That quintessentially British idea. The Afternoon Tea.
How we love afternoon tea. That mini meal, full of delicious treats to cheer our day and keep us going till dinner time. We’d have it every day if we could, so we’re excited that it’ll soon be Afternoon Tea Week. As usual it will be celebrated in the second week of August – 13th to 19th and it gives us a fine excuse to indulge.
The beauty of this little repast is that the components – tiny sandwiches, bite-size cakes and scones and tea – can be as expensive or inexpensive as you wish, and still remain equally delicious.
A classic afternoon tea usually includes sandwich fillings such as egg & cress, prawns, smoked salmon, Coronation chicken, ham, and of course cucumber. Bread is either white or wholemeal, sliced and crustless and the sandwiches cut into dainty fingers or triangles. Scones, jam and clotted cream are followed by mini cakes – favourites such as Victoria sandwich, lemon drizzle or mini éclairs always go down well. Tea – preferably made from loose-leaf tea – can be of any variety and served from a pot, with milk or lemon on the side.
Afternoon tea can be a bit pricey – London’s Ritz Hotel charges £57 – but for those whose budget won’t quite stretch that far it is possible to tempt your customers with something much more affordable, without compromising on the quality.
One way to control costs is by ensuring waste is kept to a minimum, so perhaps instead of offering five different sandwich fillings, just have three. Use frozen mini cakes and scones (such as Total Foodservice mini dairy cream cake assortment or mini strawberry & cream scones) that can be thawed as required and will be beautifully cool and fresh for your customers.
If you want to ring the changes on the traditional afternoon tea (and some people comment that they’d prefer fewer sweet treats and more savouries), perhaps serve mini savoury products, such as quiches, smoked salmon & cream cheese bagels, savoury eggs, mini filled croissants and so on. Again, we have a great selection in our frozen range.
While we’re looking at alternative afternoon tea ingredients, why not introduce a few twists to keep customers wanting more?
Swap sweet scones and cream for chive and poppyseed scones, and serve with cream cheese and a savoury jelly (quince, rowan, redcurrant). Instead of traditional cakes, what about something a little more continental? Macaroons or opera cake, mini tarte au citron, cheesecakes or petit fours?
Sandwiches don’t have to be made with sliced bread either. Why not use wraps and slice them into attractive pinwheels, or fill mini heritage rolls or mini bagels.
And don’t forget to offer your customers something sparkling and served in a tall glass as an alternative to (or as well as) their pot of tea!
Most of all enjoy #AfternoonTeaWeek. We certainly will!