Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tea Rituals and Scone Etiquette

This looks delicious, but it is not "the done thing" to cut a scone, slather clotted cream and jam on, then put the scone back together to form a kind of bulky sandwich. Scones are broken, much like a bread roll. The scone (pronounced as in “gone” not as in “cone”) is to be eaten in a very particular way. Scones are served whole and preferably warm from the oven, and as with bread you break a scone with your fingers, and spread the jam and cream on, bite-size by bite-size piece. One should never be seen to cut a scone with a knife.

The Beginnings of the Afternoon Tea Ritual 

The British ritual of afternoon tea is attributed to Anna Maria, 7th Duchess of Bedford. The Duchess was staying as a guest of John Manners, the 5th Duke of Rutland, at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire when she found herself experiencing a “sinking feeling” during the long hours between midday luncheon and late evening dinner. 

She requested a snack of tea and cake to curb her hunger and found that she so enjoyed it that she invited her friends to join her. She continued the social gatherings when she returned to her home at Woburn Abbey and even took her own silver tea equipment with her when she went to visit her friends in their castles and palaces.
A stunning, late 19th century silver and enamel tea service. Tea services added to the ceremony of Victorian afternoon tea we know today.  

As the popularity of this new found ritual spread amongst the upper and middle classes the Victorians unsurprisingly began producing new specially designed apparatus to further enhance the enjoyment of afternoon tea. So up sprang all the elegant tea pots and kettles and creamers and tea strainers, and subsequently the ceremony of afternoon tea grew into what we know today.– Contributor Rachel North

Contributor Rachel North is an etiquette and afternoon tea enthusiast with a love for anything -ancient and historical.
Etiquette Enthusiast Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia