Since it is one of our favourite things to plan with friends, we set out on a mission to research the origin of the afternoon tea. According to what we have read, afternoon tea began in the mid-1800s by the Duchess of Bedford. In her era, lights (gas or oil) were introduced into wealthier homes and eating a late supper became popular. It was commonplace for one to begin the day with a light breakfast meal and then not eat again until dinner, which became increasingly later in the evening.
Legend has it that the Duchess felt unwell as dinner became later and later… she was hungry! She decided to host a mid-afternoon get together for friends, where she served tea and assorted snacks. This idea of an afternoon tea soon became a popular event for ladies of leisure and other high society types.
Is this legend true? We hope so, it’s a great story! Whatever its origin, we love afternoon or high tea events. We are lucky to have some fabulous tea houses in the Fraser Valley. This week’s Pulse Spotlight is An Elegant Tea, a mobile (yes!!) boutique catering company that specializes in stylish teas and appetizer receptions. Afternoon and high tea isn’t just for ladies who lunch nowadays! Baby or wedding showers, corporate events, ladies retreats – there are plenty of scenarios where An Elegant Tea would be a fabulous fit.
Owner Doreen Buhler has an interesting story of her own. After school, Doreen and her five children used to enjoy tea and fresh baked goods during ‘After School Tea’. It was a great way to connect with the kids after their days in the classroom. Friends, family, even piano students, all became a part of this precious tradition. How lovely that Doreen has been able to take that special custom and turn it into a business!