"High Tea" or "Low Tea"?
The holiday season is swiftly approaching, shall we take this opportunity to clarify the difference between High Tea and Low Tea?
Low Tea (also called Afternoon Tea) was introduced in the mid 1830s by the Duchess of Bedfordshire, who wanted to take a light meal in the afternoon (since there was a long gap between mid morning breakfast and the evening meal at 8pm) which consisted of tea, sandwiches and cake. She began inviting her friends to join her, and this "high class" and quintessentially British tradition was born.
High Tea, contrary to popular belief and its aristocratic sounding name, is predominantly a substantial meal (consists of meat pies, potatoes, pickled fish...) that was traditionally taken between 5pm and 7pm – the time that labourers would arrive home from their physically demanding jobs. Working people didn’t have time to take leisurely afternoon meals, and in contrast to the light cakes and finger sandwiches (Low Tea) served at low coffee tables of the upper class, High Tea was taken at a high table (the dining table).
It is important to note that the Afternoon Tea menu served in the UK today is often referred to as high tea in many other parts of the world. Hence some hotels like The Ritz in London, use the term "High tea in London" to advertise their Afternoon Tea because a large proportion of their customers are from overseas. In addition, some establishments do serve a special "high tea menu" that includes savoury items such as English muffins, pies or omelette. Certain countries may even include their own traditional food items on the menu, making this a unique full -meal experience for customers.
Enjoy your Afternoon Tea/High Tea sessions during this upcoming holiday season!