Welcome to my online tea party. As Henry James once said: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
I often host a virtual tea party which was inspired by Christine, a follower who lives in France, who was curious about English tea traditions after watching a few episodes of Downton Abbey. The British may have failed miserably in other culinary areas, but they excel in the tea ritual. Join me every Tuesday as I dish on Downton Abbey, the Royal Family, UK tourism and other topical tea issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a tea treat recipe with a history.
Many of you will be traveling to the UK and will likely have “afternoon tea” on your list. To help avoid disappointment (there is a difference between afternoon and high tea), I have created a handy guide to help you enjoy the experience: Downton Abbey Cooks Online Guide to Afternoon Tea. The guide includes:
- The history of Tea in England
- Tea Lingo
- The difference between Afternoon and High Tea
- Proper tea etiquette
The guide also includes tips and recipes to host your own tea party, perhaps to gather friends to watch your favorite Downton Abbey episode:
- How to make a proper cup of tea
- Sweet and Savoury tea recipes, including a great scone recipe you can adapt many ways.
- How to build a tea service on a budget.
Relaxing Over Afternoon Tea
My book Relaxing Over Afternoon Tea expands the discussion with tons of recipes to serve at your own tea. Download the ebook here or you can buy a printed copy on Amazon.
- Downton at the Olympics: Downton Abbey cast members were part of the A list crowd at the opening ceremonies Friday night. Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) and Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) tweeted these pictures of the gang from just outside the Olympic stadium, with Hugh’s tweet proclaiming “Team Downton Abbey invade the Olympic Park.” I am not sure how many events Hugh will be attending, but his tweety play by play commentary (@hughbon) at the gymnastics on Monday was very entertaining.
- PBS Count Down to Season 3 on January 6th: As described on PBS: “The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate in the thrilling new season of Downton Abbey. Written and created by Julian Fellowes, with its all-star returning cast and Oscar-winning guest star Shirley MacLaine, Downton Abbey, Season 3 premieres January 6, 2013 on Masterpiece classic!” Want to keep track of the time? Link here to the countdown clock and other things Downton.
- The Lovely Costumes: While Downton costume designs have garnered Emmy noms this year, guest star Shirley Maclaine didn’t care for the restrictive clothes. An interview and cast pictures provided by Marie Claire UK. If you are in LA Downton Abbey costumes are now on display at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in LA.