The Ottawa Women's Canadian Club

High Tea at the Château – A Special Treat

Date: 18/04/2019

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Afternoon Tea—most quintessential of English customs was introduced in the1840s by the great friend of Queen Victoria’s, Anna Duchess of Bedford. By the 18th century, in great households, breakfast and dinner were served, the latter by candlelight at 8:00 pm, leaving a long period between meals. The Duchess decided tea, served midafternoon in fine porcelain cups with tiny sandwiches and cakes was the perfect refreshment to stave off hunger. She invited her friends to join her and soon Afternoon Tea was an established and convivial repast in upper-class households. Tea became popular when Catherine de Braganza arrived to marry Charles ll with tea in her Portuguese bridal chest. For many years’ tea was a luxury kept in a locked and elegant tea caddy, brought out for only the most distinguished guests. However, as the drink became cheaper and popular with all classes because the water was boiled to prepare it, water borne diseases like typhus and cholera were much reduced, a great gift to all. Afternoon tea continues to be an elegant and delightful custom.