Afternoon tea is an institution in the United Kingdom. More than just a hot cuppa in mid-afternoon, it’s more like a light meal in which tea is just one item being served. If you take afternoon tea in someone’s home or at a tea house, you’re going to have the option to fill yourself with plenty of sweet and savory items that go well with your beverage. If you’re wondering which things you should try or maybe consider making some foods to go with your own afternoon tea, we hope you’ll consider one of the ten options below. If there’s a food you love having with afternoon tea, let us know in the comments.
Finger sandwiches are a staple of afternoon tea and one thing that distinguishes it from high tea, which has more substantial meals. Salmon sandwiches typically consist of smoked salmon and cream cheese on triangular slices of bread. There are plenty of recipes online, whether you want something more traditional or try to experiment with a fancier style.
Teacakes in the American South tend to be cookies and are not to be confused with their British counterparts. English teacakes are more like a baked sweet bun, which is like an American biscuit with bits of fruit and cinnamon, with lavish amounts of butter spread on them.
Certainly, one of my favorite British food items, whether it’s for tea, snack, or a meal, sausage rolls are delish sausage wrapped in a flaky pastry. You can find them in multiple styles and sizes at corner stores, meat markets, and grocery stores around the UK, though many will swear that Gregg’s sausage rolls are the best.
What we call cookies, the British refer to as biscuits, and there are tons of options when it comes to these for afternoon tea. You can make your own from different recipes or hit the store for Jammie Dodgers, Digestive Biscuits, Chocolate Fingers, Jaffa Cakes, Shortbread, and so many more. No afternoon tea tray is complete without at least one kind of biscuit.
If there’s a staple amongst the staple of finger sandwiches, it’s the cucumber sandwich. Exactly what it sounds like, a cucumber sandwich involves thin cucumber slices placed on bread, often with butter or a fancier kind of spread. If cucumbers aren’t quite your thing, there are many variations on this traditional finger sandwich that might convince you to change your mind.
Sponge cake is typically made with egg whites (and not the yokes), sugar, and flour. In the United States, they could be closely compared with pound cakes. The primary sponge cake served with afternoon tea is the Victoria Sponge, which came to prominence during her reign and involves two sponge cakes sandwiched with jam and cream in the middle.
Egg and Cress Sandwiches
Yet another finger sandwich option for your afternoon tea are egg and cress sandwiches. The egg and cress is a bit like an egg salad sandwich, but with chopped watercress instead of celery. If you want something a little less crunchy than egg salad, this may be more up your alley. Of course, you could have the holy trinity of sandwiches by having one of each: cucumber, salmon, and egg and cress!
A tart is like a pie but without the pastry crisscrossing the top and can be either sweet or savory. For afternoon tea, tarts are often much smaller than normal and are sometimes referred to as “tartlets”. Similar to other items on this list, tarts come in a variety of recipes whether you want fruit, meringue, or even meat. It’s up to you what kind of tart you might want to serve.
Scones are another afternoon tea item that can be either sweet or savory and sometimes both. You can think of scones being the British equivalent to American biscuits. You can make them without any filler or add fruits, nuts, chocolate, or cinnamon. Scones are the ultimate “what ingredients do I need to get rid of in the fridge” option.
Lastly, for our English tea, we come to a pastry that was invented in France. The macaron is a meringue-type pastry that was invented during the Renaissance. Its modern style has dated since the 19th century and involves two macaron cookies sandwiched with a ganache. Many people like to add a dash of food coloring to give them some pizzaz or different ingredients to create new flavors, but you can just bake them with a traditional recipe if you like.
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