Tea & Crumpets: Recipes and Rituals from European Tearooms & Cafés
by Margaret M. Johnson (Chronicle Books, 2009)
When Anna Maria, Duchess of Bedford, England, began “taking tea” in the early 19th century, her affection for the beverage led to a social event that expanded into elegant tea parties and afternoon rituals of drinking tea with dainty sweets and petite savories. Elegant hotels followed suit, and tearooms sprouted throughout Europe. According to author Margaret M. Johnson, afternoon tea became a British tradition “where a fondness for tea and a penchant for sweets come together most agreeably around four oclock each afternoon.” This pleasant respite is often considered the high point of the day and a celebration not to be missed by any visitor to Britain.
Classic European tearooms continue to offer the divine fare that tea lovers fancy and that inspire pastry chefs around the world. From the popular Spiced Chocolate Cream at Le Jardin d’Hiver of Le Meurice Hotel in Paris to the raspberry-jam-filled Bakewell Tarts served at Ireland’s Ashford Castle, Tea & Crumpets is a delicious escape. Simple recipes inspire readers to delve into the rich culture and beautiful culinary artistry that bring European charm to the tea table.
Johnson shares a variety of specialties from some of the most acclaimed hotels, cafés, and delicatessens, dividing the recipes into each traditional course of afternoon tea—sandwiches and savories, crumpets and scones, and teatime sweets. Take recipes from the chapter “The French Art of Tea,” and serve afternoon tea guests Earl Grey Imperial Madeleines and Petite Blueberry Cakes, or choose a Dublin tea with selections like Goat Cheese and Fig Sandwiches on Raisin Bread and Apricot-Walnut Loaf. Whether you choose Lemon Cream Tartlets with Wild Forest Berries or simple Banana Bread, these decadent recipes are sure to inspire hostesses and delight guests.