Callebaut reveals people want more chocolate included in afternoon tea

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th April 2015
Afternoon tea is most commonly associated with finger sandwiches, scones, sweet pastries and cakes, but 60% of people would be more likely to order afternoon tea if it included chocolate cake and treats, according to recent research from Callebaut UK. N-11416-ukenImg2The concept of afternoon tea started in the mid-19th century, created in 1840 by Anna Maria Russel, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. At the time it was common for people to only eat breakfast and then dinner at around eight pm. Anna started to feel hungry in the afternoons, and so she had a pot of tea, bread and butter and cake brought to her bedroom. This became a daily routine during her summer, and she began inviting friends to join her. When she returned to London in the autumn she continued the practice, sending invitations to friends asking them to meet her for "tea and a walking the fields." Other hostesses followed suit, and it became so popular and respectable that women started holding afternoon tea in the drawing room, changing into long gowns, gloves and hats, and before long everyone in high society was doing it. This became known as ‘low’ or ‘afternoon’ tea, held at four o’clock in the afternoon, before a walk in Hyde Park.N-12299-ukenImg2 What is known as ‘high tea’ was traditionally a middle and lower class practice, held later at around five or six o’clock. It was a more substantial tea, taken instead of a late dinner. The name comes from the height of the tables where the meals were served, as high tea was served at the dinner table. Afternoon tea went from a private social occasion to a much larger formal event when Queen Victoria became involved, creating ‘tea receptions’ that hosted up to two hundred guests, with open invitations to visit between four and seven pm, during which they could come and go whenever they liked. Traditional afternoon tea consisted of sandwiches cut into fingers, sweet pastries and cakes. Scones with clotted cream and jam were added in the twentieth century There are various types of afternoon tea, ranging from cream tea- scones with cream and jam- to the full afternoon tea and then royal tea- full afternoon tea accompanied by a glass of champagne. N-11411-ukenImg2Some venues, like The Ritz, advertise their afternoon tea as ‘high tea’ because tourists often refer to afternoon tea as such, even though it was originally a different meal. Over the years afternoon tea faded into a practice kept for upper classes and very special event, but has made a comeback over the last few years. One popular reason for the comeback is the rise of television shows such as The Great British Bake Off, which give a big emphasis to afternoon teas. In an interview with the Independent, AfternoonTea.co.uk managing director Keith Newton said: “Over the last few years, there has been a renewed interest in British traditions, particularly in our food and drink. “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympics helped to increase our sense of national pride and we saw a big increase in the rise in people taking afternoon tea as a result.”N-12292-ukenImg2 “For visitors to the UK, afternoon tea is a novelty and a chance to try something different. Many visitors believe that the British still have afternoon tea every day!” With this reclaimed popularity the last few years have seen chefs become more adventurous with their afternoon tea menus. Keith said: “Most still stick to the traditional framework of sandwiches, scones and cakes but let their culinary skills go to town with delicious new sandwich fillings and flavoured breads. Their artistic flair is used to create delicate deserts and sweet treats.” Callebaut UK have created a list recipes designed for afternoon tea, created by the head of Chocolate Academy Beverley Dunkley and Chocolate Academy technical and development chef Julie Sharp. The list includes white chocolate, raspberry and lime cheesecake, triple chocolate brownies, chocolate and raspberry roulade and chocolate biscuits. See the full list of recipes here.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th April 2015

Callebaut reveals people want more chocolate included in afternoon tea