tea time

When in England, one simply must enjoy a proper high tea. Liz was busy and Charles is icky, so I went with my friends to one of many tea houses out in the country. I was warned beforehand not to eat too much and that I wouldn’t be needing dinner afterwards (tea started around four or so).

The little tea house was just like ones I had visited in southern Argentina run by the Welsh down there – full of wonderful smells, candies, and snacks of all kinds. It was a rather big group of us – I believe sixteen in all – but there was plenty of room in the back (this isn’t an every day thing, costing around 15 pounds).

First came the sandwiches. Well, actually, first came the tea – good, well-brewed English tea, but that wasn’t really why we were there. Sandwiches. Roast beef, ham, egg salad, chicken, and cheese & cranberry all sat on plates delivered around the table. Everyone began munching on these while more food was brought out.

The sandwiches were shortly followed by scones with clotted cream (yum!) and jam. Oh, the joys of clotted cream. So unhealthy, so delicious. You’ll never want just butter again, I tell you. The scones were freshly baked and melted in your mouth.

As we munched and drank, the mountains of food slowly began to decrease only to be replenished by the dessert trays. By this time, there were so many dishes and so much food on the table that we had to co-opt a couple of nearby empty tables to put the desserts on. A list of what we tasted (not all are pictured): cream slice, lemon cake, strawberry tart, treacle tart, cream apple turnover, eclair, jelly roll, cherry slice, bakewell tart, fruit cake, flapjack, and flackjack with cranberries. Whew! It was hard to try every one, but I did. Such sacrifice, I know.

I had been warned that it would fill me up and boy did it ever. I wanted to eat more but simply couldn’t. There was room, however, for a beer afterwards. Cracks between the food, you see. All in all, a terrific experience, meal, and tradition. I just felt bad for the dishwasher afterwards…

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