DEPARTURES

AFTERNOON TEA

Linger and chat with friends, commemorate a birthday or anniversary, collapse after a day’s shopping, or indulge in a pre-theatre high tea at the exclusive Four Seasons Park Lane.

SUSAN COHEN

 

As legend has it, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria, was the creator of the “Afternoon Tea” event in the 1840s. Back then dinner was served at 9pm and the large gap between lunch and dinner left the Duchess famished. It is said that she ordered her staff to serve her tea and cakes at 5pm to alleviate her hunger pangs. It was not long before afternoon tea caught on and was a staple amongst London’s high society. Royals like Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II, made the drink itself an important part of rituals when she brought a tea to with her as part of her dowry in 1662. “Relaxing, refreshing, stimulating, or warming, there is little to compare with the comfort and delights of a steaming pot of tea,” wrote Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1865.

 

There is a certain magical, even mystical quality about tea, not least of all because of the amazing influence the tiny leaf exerts on everyday life. A cup of tea is the best reason in the world to stop for a break during the day. Life’s rites of passage would not be the same without tea, and variety of leaves is such that every mood and taste can be catered for. As the world’s most popular drink, tea crosses all the boundaries of history, nation, culture, and class.

There is nowhere better in the world to enjoy the quintessentially English custom of afternoon tea that London, the most vibrant and exciting capital city in the world, where you can indulge yourself and partake of anything from the most time-honored afternoon teas to the newest twist on tradition.

What better place to enjoy an exclusive afternoon tea which has been created to reflect the seasons of the year than the beautiful Four Seasons on Park Lane?

 

The clean lines of the contemporary tiered cake stands are the perfect accompaniment for the delicately patterned fine Wedgwood china, worthy of the food served on it. Excellent breads are used for the sandwich course, complemented with carefully selected fillings to suit all dietary requirements, and you’ll be asked if you would like more of any sandwiches you choose. Traditional and raisin scones are just right in size and texture. The jams created especially for the Four Seasons by artisan makers Tea Together, always take advantage of a novel combination of the best seasonal fruits, and, with the addition of lemon curd and thick clotted cream, are a marriage made in heaven.

 

The inventiveness and delicacy have to be admired, and every morsel enjoyed. Your tea is from a list provided by Jing Tea, and includes the very rare iron Buddha Oolong blend, Darjeeling First Flush, and Red Dragon, a unique and exceptional black tea blend. There are champagnes available as well as an alcoholfree rosé sparkling wine. afternoon tea finishes with a slice of proper cake, which again makes the most seasonal produce. One can look forward to tea here whatever the season of the year.

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