On the Origins-and Evolution-of Afternoon Tea

It all began with a feeling of peckishness. Late one afternoon in 1840, Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, craved a bite to eat several hours before the regular evening meal.

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It all began with a feeling of peckishness. Late one afternoon in 1840, Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, craved a bite to eat several hours before the regular evening meal. She requested some tea, bread with butter, and cake. So satisfying was this repast that she repeated it regularly, inviting her friends to partake. Soon it became a common ritual in high society, at first in homes and then increasingly in tea rooms and gardens. The menu evolved, of course, to include finger sandwiches, savoury bites, scones, and sweet cakes. Nowadays, Afternoon Tea is served in top hotels in London and around the world. True to form, Annabelle offers its own take on the tradition. Choose the English, Cypriot, or Asian experience, each featuring nine accompaniments. The English menu includes the traditional raisin scone, watercress and egg salad sandwiches, and apple crumble. The Cypriot version reinvents the tradition with local ingredients, featuring such delights as the carob macaroon, grilled halloumi with pita bread, and pastelaki nut brittle. Of course, tea goes well with Asian accompaniments: the Asian assortment offers a ginger financier, a lemongrass meringue tart, and smoked eel with light wasabi yoghurt and daikon. The tea itself is selected from the Shibui Loose Tea Collection—there are eleven flavours to choose from. Or add some bubbles with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine. Annabelle serves Afternoon Tea from 15:00 to 18:00 in the Lobby and in Ouranos, our rooftop retreat with views across the Pafos harbour.