Monday, August 6, 2012

Afternoon Tea - the Parlour @ the Hullett House

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know how much I missed the afternoon tea culture in Macau / Hong Kong.  Since I came back, I did not waste anytime enjoying myself~  I had waited a long time before uploading this post because there were so many places to choose from and I honestly can't pick a favorite...

Before I begin, did you know there are quite a few tea etiquette?  Here's a few of what I think is important.  For the full article, read here.

1.  It's "afternoon tea", not "high tea". 

High Tea is often a misnomer. Most people refer to afternoon tea as high tea because they think it sounds regal and lofty, when in all actuality, high tea, or "meat tea" is dinner. High tea, in Britain, at any rate, tends to be on the heavier side. American hotels and tea rooms, on the other hand, continue to misunderstand and offer tidbits of fancy pastries and cakes on delicate china when they offer a "high tea." 

Afternoon tea (because it was usually taken in the late afternoon) is also called "low tea" because it was usually taken in a sitting room or withdrawing room where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs generally in a large withdrawing room.

2.  Eat from bottom to top (three tier), savory to sweet.

Savories - Tiny sandwiches or appetizers
- Served with jam and / or clotted cream
- Cakes, cookies, shortbread and sweets

3.  Pinkies up

Originally, all porcelain teacups were made in China, starting around 620 A.D.  These small cups had no handles. In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel was to place one's thumb at the six o'clock position and one's index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position, while gently raising one's pinkie up for balance.

Pinkie up does mean straight up in the air, but slightly tilted. It is not an affectation, but a graceful way to avoid spills. Never loop your fingers through the handle, nor grasp the vessel bowl with the palm of your hand.

Since the afternoon tea culture was introduced by the British during the colonial times, I felt it's appropriate to mention the iconic afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. 

Built in 1928, the Peninsula is Hong Kong’s oldest hotel, and remains the definitive spot for English afternoon tea just as it was over 80 years ago. It’s all about the crumbly scones, string quartet and sense of ceremony, which are served up in the grand, colonial lobby alongside classic Indian blends (Assam, Darjeeling) or Chinese favorites (Jasmine, Pu Er). As no reservations are possible, be prepared to get there early or form an orderly queue. 

[Click here for CNN's afternoon tea recommendation in Hong Kong.]

was in Hong Kong this past weekend with friends and went to the Peninsula hoping to taste their iconic afternoon tea.  Unfortunately, the queue was too long... maybe next time...  Consequently, we went to the Parlour @ the Hullett House instead, which is just across the street.

The terrace is very traditional and a reminiscence of the colonial times.  The three tiered afternoon tea set came with traditional sandwiches: cucumber, smoked salmon, and egg salad, scones, and a variety of decadent pastries.  I also loved the apricot jam and cream that was served with the scones.  Of course, no afternoon tea is complete without a pot of tea :)  What a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends!

Afternoon tea for 2

the apricot jam was delicious


I love Earl Grey!


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