to go with your afternoon tea! We hope that this article gives you a clear idea of what to expect in your next "spill the tea" session with your friends and family. Just make sure that both the food and the "tea" that you are consuming are halal.
Are you ready to go for your tea break? Then it's time to scout for good "tea-time desserts near me" through our Halal food directory.