Appetite 68 – May/June 2022

Our cup of tea

Editor celebrates tea, and all the joys of a daily break for a cuppa and cake

Her Majesty the Queen, by all accounts, holds her 5pm teatime very dear. Barring accidents and unavoidable engagements (rare, as her diary is planned around her 5pm ritual), she lays aside whatever vital issues of state she is dealing with and sits down to take tea.

Earl Grey or Assam is enjoyed with her childhood favourite jam pennies (jam sandwiches on white bread cut into little discs), a cucumber, egg or smoked salmon finger sandwich, and a small slice of cake.

The Queen eats modestly, working on the principle that a little of what you fancy regularly is far better for you than an occasional blow-out. Hence, while this daily ritual may sound like quite a treat, she eats only a little, valuing the ritual with a friend, family member, trusted confidante or contentedly alone rather more than the nutritional nature of the event.

HM, as I think she has proved over the last 70 years, is a woman of constancy, and we would all benefit from adopting her teatime habit – breaking at the same time each day to rest, recuperate and re-fuel. And it is in appreciation of the Queen’s dedication to this most British of habits that we dedicate this edition to tea and the taking thereof. 

Hence, we serve up a hearty Jubilee tea menu which we encourage you to enjoy with friends during the Jubilee weekend, plus a run-down of some of our favourite afternoon tea venues in the region, and a guide to tea etiquette (who knew one should stir from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock rather than around and around?) along with some delicious recipes using tea leaves.

Most of the recipes here (apart from the coolly contemporary matcha ice cream and cookies), are pretty much as old as the hills. From the humble fruit scone, to a nourishing tea bread, to Sunday special roulade and rhubarb cheesecake, this is Jubilee tea as our mothers and grandmothers would serve it, and I hope you will be inspired to make the most of it during HM’s big weekend in June. 

Happy Jubilee all, and may we all enjoy many more afternoon teas to come…

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