How Afternoon Tea Has Evolved into a Modern Food Trend
The concept of afternoon tea was introduced to England by the Duchess of Bedford in the 19th Century, and made popular by Queen Victoria who considered the duchess to be a lifelong friend. As a way to curb hunger between meals, this elegant sandwich and cake spread was enjoyed by only high society. A few decades ago, it was enjoyed by grandmothers. Today, it is enjoyed by everyone.
The traditional idea of afternoon tea has changed. Sure, you can still get the old classic combo of delicate cucumber sandwiches cut into bite-sized pieces with cream scones and tea. But many like to upgrade with a glass of champagne, prosecco or gin cocktail. But it really doesn’t stop there for catering events. Because there are afternoon tea themes to suit all tastes and occasions. Here are some of the ones to consider for your next party:
Sushi afternoon tea
One for seafood fans, sushi afternoon tea is a great idea if you want something fun, stylish and modern. If chintzy china and pretty doilies is worlds away from your target crowd, offer something minimalist in design when it comes to serving. Bamboo platters or steamers look the part and sake-based cocktails can complete the narrative.
Vegan afternoon tea
There are now more vegans than there’s ever been, and non-vegetarians and non-vegans are dipping their toes into meat-free produce. Vegan food is no longer just a necessity for cruelty-free people to stay alive, but a choice for many who just enjoy experimenting with different recipes. With so many plant-based milk and cream alternatives, and a great choice of vegan-friendly chocolate, cakes are no longer out of bounds. A vegan afternoon tea can be a fantastic option for an upcoming event, and true dairy fans may not even be able to tell the difference.
Burger afternoon tea
American burgers have really taken off in the UK in recent years, with stylish burger bars popping in every city. From names like MEATliquor, Almost Famous and Burger & Lobster, the gourmet burger scene has completely evolved the traditional dining experience. Served on a classic three tier cake stand, miniature burger bites can be a great conversation starter for grazers at any corporate bash. Or for a more rustic affair, serve on wooden boards with fries and dips.
Gentleman’s afternoon tea
There’s no need for guys to miss out when it comes to afternoon tea. One of the biggest trends in London right now is the gentleman’s afternoon tea, created for fans savoury food rather than sweets. Things such as black pudding, Scotch eggs and meat sliders can create a more mass-appealing energy if your guestlist is mixed. Replace the pot of tea with a real ale tasting session and your event will have a massive point of difference from other functions.
Madhatter’s afternoon tea
One of the most popular afternoon themes for weddings, parties and baby showers, the Madhatter’s afternoon tea is all about indulging all things nostalgic and kitsch. Ideas include vintage style cupcakes, heart shaped biscuits, checkerboard sandwich squares, mismatching antique cups and crockery, bunting, and exciting dry ice cocktails to wash it all down with.