Tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.
Later friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued. Before long all of fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.
The quintessential afternoon tea is something I wanted to really try for myself. Although mine wasn’t truly a proper afternoon tea as I didn’t make any sandwiches! This was mainly based on the cakes and the scones, so half the afternoon tea I would say.
I decided to make a plain cheese scone and plain scone with jam and thick cream. I also made a pistachio cheesecake, oreo truffle and lemon and poppy seed muffin. I know it’s not as much as you usually get from an afternoon tea but it was more then enough to eat.